Tag Archives: AxiDraw

Number Systems Plotter Art

Arjan van der Meij recently got an AxiDraw and has been exploring binary and ternary numbers as a plotting subject. It has been fascinating to watch his iterations on twitter and instagram. One of his earliest posts represented eight bit binary numbers as rotated squares.

He started a plot of twelve bit binary circles, but didn’t complete it due to lack of clarity. It is not too often that you get to see this type of artistic decision making in progress– many artists only post the “keepers.”

Speaking of keepers, this one involving six bit binary crossed lines was liked well enough to be replotted on notebook cover. In a further exploration of this style, he also made a 1024 grid of ten bit binary crossed lines.

This post of eight bit binary triangles explored order as well as form with a sequenced as well as a shuffled version. Nested binary shapes, like these triangles and six bit binary hexagons seem to have provoked a jump to a slightly different plotter format: laser cutter.

Some of the forms tried in wood were binary squares, eight bit binary triangles, and the seven bit binary hexagons shown above.

The jump to wood gives rise to a form that seems a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, especially when you see the individual pieces before they’ve been arranged for display.

He explores rounded shapes his series of binary flowers, including six bit binary flowers, ten bit binary flowers, and eight bit binary flowers made of ellipses.

Moving beyond binary, ternary digits have three possible values. I found the nested ternary rectangles/squares and ternary elipses (above) to be straightforward to decipher. Another method explored includes line segments, either straight or with indents or protrusions to express the values as in these ternary squares, ternary hexagon/star/circle, and ternary triangles. Other shapes are harder to describe, like folded ternary hexagons, or ternary squares with their segments folded inwards or outwards in triangles.

It is fun to compare how different number systems can be visualized using similar structures. The eight bit binary “stick figures” are not dissimilar from these six trit ternary arcs on a sticks: bits are displayed on both halves of the figure, whereas the trits are shown inline. Similarly, this set of ternary flowers bring to mind some of the the binary flowers mentioned before but have a different character for carrying more information.

One interesting diversion from the geometric forms he pursued was the text of binary numbers plotted in sequence, creating geometric patterns in the repetition of the letters. He has continued exploring various ways of visualizing and arranging numeric representations, and I’ll look forward to his continued works. If you’ve enjoyed these tastes of what he’s doing, he also posts timelapses and short videos of the process, and is making his plots available for sale on his website.


If you liked this post and have other plotter artists you’d like us to feature, please comment below or drop us a line!

New Magnetic Easels for AxiDraw

We’ve just added two new magnetic easels for AxiDraw to our lineup of AxiDraw accessories. They are sturdy work-holding tools that provide an alternative method of positioning paper or other workpieces for use with the AxiDraw. A heavy-duty alternative to the regular clip easel, they can be used with binder clips or the included positioning rulers and magnets.

The Letter/A4 size easel works with the AxiDraw V3.

The Tabloid/A3 size easel works with the AxiDraw V3/A3 and the AxiDraw SE/A3 models.

PCB Etching with AxiDraw

Patricio Gonzalez Vivo has been using AxiDraw for circuit board etching experiments.

He draws on copper clad boards with a Sharpie marker with the AxiDraw.

Drawing is followed by a chemical bath.

The marker is cleaned off of the remaining copper to reveal the design. It came out beautifully.

If you’ve used the AxiDraw for marker masking for etching, we’d love to hear about it!

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

Spongenuity has been posting some wonderful portraits made with AxiDraw on instagram, including some CMYK ones like the one below.

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.

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