Mug-O-Matic Plots On Coffee Mugs

There is something fascinating about watching an autonomous machine. An automatic car wash, a soda vending machine that picks up the product behind a window, a plotter, or a robot like a CNC or 3D printer are all interesting to watch. Although [EngineerDog] bills Mug-O-Matic as a tiny CNC, we think it is more of a plotter for coffee mugs. It’s still fun to watch though, as you can see in the video below.

The design has about 60 printed parts and uses a Sharpie at the business end. It accepts gcode and can even emblazon your favorite mug with our own Jolly Wrencher, so you know we like it.

Of course, a Sharpie mark won’t stay on a mug forever, but the write up says you can bake the mug to make the markings permanent. At first, the project used a cheap Arduino Nano breakout board. However, that was set up to drive the servos with the Arduino’s power supply, so instead of board surgery there is now a custom PCB.

The resulting drawings are a little shaky, we aren’t sure if that’s from the way the device mounts on top of the mug or just the lever arm of the carriage the pen rides in. However, for a fun project it does a great job.

We couldn’t help but think about eggbots and the spherebot when we saw this. We also wondered if this could draw on glass that would later be etched with hydrofluoric acid or  Armour Etch.

12 thoughts on “Mug-O-Matic Plots On Coffee Mugs

    1. Easy is a relative statement :) I have improved the resolution since making this video but eggbot it is not. Notice I only use hobby servos on this build. This design optimizes price, ease of use, and expandability at the cost of higher resolution.

  1. Nice idea, but this is bad imo:
    > 1. Create or find an image file you want to draw and convert it to an STL that is 0.1mm thick.
    > 2. Use RepetierHost + Slic3r to convert the model into gcode.
    > 3. Use Processing to send commands line by line from computer over usb.
    > 4. Use Arduino with the Mug-O-Matic Gcode_reader sketch to decode commands.

    Inkscape to gcode or Eggbot plugin is nicer.

  2. I love it. Fantastic work. Could see this being a complete self-contained attraction at a tourist shop – choose your design (“Eiffel Tower”, “I <3 Paris", etc) watch the robot draw before your eyes, pop into a toaster oven for baking, then eject it into the buyer's waiting hands. Like those melty robot dinosaur ones they used to make.

  3. Interesting.
    Given it’s a simple cylinder there’s no reason why you can’t just use GRBL with some tiny steppers. For all intents and purposes it can be treated just like another xyz plotter in software, just with a polar coordinate xz in reality. All designs can be simple vectors.

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