Light painting with a string plotter

[Matt Bell] sends a shout-out to Hackaday by creating a light-painting of our logo with his string plotter. He starts off by setting up a pair of stepper motors which each have a spool to wind and unwind a string. The plotter is made by suspending a stylus between these two strings. In this case, he’s using a wireless LED board (seen above) built from the remote control receiver/transmitter from a toy car. The link above is part of a Flickr set from which you can get the whole story by reading the captions of each image.

After the break we’ve embedded a clip of an in-progress light painting. You can see there’s some oscillation of the LED unit that makes it a bit less precise than the CNC light painter we saw a couple of weeks ago. It seems like string plotters usually don’t have this issue if the stylus has something to help stabilize it. We wonder if a piece of acrylic would help get rid of the shakes?

12 thoughts on “Light painting with a string plotter

  1. Needs run-up and slow-down to be ramped, this will reduce oscillations a little bit. I guess the impact on the light-print can be compensated by changing the intensity of the LED in proportion with the speed.

  2. I would think hanging the batteries a little lower might help in oscillations (or it could just make it worse), lowering the CoG

  3. If you make a frame where the other ends are rooted along the sides and that back to the PCB you have slight or zero oscillations

  4. How did you get the X,Y coordinates from the logo into the rig to control the LED position? Does the project have a detailed build page?

      1. Yes, please do create a build page. I’m interested in how you’re interpreting g-code with an Arduino. If you do write this up, please include some of the references you found helpful in creating this. Thanks for making something cool and sharing it with us all.

        – Robot

    1. The X,Y coordinates are sent to the plotter (an arduino connected to steppers) via gcode. The arduino then figures how long the strings needs to be and runs the steppers to get there.

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