Gakken is back with a large mechanical hand! The Gakken Auto-Writing Machine is the new monthly kit from the folks over at Gakken. It's a hand that, when you stick a pen into its holder, will write either the Japanese character for 'A', a peace sign, or the name 'Tosa.'
The auto-writer works by having three plates that rotate and are caught by two sliders that then pull the spring-loaded hand to draw the desired shape. It's a really cool design and a lot of fun to get working.
There's no pen included but we bought a caligraphy pen from a local stationery store and it worked great. It also requires 1x AA battery that's also not included.
While what it can write is pretty limited, there's also an online app where you can design your own plates. It lets you make the circles in PDF form so you can laser/hand cut them. We tried it and didn't get the best results for detailed drawings, but it's a fun challenge if you're up to it - just make sure your cardboard/acrylic's the right thickness and your design's not too complicated!
Like many of our Gakken kits, the instructions are all in Japanese but there are pictures on how to assemble it and we didn't have too much trouble putting it together.