Recitation 4 Documentation – Jake Scavone

Drawing Machines


  • 1 * 42STH33-0404AC stepper motor
  • 1 * SN754410NE ic chip
  • 1 * power jack
  • 1 * 12 VDC power supply
  • 1 * Arduino kit and its contents

Step 1: Build the circuit


Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my Arduino kit to class. As a result, I was required to check out the equipment I needed for the project. All the wires they had available were red so please excuse the mess.

Wiring wasn’t too difficult. It would have been easier to wire if I could color code, for example, red wires for 5V Power and black for any wire that’s grounded. Overall the circuitry wasn’t far different from what we’ve done prior, and comparing the result to the diagram in order to check everything was very helpful.

Step 2: Control rotation with a potentiometer

After I connected the potentiometer correctly according to the diagram, I loaded up the code required in the Arduino software. After uploading the code to the board, nothing worked. I had to troubleshoot and see if there was something wrong within my wiring. Although it was quite difficult to find when all the wires are red, I ultimately discovered that my problem was a simple wiring error. Once I fixed said problem, I was faced with another challenge. I uploaded the code again and started the program. The potentiometer started rotating, but after about five seconds everything stopped working. The Arduino board lost power and refused to turn back on.

Step 3: Build a Drawing Machine!

The two problems I faced with the Arduino left me with no time as well as no working motor to assemble the drawing machine. My partner, Stanley Virgint, was ultimately able to get his working, but we were unable to find an available student who didn’t already have a partner and were up to the same step.

Question 1:

What kind of machines would you be interested in building? Add a reflection about the use of actuators, the digital manipulation of art, and the creative process to your blog post.

Although more fantasy, this topic is soon becoming a reality. Exoskeletons have fascinated me since I saw the movie Iron Man released in 2008.  I would love to build some sort of exoskeleton on a smaller scale, perhaps just for an arm or something. Theoretically, I would use multiple actuators and motors, all connected to a variety of sensors within a brace-like structure that would go over someone’s arm. When the sensors detect that your arm is moving in a certain way, it would use the motors to assist the user. Exoskeletons are currently being tested for soldiers carrying heavy equipment over long distances. The goal is to take all of the weight and strain off of the user.

Question 2:

Choose an art installation mentioned in the reading ART + Science NOW, Stephen Wilson (Kinetics chapter). Post your thoughts about it and make a comparison with the work you did during this recitation. How do you think that the artist selected those specific actuators for his project?

An art installation mentioned in ART + Science NOW that caught my attention was Andy Gracie’s “quasi-symbiotic environment” maintained by a robot. On the topic of replacing jobs with more efficient and precise robots, this installment closely relates to where I think the future of agriculture is headed. In this environment, the “robot cares for plants by moving back and forth to control nutrients and other conditions.” This is similar to what we did during the last week’s recitation. The relationship that I see most is how small inputs produce bigger outputs. This is seen by how we made small rotations with a key on our potentiometers to instruct the arm to draw accordingly. Andy Gracie’s installation also requires little inputs but ultimately fulfills an entire task on its own.

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