Drawing Machines

Legonardo, the Humanoid Pen Plotter Made Out of Lego by Daniele Benedettelli. (via Make).

Ladies and gentlemen, here is LEGONARDO, a portrayer robot. It is my fourth generation drawing machine. It is inspired by the work of 18th Century Swiss watch and automata makers Pierre Jacquet-Drozand Henri Maillardet. After reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I completely redesigned my portrayer into this shape.The name is a tribute to Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian artist and inventor. The drawings are generated by a custom software I wrote, similar to the one used for my first portrayer robot.

A prototype Benedettelli built in 2011





The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (also see the movie Hugo based on the book).


The Draughtsman, one of a three doll automata (also including the Writer and the Musician) built between 1768 and 1774 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis, and Jean-Frédéric Leschot. This automaton can draw four different images: a dog with the words “my doggy” written beside it, a picture of Cupid driving a butterfly driven chariot, a couple who may be Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI and a portrait of Louis XV. The automaton will occasionally pause and blow on the pencil to remove dust. More on the official website.


The Draughtsman-Writer was built by Henri Maillardet (1745-1830) who was a Swiss mechanician working in London producing clocks and other mechanisms. This particular automata It is a spring-activated automaton that draws pictures and writes verses in both French and English. More information here.