Category Archives: Engineering

AxiDraw Pantograph

Mike Jacobs added a pantograph to his AxiDraw to multiply its size range.

Not content with that, he doubled it.

Bigger!!! I extended the extension—now it’s a double pantograph!! The #axidraw #plotter draws ~8.5×12” out of the box. My pantograph increases that to 45×58”. The precision has gone hell and there’s some warping—

Continuing the saga,

Increasing unpredictability! I added a swiveling mini roller. Now I really have no clue what a finished piece will look like, and there’s a good chance that no two pieces will look alike.

It is always exciting to see what creative things people do with an AxiDraw!

Science Hack Day SF

I will be at Science Hack Day SF giving a lightning talk on Creative Off-Label Tool Use featuring some of the cool and unusual ways people are using AxiDraw and other tools we make. I’ll also have an AxiDraw in the hardware hacking area to play with.

Science Hack Day is October 27-28 and is free, so register now!

P.S. If you’re doing something interesting and science or research related with your AxiDraw, please let me know!

Invisible Ink with AxiDraw

Joanie LeMercier has been working on a project using invisible ink and different lighting schemes with the AxiDraw. He has posted a bunch of clips and pictures in his twitter stream with the heading “Invisible drawing.”

Head over to the thread where you can see more progress shots as well as completed drawings.

The AxiDraw SE/A3

AxiDraw SE/A3

We’re very pleased to introduce a new member of the AxiDraw family: the special edition AxiDraw SE/A3. This new model joins our existing models including the AxiDraw V3 and AxiDraw V3/A3.

Like the AxiDraw V3/A3, the AxiDraw SE/A3 has an XY travel suitable for use paper up to 11×17″/A3 size. However, in place of the central extrusion that makes up the body of that machine, the AxiDraw SE/A3 has a central beam that is CNC machined from a solid billet of 6061-T6 aluminum, and then anodized to a sleek black finish.

This heavy, rigid structure — it’s a solid block of metal! — provides dramatically better straightness and stiffness, even compared to the already-stiff AxiDraw V3/A3. This design adds mass exactly where you want it: to the non-moving base that forms the X-axis of the machine. In order to keep the weight light where it matters, the moving Y-axis of the AxiDraw SE/A3 uses the same stiff and light custom aluminum extrusion that we use on the AxiDraw V3/A3.

We made a video showing off the SE/A3, and how it’s made:

The AxiDraw SE/A3 is available to order now at the Evil Mad Scientist shop.

CMYK Portraits with AxiDraw

New Book: 10 LED Projects for Geeks

We just got our author copies of 10 LED Projects for Geeks! Our friend John Baichtal shepherded this book into the world as its editor, getting contributions from a great set of folks.

The book, published by No Starch Press, turned out beautifully. It has good pictures, clear drawings, and bright colors.

It brings a few of our classic projects onto the printed page, including LED-lit Sea Urchins, Electric Origami, the Dark Detecting LED, and Edge-lit Cards. Thank you, John, for letting us be a part of this!

Tips and Tales from the Workshop

I’ve been meaning to post a review of Tips and Tales from the Workshop by our friend Gareth Branwyn, but every time I start, I get distracted by the book itself. I keep flipping through and learning new things or being reminded of tricks I once knew.

The subtitle A Handy Reference for Makers is spot on. I imagine that if you’ve worked in a particular kind of workshop all of your life, you already know pretty much all the tricks for your field. What’s great about Gareth’s book is that he sought out tips from those life-long workshop inhabitants and shared them with dabblers like me who like to try all the things or who haven’t had the opportunity to spend the years it takes to amass that knowledge.

One of my favorite tips comes just after the forward in the “Tips credits” where Gareth lists people he gleaned these from.

All of these people are amazing makers and almost all of them have websites and YouTube channels. Do a search. Having all of these people on your radar will yield an ongoing and inspired feed of great shop tips, techniques, and project ideas.

I was tickled to see a bunch of friends names in the list (including our very own Windell) but also pleased to see new names to go seek out for inspiration.

As for the book itself, the illustrations are wonderful, and the organization into types of tasks totally makes sense. When a tool is mentioned, the discussion often delves into details of how the tool works and why it’s designed the way it is.

It is all good stuff, including the quality of the book. I love the way a freshly printed book smells, and the paper used for this is a pleasant weight with a smooth, almost glossy finish.

Thank you, Gareth! This book is a gem!

AxiDraw on t-shirts

We’ve seen a bunch of posts about using AxiDraw for fabric lately!

Fabric makers and sharpies are both making appearances.

Previously: