A Story of DrawBot

Cable-bots are impressive! We see them deployed in variety of applications in disparate areas. Spidercam has been significantly popular for filming outdoor events like sports and live concerts [1]. On the other hand, in some research labs, the cable-bots are used for certain simulation studies [2]. A few months back, I came across an irresistible project in DIY (Do It Yourself) world namely, DrawBot. This is an x-y plotter, in which, considerably large working (plotting) area can be achieved using minimal set of components such as gondola, pulleys, belts and a couple of stepper motors. I decided to design and build one simple DrawBot for my young nephew.

I used opensource electronics of my personal 3D printer for the project. In order to save time, 3D printing of components was avoided and instead, I did laser cut required parts from acrylic and MDF boards. A fairly large (3 feet x 4 feet) plywood board was used for the DrawBot.

An AutoCAD DXF is a commonly used CAD data file format for storing drawings required for the bot [3]. Inkscape is a useful opensource program for drawing and saving DXF files [4]. However, from the DXF file, a G-code appropriate for RepRap firmware needs to be generated. Simple separate python codes were written to generate G-codes for DrawBot and Cartesian 3D printer. The codes are shared and can be downloaded from GitHub repository.

Here is a snap of a sketch of Tom and Jerry.

DrawBot in Action

An edited video of DrawBot drawing the same sketch.


  1. http://www.spidercam.tv/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJCsomGwdk0
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AutoCAD_DXF
  4. https://inkscape.org/en/

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