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It’s easy to see that painting takes a lot of skill, but few really understand how much skill is involved like John Opsahl, who created the “If Then Paint” CNC canvas painting machine.

In order to produce the proper paint strokes, his device implements full six-axis brush control, moving not only in the X/Y/Z coordinate system, but rotating on three axes. Movement is handled by a modified version of Grbl running on an Arduino Mega.

If Then Paint also features the ability to change painting/art tools automatically, as well as a clever paint management system that turns a carousel of paint syringes. 

More info on the build can be found here, and check out a few examples of how it works in the videos below.

Maker Jeremy S. Cook has experimented with both CNC machinery and light painting in the past, and decided to combine these two skills into a new artistic device. 

His setup uses a web app found here to program a CNC router as a sort of dot matrix printer. But instead of a pen, pencil, brush or other marking utensil, it uses a button as an input to the onboard Arduino Nano when pressed to the router’s surface.

From this input, the Arduino then commands a diffused RGB LED to “mark” the surface with light, painting an image on the camera’s exposed sensor. 

Code and print files are are available on GitHub if you’d like to try your own light art experiments!

Maker Faire Rome, where everything started

I participated in Maker Faire Rome back in December 2017. I came with the rest of the Arduino crew to spend two days talking to other makers in the show, check out the projects made in the field of education and to…  get a portrait painted. Now seriously, I hadn’t planned to get a painting of my beard made at Maker Faire, it just happened. I was walking around together with Marcus, one of the guys running the Arduino Education web infrastructure, when I saw my own picture on a computer screen at a not-so-distant booth. We came closer just to satisfy my curiosity, and then the surprise… there was a robot making my portrait!

The process of making this portrait was not exactly short, the robot moves back and forth every couple of brush strokes to get some more paint. The colors are created by dipping into small containers. Imagine a CNC of sorts moving on the X-Y plane and making a small movement with the brush in order to make a mark on the canvas. My portrait is made of several A4 pages glued together, as you can see in the picture. In total it takes several hours to produce a portrait like this one.

You can see the first traces made by the machine while painting my portrait in the following video.

The painting robot was built by Jose Salatino, a painter gone roboticist that used to go around making portraits to famous musicians and giving the paintings away to them. He told me that this is how he started in the art world. At some point he wanted to bring together his life passion with his hobby (electronics) and got interested into painting robots (seems like there is a whole niche there I haven’t explored yet) and realized that very few people were really using a painter’s technique to mix the colors. That triggered him into learning more about machines in general, and machines that could paint in particular.

[Jose’s self portrait process, image courtesy of Jose Salatino]

The machine itself

The painter robot, which I came to call Van Gogh because of its painting style, is a two-axis machine that can be programmed to move all over the canvas. The machine uses the technique of creating a color by mixing first basic pigments (blue, yellow, red) and then dipping the brush again into one of a series of containers grading from white to black. This is, Jose told me, how he would mix the paint: first dip into the different containers of basic color (e.g. to make a bright green, need to dip once in blue and maybe three times in yellow), second assign the luminosity by dipping into a certain gray color. When asked about whether the paint containers would not get dirty by doing so, Jose replied that so it goes when painting for him. The colors get dirty on the palette and you need to keep on adding new color. And this is when I realized that I was totally over engineering the project in my head when I tried to imagine how I would do it. Check the robot in action in the following video.

Note the sponge used to clean the brush before reloading it with paint, yet another master move, in my opinion. You can read more about the machine by visiting the project’s write-up here

The contest Jose is participating in

Jose has entered a robotics painting contest with the works made by his robot. One of the proposed pieces is actually my portrait. 🙂 

The 2018 “3rd Annual” International Robotic Art Competition’s goal is to challenge teams to produce something visually beautiful with robotics – that is, to have a robot use physical brushes and paint to create an artwork.

Jose’s robot is all about brushes, as I already told you. And he is all for the competition, for which he teamed up with his kids who learned everything that was needed to make the robot paint as it does. The idea is that, in case he won this contest, 90% off the $100.000 USD prize would be donated to an NGO in the US. Are you interested in art? More specifically, are you into robotic art? Then visit the contest’s site, register, and vote for your favorite pieces. If you voted for Jose’s work, you could also help him choose an NGO where to give the money away: Red Cross, Black Girls Code, Learn2Teach-Teach2Learn… as he lives in Barcelona, he doesn’t really know who he would give the price to in the US. Jose is open to suggestions, but remember he needs your vote first!

Check the whole contest here and Jose’s entry here.

