Android Pen Plotter Snaps, Processes, And Prints Pictures


Here’s an Android powered pen plotter that does it all. It was built by [Ytai Ben-Tsvi] to take with him to Maker Faire. He’s the creator of IOIO, a hardware interface module designed to communicate with an Android device via USB (host or OTG are both supported).

The physical hardware is simple enough. He draws on a pad of white paper using a felt-tipped marker. Located at the top of the easel are two wheels with stars etched on them. They are reels which spool and dole-out string to control the pen’s movements. The pen tip can be lifted by a ball bearing mounted just below it.

But the project really takes off when you watch [Ytai’s] demonstration. The Android tablet controlling the device captures a picture of an object — in this case it’s a toy truck. The app then processes it using edge detection to establish how to plot the image.

14 thoughts on “Android Pen Plotter Snaps, Processes, And Prints Pictures

    1. I saw this other guy in Maker Faire today, who also built a similar plotter, around Arduino. Looks fairly neat!
      Supposedly, signing up for his mailing list on will get you the plans.

    1. Piece of a soap-bottle pump :)
      As someone noted, when I go “off-the-shelf” it’s actually my bathroom shelf that I’m going to.
      I always get these funny ideas when I’m anxious to get a project up and running quickly, starting to dig around the house for something good enough rather than diverge from the real project.
      I find that it gives a funny style to the result too. However, not the most robust as you might imagine… Let’s hope it survives Maker Faire at least :)

  1. Nice ! I was wondering what you were up to lately… :)
    I like projects like this, that go beyond the technical aspect and have some nice and fun human interaction…


  2. Weird, an israeli with a dutch sounding accent. – Bit off-topic perhaps, but meh.

    Anyway, I like the IOIO effort and the more projects are out there the more it’ll have support.

  3. Ytai, I’m blown away! I’ve been trying to do something like this with my cell phone and Bluetooth but I have to say the IOIO is THE hardware for this application. Plus I like the whole concept of the “hanging plotter”. Now I have to hurry putting mine together cause my son saw his favorite Bruder crane there and want one FAST!!!
    Great job, fantastic!

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