Machine design


Kohei Morimoto

Saki Tomine


1. Overview

Relief Plotter

We are undertaking the development of a “Relief Plotter” that pushes up pins arranged in a grid. The machine pushes up the data three-dimensionally, it looks like a relief by the height difference of pushed pins. As the first prototype, it consists of the following elements.

  • Placing the XY axis mechanism using the ball screw in the bottom part of the machine.
  • The head part is a pushing-up mechanism using rack and pinion.
  • The head part moves in parallel, and it push the pin in a prescribed position.
  • When pins are pushed up, the pin’s position is retained by friction of the top plate.

Product image

We think that this machine will lead to Kohie's final project.

Kohei's final project

And it can also be applied to the data visualization that Saki is working on as her private project.

3D data visualization

2. Prototyping

This machine consists of 3 components.

  1. Stage that moves in X-Y direction
  2. Pin pushing machine
  3. Top plate with pins

So we made each prototype separately and check the mechanisms and design notes of them.

2.1 Stage that moves in X-Y direction

At firts, we made a stage that moves in X-Y direction with cardboard. This is based on Nadia’ MTM kit. Nadia's design was too big for our lazer cutter, so we redesigned enclosure data with Fusion 360.

2.2 Pin pushing components

This components is attached to the stage and moves in X-Y direction. After moving to the specified position, it pushes up the pin above. We tried to realize it by using stepper motor and rack and pinion gear.
The gears were made of MDF (5.5mm) and the enclosure made of cardboard (5.0mm).

2.3 Top plate with pins

To plot some data, we must hold pins after pushing up. So we try to use different types of materials soft rubber and MDF. The hole of MDF is slightly bigger than pin size. This plays a role as guide to push up vertically. On the other hand, the hole of rubber is a bit tight. it holds pushed up pins by friction.

2.4 Assembled

At last, we assembled each compornent and checked the movement and size.

3. Mecanical design

3.1 Move in X-Y direction X-Y motor


Download the file

Download the file

Download the file

3.1 Z motor


Download the file

Download the file

Download the file

4. Erectronics Design & Programming

4.1 System Overview

4.2 X-Y motor

We used arduino Uno and Adfruit motor shield.And we used library,Adafruit_MotorShield.h.

4.3 Z motor

4.4 Integration

We Add Z moter system to XY motor shield.And Add iniciallize buttons.when we integrated, we do not have enough power,sometimes it stopped.We fixed friction of X,Y,Z axises.Then it moved smoothly.

Operation Confirmartion


4.5 GUI on Processing

we need coordinates of image what we draw.So we made editor using processing.I learned processing from thie site.

4. Top components

5. Assembled

FabLab Kitakagaya

coop kitakagaya 107, 5-4-12, Kitakagaya, Suminoe, Osaka, 559-0011, Japan