When I was a Physics student back in 2007 I attended to an engraving and printing class in the arts department. At the time my friends from Physics looked at me with a puzzled face: "Why are you not studying for Calculus?". My arts friends had a similar face but more like "Cute, he's trying".
It turns out engraving is probably one of the classes I remember the most, next to Physics I who taught me about philosophy of natural world and Linear Algebra with the mind bending, reality creation operations.
Perhaps this engraving class was the genesis of a love and somehow obsession for printing, specially DIY printing techniques (I met one of my greatest friends, Paulo, on a DIY silk screen workshop).
When I got closer to Strawbees and Quirkbot in 2014, it took very little time until I started designing and experimenting with drawing machines. The harmonograph has influenced a whole lot the machines because of the sine/cosine/periodic movements I could get with those tiny robots.
- https://www.instagram.com/p/BLyOFO8hPRf/ (fun!)
- https://www.instagram.com/p/BQRR1pwgcBs/ (didn't work)
After coming back from Brasil to London in 2017, I have also spent quite some time exploring a "polargraph" inspired machine that was undoubtedly the one I spent more time and won my heart. Using gravity as tension mechanism just strikes me every time. It's also an almost zero parts build: You need the electronics, a pen holder and string, basically.
- https://www.instagram.com/p/BSM01cfh8Tg/ (also didn't work)
In theory this machine can print any scale given you have enough string and cable extensions. While with the harmonograph you can't really draw a square that easy, with the polargraph it's much easier. In theory.
In practice the polargraph creates this beautiful yet annoying distortion. The reason for it I'm incapable of explaining in a simple way but the solution may include measuring the initial distance between the motors and pen.
It's not that I quit a machine when I move one but it's a search. Every exploration yields things that surprises and pleases me in different ways. When I got my 3D printer it took me years until I realised that it could be a drawing machine too! Once that happened, things changed!
Attaching a pen to a CNC has become a regular and natural activity and repurposing the machine to "systematically rub stuff on stuff until it leaves a mark" has become my new moto.
Together with Bee we printed an animation and ceramic tiles, I printer on paper, cardboard, notepads, watercolor, drawings, patterns, etc... A whole lot of fun within 20cm square.
When I moved to Sweden in 2020 and left the printer behind, I started reflecting on how I had stopped using the 3D printer to extrude plastic and pretty much only used as a pen plotter. On that line of thought we bought an AxiDraw.
It's an overpriced machine for sure and I'm honest when I say I got a bit frustrated by not having to assemble the machine. On the other hand printing SVGs out of the box made my prints raise their bars of quality and quantity. Plus it prints A3!
I have been using Instagram to share things I make with it and I'll probably continue doing it... But I'm not so happy about having my documentation there so I created this other gallery to host pictures of them prints: