Community challenge #20: Drawing/Painting with the machine (closed)

This design is from New Zealand - Sharpie Pen Holder

I used parts sourced from my local hardware store in the central U.S. They include a 3" x 1/2" section of PVC threaded on each end and a pair of PVC caps. I used a 1/4" bolt and pair of nuts for the mandrel.

Photos show assembly and mounting with a hose clamp to the side of the router.


Would the shaft not fit in the collet?


The shaft would fit in the collet but then I would have to raise the router in the adapter which I would just as soon not do. Certainly an option.

I use an adapter I made for the Sweepy Dust shoe which works well. I do lose about 4" of travel but I can rotate the Sweepy for best fit to my workpiece. The adapter locks tightly to the Sweepy by tightening the lower PVC cap.

I also have another - little more involved to build holder - that will accept a wider variety of drawing instruments. ie. Sharpies, pens, pencils, crayons, charcoal It clamps to the router body.



Not sure how often it would be used but it would be nice if the carbide router had a detachable power cord at the router end so it can easily be removed to either use some other type of tool or even for router maintenance without needing to mess with the drag chains to free the router. I have a router that has a 3 prong outlet with a lock to secure the cable in place kind of like this.


Like this contest it would be interesting to see what else people would use their Shapeoko for besides using a spindle/router.

Please note that we no longer suggest zip-tieing the trim router power cord to the drag chains EDIT: for folks w/ Shapeoko 3s — instead, run it along the vacuum hose — I run mine up to bungie cords which are looped into the ceiling.

EDIT: naturally folks w/ Pros should use the provided second drag chain which is intended for the power cord.

Let me preface this by I’m completely new to this CNC craft and I have not even made any chips to date as I’m waiting on finishing my enclosure. That said as this challenge is dust free I decided to give it a shot and to be honest for newcomers it’s actually not bad to learn the tools/software and some basics as it seems like not much can go wrong.

Now let me introduce the tool I used, it’s a “Wilson drawing kit #4” with interchangeable inserts (lead and coloring pencils).

So yes that is a kids marker which I hollowed out and drilled through both ends permitting for quick tool changes by simply sliding over the elastic to swap out for different pencils (lead or color). On the back side I zip tied a rubber band and adjusted the tension so upon initial contact it applies a normal amount of pressure against the worksurface. I’m thinking of trying 3D carving as the intent is the rubber band will apply more pressure the deeper the tool goes into the worksurface so might be able to reproduce grayscale pencil art. Then to hold this contraption I’ve opted to drill through a Wislon 4 tennis ball (hence the kit name above) as it fits just snug enough into the sweepy to hold everything in place. (EDIT: I can confirm there is some deflection but I didn’t bother measuring it)

And finally my first artistic attempt at toolpath art with this odd tool on a piece of scrap.

And now I welcome you to laugh if you must… LOL!!!


Why would anyone laugh. I think it is pretty innovative the way you put it together.


@72begin and @Caffein8ted, thank you for sharing those pretty clever solutions! (I wish I could control my tendency to over-engineer things and come up with simple yet efficient solutions like those)
This challenge is off to a great start, I can’t wait to see the final drawing you submit to illustrate what those setups can do!

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So my first attempt was going to take over 3 hours because the feeds and speeds where the defaults for tools in Carbide Create and this is the areas with the darker shading. However I decided to build a custom library called Wilson 4 custom tools and started playing with new tool settings but mainly stepover and feed rate to try and cut down time. That said obviously there’s little force exerted on the tool itself and the forces are basically the inertia of the machine itself and sudden changes in direction so what would be a safe max feed rate to go with and not end up damaging something? I had it going at 2000mm/min and then bumped it up in Carbide Motion but thought I should maybe ask before I get carried away.

Can you imagine that support call and would this be covered under Carbide’s the first 30 days mistakes are on us policy?:

Carbide Support: “Can you explain what happened to damage the shaft on your stepper motors”
Me: “Well I was participating in the Community Challenge #20 contest and had a tool running at a feed rate of 7500mm/min…”

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Looking at:

If you run your machine at 10.000mm/min and somehow end up calling support, you could always argue that “@wmoy made me do it” :smiley:
Granted, that’s the rapid feedrate and NOT intended to be used as a cutting feedrate, but sliding the tip of a pen over a sheet or paper is somewhere between the two (and closer to rapid-ing, I would say).

