Drawing Robot Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci
Tom Spendlove posted on December 04, 2018 |

The Leonardo da Vinci Robot Society is a group of robotics enthusiasts and passionate fans of da Vinci. 2019 will mark 500 years since the creator’s death, and to celebrate the group developed a robotic tool based on da Vinci’s programmable computer. The group enlisted the help of Robert Sabuda for his expertise in non-electronic mechanisms and created the Drawmaton, a programmable wooden robot that draws. A Kickstarter campaign is running to fund the first round of production parts.

Drawmaton takes inspiration from original drawings and the Codex Atlanticus to create the drawing machine. Three different styles are available through Kickstarter – The Robot with a robotic drawing hand, the skeletal Gambler with a bony drawing hand and the Slayer with a dragon icon and a gauntlet drawing hand built to look like a knight’s gauntlet from da Vinci’s time. The machine itself is built from laser cut wooden sheets that layer together to create the base of the machine, the gear system, and the individual design and drawing hand. Petalos are the individual discs that dictate which picture will be drawn. Eight different sets of programming petalos are included with the kits, and users will eventually be able to create their own line art by converting images to petalos and laser cutting their own discs. The program isn't specified on the page but it looks like Python.

Drawmaton is elegant in its simplicity – the whole of the system looks very simple but the layout, gearing, and programming all work together to create complex linework. The continuous line drawings possess an old world aesthetic while looking very modern, especially when framed in the campaign photos. The society definitely has a deep love for da Vinci’s robots, focusing on the self-propelled cart, the lion, and the knight. There’s a disappointing lack of technical details on the campaign page but one of the comments says that the group might publish the designs for users to recreate the Drawmaton. I can see a ten times scale drawing robot as a great draw for robotics competition teams. The campaign is already successful and ends on December 19, 2018.

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