The holidays always remind us of our favorite toys from when we were kids. Johnny Astro, an Erector set, and — of course — a Spirograph. [CraftDiaries] has an Arduino machine that isn’t quite a Spirograph, but it sure reminds us of one. The Arduino drives two stepper motors that connect to a pen that can create some interesting patterns.
The build uses a few parts that were laser cut, but they don’t look like they’d be hard to fabricate using conventional means or even 3D printing. The author even mentions you could make them out of cardboard or foamboard if you wanted to.
The electronics are straightforward with two stepper drivers. We couldn’t help but think that some of the old 3D printer motherboards we have laying around here could handle this very easily. However, in this project, the CPU is an ordinary UNO with a CNC shield to drive the motors.
Of course, the real trick is the software. Apparently, the different patterns come from the relationship between the delay between steps of the right motor and that of the left motor. There’s got to be some math behind that, but the patterns are certainly pretty.