Save Time with this Arduino-Powered Homework Machine!

Sick of homework? Whether you’re still at school or helping your kids, it’s invariably inconvenient. While this amazing “homework machine” might not be able to help directly, the effort put into building a replica, and the resulting pen-based printed output, should at least put the chore of homework into perspective.

Essentially, this is a build capable of producing stunning artwork. Sure, it has the fun homework angle attached to it, but hooking up the comparatively imprecise nature of a pen with an electronic device removes that sharp, precise finish that we come to expect from a printer. The output, in short, is unique; it probably helps to spend a bit of time selecting the right images to print/draw.

One thing’s for sure: ink refills for this are a hell of a lot cheaper than your inkjet printer!

At the heart of this project is an Arduino UNO, Arduino CNC Shield V3, an MG90S micro servo, and a 3D printer step motor. Employing the parts of an old 3D printer, this build also features a heavy dose of hot glue. If this isn’t entirely to your tastes, or you don’t have the relevant carriage components, you might check out some of the alternative versions of this project on YouTube. It shouldn’t be too difficult to combine some custom carriages with the rest of this project.

Once you’re done, you’ll need some software, which has been provided in this Google share. This features the device driver for connecting to a Windows PC, as well as the software interface for loading the image to be printed. Note that the image must be reversed before outputting (this can be done in the app).

It isn’t just homework that you can reproduce with little effort using this tool. Any simple images that can be converted to monochrome can be output with the pen. The end result might be a logo, or a phrase, or even a photograph.

Although a slightly complicated build, the possibilities with this pen-based printer are endless. At the very least, you can help your seven-year-old with his or her homework!


Christian Cawley

Christian Cawley spends a lot of time with Raspberry Pis and scours the web looking for interesting DIY electronics projects and news for ElectroMaker. He's currently trying to show his 7 year old son how to get to grips with Scratch, but so far to no avail.


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