Read more about Jose

If you are interested in reading more about Jose’s project, his daughter, Flor, made a very nice interview and reflection about the role of the artist when there is a machine making the work. This is something I bet many readers were wondering by now: “if the machine paints it, who is the one to be credited, the machine or the person making the machine?” In my opinion, and since I am one of the models, I think we–the models giving away our image–should be also getting some credit, or? (Note: this last sentence was a joke!)

Have you ever wondered what television would look like if transposed onto string and wrapped around another object? If so, you’re not the only one, as shown in this teleknitting sculpture.

Although it’s hard to say where the idea for this piece came from, Moscow-based artist ::vtol::’s teleknitting installation resolves a TV signal down into one pixel by lowering its resolution in eight steps. This process is displayed as video on an Android tablet, and the results are transferred to thread via a unique dying mechanism involving “dye arms.”

This multi-colored string is then wrapped around an object (or objects) rotating on a pedestal, the height of the string being controlled by the TV signal’s volume.

As you can see below, the character Bender from Futurama along with an alligator bearing an accordion act as the items being wrapped in TV-string. You can find more details of this build on ::vtol::’s website, along with a number of his other Arduino-based interactive projects.

This model satellite is both strange and mesmerizing with folding solar panels and a FM transmitter.

Media artist Dmitry Morozov, aka ::vtol::, is back with his latest kinetic sound object, this one resembling a satellite. The Orbitalochka hangs from the ceiling and broadcasts sound via an FM transmitter and a built-in speaker. These noises are based on the position of the satellite in space, and it can even transmit a pre-recorded lecture by Sergev Kasich, who appears to reside in the satellite’s clear bubble.

::vtol:: bases the sound signals on the generative sound processes created with Patchblocks, a modular mini-synth kit. The signals also react to a light intensity sensor, which responds to how the satellite’s position in space changes.

This happens due to mass redistribution as the solar cell changes location. The solar cells operate as sensors and produce CV (control voltage) to change sound program parameters.

Aside from its unusual sounds, what is really interesting about this synthesizer are the solar panels, which autonomously move around via four servo motors. The Orbitalochka is equipped with an Arduino Nano as well.

You can see the apparatus in action below, and read all about it on ::vtol::’s page here.

(Photos: ::vtol::)

Moscow-based hacker artist ::vtol::, a.k.a. Dmitry Morozov, is back with another impressive project. His latest, called 2ch, is an interactive, pyramid-shaped instrument that enables two people to communicate via brain activity.

2ch consists of two NeuroSky EEG interfaces worn by both users, as well as two servo motors with a hall sensor and magnet, a two-channel sound system, a couple screens, and an Arduino. In terms of software, the instrument uses Pure Data and Max/MSP.

As Morozov explains:

The project is an instrument for communication between two people by means of visualising the electroencephalograms of two members, which are translated into sound, mechanical motion, and video images. Two participants should try to synchronize their minds, guided by the pitch of the tone, visualisation and movements of mechanical parts.

You can read more about the brain-to-brain interface on Co.Design, and see how it works below!

Longtime artist Jeff Leonard has built a pair of Arduino-driven CNC painting machines with the motivation to grow his toolbox and expand the kinds of marks he could make simply by hand. By pairing the formal elements of painting with modern-day computing, the Brooklyn-based Maker now has the ability to create things that otherwise would’ve never been possible.

Machine #1 consists of a 5’ x 7’ table and is capable of producing pieces of art up to 4’ x 5’ in size. The device features a variety of tools, including a Beugler pinstriping paint wheel, a brush with a peristaltic pump syringe feed, an airbrush with a five-color paint feed system and five peristaltic pumps from Adafruit, a squeegee, and pencils, pens, markers and other utensils.

In terms of hardware, it’s equipped with three NEMA 23 stepper motors, three Big Easy Drivers, as well as an Arduino Mega and an Uno. There are two servos and five peristaltic pumps on the carriage–the first servo raises and lowers the tool, while the second presses the trigger on the airbrush. An Adafruit motor shield on the Uno controls the pumps, and the AccelStepper library is used for the Big Easy Drivers.

According to Leonard:

I am coding directly into the Arduino. There are many different codes that I call and overlap and use as a painter overlaps techniques and ideas. There is a lot of random built into the code, I don’t know what the end result will be when I start. Typically on any kind of CNC machining the end result has been made in the computer and the machine executes the instructions. I am building a kind of visual synthesizer that I can control in real-time. There are many buttons and potentiometers that I am controlling while the routines are running. I take any marks or accidents that happen and learn how to incorporate them into a painting.

I am learning Processing now and how to incorporate it into the image making.

