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Artist crafts intricate drawing machine from cardboard and tape

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Niklas Roy's cardboard workshop spawns fantastical contraptions

cardboard plotter
cardboard plotter

A Germany-based artist has created an automated drawing machine almost entirely from cardboard. The Cardboard Plotter apes the complex machines popularized by computer-aided-design using only a marker, a lot of cardboard, some glue, a bit of tape, and a few tie wraps. You can control the plotter by moving one of two (cardboard) dials, one for each axis, and there's a switch that lifts the marker on and off the page. Attached to the plotter is a little code book that gives instructions on how to draw a number of simple pictures using the machine.

The Cardboard Plotter is the brainchild of Niklas Roy, a self-proclaimed "inventor of useless things," who created the machine while teaching an workshop on building electronic devices from cardboard at the School of Art and Design Offenbach, Germany. Roy has been creating amazing machines for years, and some of his other projects can be found on his website, including the beautiful — and entirely useless — Perpetual Energy Wasting Machine. A number of Roy's students made their own cardboard creations in the workshop, producing some stunning results. The student-made projects include Ab geht’s, a complex information network built from cardboard and ropes; Masterclock, a mechanical counting machine; and Speedway PRO 1000, a racing arcade game, preserved forever in GIF form.