posts tagged with the keyword ‘turntable’


Platter System

For my turntable drawing machine I’ll need the platter to spin. In a “real” turntable (the kind used for vinyl albums) there are three methods, idler-wheel, direct drive, and belt-drive. The illustration above shows my original idea for direct-drive, which I quickly abandoned in favor of belt-drive, on the bottom.

Rod & Bearing

Typically I use 8mm rod for things because, well, I have it handy, and lots of 608 bearings as well. For this turntable shaft, Frankie gave me some 6003Z bearings, which have an inside diameter of 17mm. I found some 17mm steel rod from McMaster-Carr, but I didn’t need very much, so I asked Chad about making a piece on the lathe. He said it should be easy if we had some stock just a bit larger, and well… Frankie did indeed have something! (Oh, if I used 17mm rod I would have added shaft collars… luckily by machining the part, we won’t need them.)

Frankie gave me a crash course in the metal lathe. (I last use a lathe back in the 1980s, and it was a wood lathe!) I learned how to face off the material, and then he showed me how to narrow it down to size. We got it to a perfect fit for the bearing!

Plastic pulley

I also had some plastic pulleys on hand from when MakerBot sold off all their old Cupcake CNC parts… I knew they’d come in handy someday! We managed to drill out the center on the lathe so it fits tight over the steel shaft. I may need to add a set screw or some locking collars, but it’s a nice tight fit right now.


Here’s the shaft, bearing, and pulley all properly sized. Once I determine the length of the shaft we’ll put it on the lathe, cut it down, and then get the other side to the right size. I’ll make some pieces that hold the bearings by either laser cutting some material, or 3D printing something, or maybe via the CNC router.

Perfect Fit!



As previously mentioned, I’m working on a new drawing machine, and it’s based on a turntable. I’ve included some of the sketches here, as I continue to explore a few ideas.


There’s a number of aesthetic choices to make in the design of this thing, including the material. Right now I’m focusing on wood for the majority of the build, but may also include some acrylic (which may allow for some LED lighting) and metal. I’d consider Alupanel, as that stuff is pretty nice, but it’s also a bit pricey, especially since I’d need a piece that is 19″ x 15″.


There’s also the mechanical build to deal with. I’ve got a good idea of how that will work, and I should be prototyping the spinning platter mechanism this week. I have semi-working Arduino code already, but I’m still contemplating direct drive versus a belt system. (I have all the parts, just need to start experimenting.)


I stopped by Bliffert Lumber last week to grab some 1/4″ Baltic Birch plywood, and I cut the top panel and turntable. These may just serve as test pieces and not final pieces, but it’s something to start working with. I used a 90 watt laser cutter as it’s quick and easy. I do have a 1/4″ end mill coming in this week, so I can cut 3/4″ wood on the big CNC router if needed. It’ll all depend on material and time. (This needs to be completed in about a month.)

Hopefully I can start working on the arm mechanism by next week, as there’s a few tricky bits involved there. I’m not sure if I will use limit switches, a servo, or make the pen placement a manual process. Hopefully a prototype will come together soon and answer some of those questions.


I’ve been designing a new drawing machine that is inspired by turntables. You know, those old-fashioned devices that old people used to listen to music…

I’ve made some progress on the electronics so far, and the controls will most likely consist of two potentiometers to control two stepper motors, and there may or may not be a servo involved for the pen lifting. (And yes, two steppers and a servo are sort of the common elements of many drawing machines.)

While many of my drawing machines are cobbled together with bits of wood and hot glue, I’m going to attempt to actually design this one. I’ve been looking at a number of turntables for design ideas, and wow, some of those things are just beautiful! Some examples below…





Wood Turntable

Belt Drive

I’ve started to collect other images/links over on a Pinterest board. Some are just interesting machines or mechanisms, but a lot of them are turntables or drawing machine related.


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