ScaraBots are automata that make doodles, and these doodles could be defined as machine-produced art.
Moreover, the art produced by ScaraBot can be used as a base for a human piece of art. Then you have to consider the art of building the ScaraBot, devising its design, choosing the materials, designing the electrical parts and the support for the markers. And in the case of programmable ScaraBots, there is the art of coding.

Scarabot Cicloide
Scarabot Cicloide

When did the idea of ScaraBot originate?

The term ScaraBot comes from the Italian word “scribbles.” I invented the term ScaraBot in 2013, after attending The Tinkering Studio / exploratorium’s “Tinkering Fundamentals” course[1].
During the course, we were shown building a simple doodle machine using paper cups or a basket of strawberries, and I started thinking about how to build a new version of that fun art-making contraption.
The ScaraBot is not just a simple doodle machine, but a homemade automaton with its own design.

Scarabot Insector
Scarabot Insector

How they are made

ScaraBots are homemade automata, constructed from atypically reused everyday materials, such as: tuna cans, paper clips, caps, and various materials.

A battery-powered motor is added to the body and, on the motor axis, any small object that acts as a propeller. One or more markers are also attached to the base.


The ScaraBot moves thanks to a DC motor powered by a battery. The operating voltage range of DC motors is generally from 1,5V to 9V.

Scarabot circuit
Scarabot circuit

One or more batteries can be used in series to achieve the desired voltage. If you lower the voltage, you reduce the rotation speed and vice versa.
The addition of a switch and potentiometer allows you to turn the ScaraBot on/off and vary the battery power and thus the speed.

Scarabot Bull
Scarabot Bull

How ScaraBots make doodles

The propeller must be off-center with respect to the axis of the motor. This creates an imbalance, a kind of turbulence that makes the ScaraBot move.

Scarabot JohnB

The type of movement depends on various factors: the position of the propeller and its length, the battery charge, and the length of the legs. For example, a slightly longer leg can act as a pivot point.

Scarabot performance

ScaraBot examples

Different ScaraBots create different designs.

Scarabot chaotic pattern

Other tools besides markers can also be used for drawing. For instance, a funnel with sand.

Scarabot Sandy

Automata and Human making ART

Scarabot Doodles

A Human artist can starts from ScaraBot generated doodles, to produce a new artwork, adding her creativity by hand painting/drawing.

Cells by Scarabot & Cyberparra

We can talk about human who hacks the ScaraBots artifacts or better about human who remix teh ScaraBots job. In any case it sounds like a new kind of art.

Eye of Ra by Scarabot & Cyberparra

The art is generated by an electromechanical contraption and depends on physical and engineering factors: shape, weight, friction, unbalance, motor speed, battery charge. Working on these factors is the only way to obtain different drawing and pattern.

The ScaraBot Evo

ScaraBot Evo (evolution) is a new type of ScaraBot that will allow you to explore: generative art with coding, math, and geometry.
While ScaraBots are automata, ScaraBots Evo are real robots because they are programmable and can also be equipped with sensors and actuators.

Scarabot Evo

ScaraBot Evo: How are made

ScaraBot Evo are do-it-yourself robots of any kind that use a microcontroller, such as microbit or arduino, a driver board for motors, DC motors, and wheels. The chassis can be 3D printed or made of cardboard, wood, or a mix of materials, or even built with LEGO bricks.

Scarabot Evo with Lego

Doodles through coding

The microcontroller is an electronic device that can be programmed using a supported programming language: visual code, javascriipt, C, ecc.

Scarabot Evo Coding

You can create and upload a specific program into the microcontroller to generate the desired drawings.

Patterns and Chaos

The use of coding allows the exploration of geometry and mathematics and the creation of specific patterns.

Scarabot Evo pattern
Scarabot Evo with Ozobot

With coding, it is possible to experiment with chaotic design through algorithms using random/noise functions.

Scarabot Evo chaotic drawing


The process of designing and building ScaraBot is a creative activity that fosters learning and allows exploring a particular aspect of machine/robot generated art and experimenting with math and geometry through coding.
Building ScaraBots is a great educational activity to do with children, but it can be applied and useful for all ages.
A lot of thinking can be generated and conducted with ScaraBots. For example: who is the artist? The contraption? The robot?, The programmer? The code?

ScaraBot Evo & patterns

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