My official stance is to not go that fast and I’ll deny recommending it :smiley: (but would like to see the effect of, on the quality of the drawing)


A quick update to my cityscape entry. I cursed the tool change as the coloring pencils I used was much harder then the pencil used for the contour, actually is was probably pointier meaning also longer but it ended up piercing the foamboard and caused some issues later in the job. That said I’ll probably have to attempt this again either without the tool change or never mind the foam board and just use a wood panel. In either case here’s my second attempt at toolpath art using the “Wilson drawing kit #4”.

(Edit: Despite the issue I had I can definitely say I’m learning and picking up some tricks along the way)


I call it Bold and Brash

Working with the limited Z height on the Nomad 3, I designed and 3d printed a mount based off of the chip fan that comes included with the machine. I wanted it to keep it simple and make it easy to swap out the markers.

To keep the paper down I used a glue stick and stuck it directly to the MDF. I couldn’t get the paper flat enough to the MDF using tape.

Here are pictures of the mount and an action shot. I’m unable to post more than one picture because I’m a new user


Thanks for your entry and welcome to the community @BDR_Manufacturing
I’m intrigued by the shiny/jelly look of the green part, is this just an optical effect or a special marker?

BOLD indeed.

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Just an optical effect. The markers are the cheapo dollar store ones

I have a Shapeoko but this jig was used to hold down veneer for cutting. I have a 2 inch spacing on my waste board.

Maybe you could something similar to hold down thin material.


Thanks! I’ll have to try that next time

I drew the following on Glass with my ShapeOKO, or actually more precisely I drew the following on glass using a drawing machine created entirely using my ShapeOKO and liquid chalk pens or Sharpies.

The drawing machine is a CoreXY idea using a Arduino/GRBL controller to drive two stepper motors (A and B - analogies for X and Y), and a model aircraft servo motor for Z. Hook it up and ‘treat it like a ShapeOKO’ and it draws. Output .GCODE files from whatever software you have, and provided the Z axis is organised to be ‘above 0 = up’ and ‘below 0 = down’ then it works.

The brief was to create a fun machine that is portable, could be ‘stuck’ onto a window with suckers and draw pretty much any artwork wanted, provided it can be presented as GCODE. The design should be adjustable in size, lightweight and credibly accurate. Where did the brief come from? Wanting something to do during lockdown weekends, and wanting to understand GCODE/GRBL in more depth.

Four carbon fibre rods (8mm OD) form the outer frame, held in corner blocks that hold them true but allow for loosening and size adjustment. The pen carriage runs on a pair of 6mm carbon rods that form the X axis and carries the servo motors for pen control. The belt is long, running around the entire perimeter of the machine in two loops, and tensioned on the pen carriage using a guitar string tensioner modified to turn a Gates GT2 toothed pulley.

I modelled up each piece as double-sided 2.5D parts, and cut them all out of two slabs of cast perspex. The amount of material removal results in a surprising amount of chips - and the need to improve earthing along the dust extraction hose to reduce static generation!

The above is the ‘machine’ crudely held against a mirror to test it out. I will tidy up the wiring and make an enclosure for the Arduino and Shield PCB that holds the stepper motor drivers.

I took the standard GRBL source code (1.1x on Arduino 328) and modified the Z axis control to operate PWM driven servo motors, which took some doing as the GRBL software uses almost every resource on the 328 chip, made some small adjustments to the CoreXY algorithms, adapted how tool-changes were received to stop needless errors, and it fits in the memory footprint - just. And it works!! Not bad for a first venture into tinkering with micro-controllers.

I found a very neat app on iPAD (Vector-Q) that does a very good job of converting any image to pastel artwork, or SVG line-art, as a compliment to CC or VC tracing where the actual business of producing the GCODE files happens. One thing I discovered about Chalkola liquid chalk pens is that the pens don’t like crossing ‘dried up lines’ of chalk - they clog up!! So I also experimented with creating artwork SVG line-art using the ‘travelling sales person’ idea of having a single, closed vector that never crosses itself - this is a huge rabbit-hole to get drawn into, but did serve as an interesting learning vehicle for how image conversion processing works.

Files for the mechanicals are attached. These are Vectric VCarve format. If anyone is interested, I can zip up and post the modified GRBL source code - just ask.

WP Pen Slider Cap 3D (186.4 KB)
WP Pen Slider Body 3D (371.4 KB)
WP Pen RC Platform (185.6 KB)
Window Plotter Corners (155.7 KB)
Corner Bracket Scallop 3D (31.7 KB)
Corner Bracket 3D (3.2 MB)

Maybe this ‘Glass Drawing Machine’ is stretching @Julien’s rules a bit, but I thought you might anyway enjoy the project and its outcomes.


WOW! I am so impressed by the minds of folks on this site. Great job.


Me too!

Honestly the contests are a must see for all the creativity. Both admin created themes and user created content!

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