Machine #2, however, is a bit different. This one is actually a standup XY unit that was made as a concept project. It paints using water on magic paper that becomes black when wet and disappears as it dries, used mainly as a way to practice calligraphy or Chinese brush painting. Not only does it look great, there’s no clean up either!

In terms of tools, the machine has a brush and an airbrush. Two NEMA 17 stepper motors are tasked with the XY motion. There are also three servos–one servo lifts and lowers the armature away from the paper since there is no Z-axis, another controls the angle of the brush, and the third presses the trigger of the airbrush. A peristaltic pump helps to refill the water cup, along with a small fan. The system is powered by an Arduino Uno with an Adafruit Motor Shield using the Adafruit Motor Shield Library v2.

As awesome as it all sounds, you really have to see these gadgets in action and their finished works (many of which can be found on Instagram).

Longtime artist Jeff Leonard has built a pair of Arduino-driven CNC painting machines with the motivation to grow his toolbox and expand the kinds of marks he could make simply by hand. By pairing the formal elements of painting with modern-day computing, the Brooklyn-based Maker now has the ability to create things that otherwise would’ve never been possible.

Machine #1 consists of a 5’ x 7’ table and is capable of producing pieces of art up to 4’ x 5’ in size. The device features a variety of tools, including a Beugler pinstriping paint wheel, a brush with a peristaltic pump syringe feed, an airbrush with a five-color paint feed system and five peristaltic pumps from Adafruit, a squeegee, and pencils, pens, markers and other utensils.

In terms of hardware, it’s equipped with three NEMA 23 stepper motors, three Big Easy Drivers, as well as an Arduino Mega and an Uno. There are two servos and five peristaltic pumps on the carriage–the first servo raises and lowers the tool, while the second presses the trigger on the airbrush. An Adafruit motor shield on the Uno controls the pumps, and the AccelStepper library is used for the Big Easy Drivers.

According to Leonard:

I am coding directly into the Arduino. There are many different codes that I call and overlap and use as a painter overlaps techniques and ideas. There is a lot of random built into the code, I don’t know what the end result will be when I start. Typically on any kind of CNC machining the end result has been made in the computer and the machine executes the instructions. I am building a kind of visual synthesizer that I can control in real-time. There are many buttons and potentiometers that I am controlling while the routines are running. I take any marks or accidents that happen and learn how to incorporate them into a painting.

I am learning Processing now and how to incorporate it into the image making.

Machine #2, however, is a bit different. This one is actually a standup XY unit that was made as a concept project. It paints using water on magic paper that becomes black when wet and disappears as it dries, used mainly as a way to practice calligraphy or Chinese brush painting. Not only does it look great, there’s no clean up either!

In terms of tools, the machine has a brush and an airbrush. Two NEMA 17 stepper motors are tasked with the XY motion. There are also three servos–one servo lifts and lowers the armature away from the paper since there is no Z-axis, another controls the angle of the brush, and the third presses the trigger of the airbrush. A peristaltic pump helps to refill the water cup, along with a small fan. The system is powered by an Arduino Uno with an Adafruit Motor Shield using the Adafruit Motor Shield Library v2.

As awesome as it all sounds, you really have to see these gadgets in action and their finished works (many of which can be found on Instagram).

Mar
27

How close are we to doomsday? A clock is calculating it in real time

Ar(t)duino, arduino, artwork, clock, doomsday, ethernet, installation, shield Commenti disabilitati su How close are we to doomsday? A clock is calculating it in real time 

neurotic armageddon by  tom schofield

 

Tom Schofield created an installation artwork which visualises the ‘Doomsday Clock’, a symbolic clock maintained by an academic journal, ‘The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ which:

conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction–the figurative midnight–and monitors the means humankind could use to obliterate itself. First and foremost, these include nuclear weapons, but they also encompass climate-changing technologies and new developments in the life sciences that could inflict irrevocable harm.

The artwork is composed by two pieces:

  • a small computer programme running on a server which ‘scrapes’ the content of the bulletins home page as often as possible. The software checks the current status of the clock and then sends the results over the internet
  • a small wall clock which receives data and displays the time of the Doomsday Clock on a red LED clock display. This process repeats as fast possible so that the device shows in near-real-time the status of the doomsday clock. 

The project uses an Arduino Uno board and an Arduino Ethernet shield and the clock is controlled with a MAX7219 Led control chip. Tom published  all the code and design for the indicator in his Github code repo  and told us he’s  very interested in the possibility that other people might make their own indicators. So, don’t be shy and give it a try!

 


 



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