IAP Class: Build a CNC Drawing Machine

This is a 5 day workshop taught by Victor Leung in MIT in Janurary 2016. It combined theory lectures with lab sessions to introduce the mechanical and electrical systems in a typical CNC machine (i.e: a laser cutter). Twelve students (in groups of two) conduct various exercises, complete a two-axis CNC pen plotter, and program the machines to make drawings.

Lucy Liu (MIT Architecture – Architectural Design) gave a lecture outlining the history from procedural painting to pen plotters to custom drawing machines.

Students are encouraged to come up with ideas to modify the machine for other novel applications, resulting in a SCARA robot and a disc drawing machine. One group modified the standard two-axis plotter by attaching a custom-made brush tip to move thick paint around. The trail of the brush tip became the painting.