A canvas painting cnc machine and the software needed to operate it.
- A canvas painting machine for makers and artists.
- A sign making tool for small businesses.
- A canvas painting learning tool for young artists.
- A platform for new canvas painting innovations.
History and Motivation
I began to develop a cnc machine specifically for canvas painting after competing in the 2017 RobotArt.org competition. There were two main reasons why I started - 1) during the competition, I recognized that several advanced software and mechanical innovations were required before cnc painting would be more accessible to a larger, less technical audience and 2) I was eager for a project that would stretch my software and mechanical design skills.
Development has continued on and off for the last two and a half years. I have considered transitioning to many other projects but I always come back to the cnc painter. Its challenges and potential are very exciting.
- Proof of concept. This initial R&D phase will prove out all the canvas painting technologies.
- Market driven redesign. Not all of the proof of concept technologies will be viable for a marketable product. During this R&D, the system design will be refined to better align with market requirements.
- Design for manufacturing. At this point all of the R&D work specific to canvas painting has been completed and the system has been redesigned to better fit market needs. This phase involves further refinements to make the system easier and ultimately cheaper to manufacture.
Proof of Concept Design Principles
For simplicity and practicality the proof of concept prototype adheres to the following design principles:
- No feedback control. This decreases the complexity of the motion controller and software, but increases the complexity of the mechanical design. Without feedback, the mechanics used for painting have to be predictable and repeatable.
- Common off the shelf and rapid prototyping components only. I live in an apartment so don't have immediate access to tools for fabricating parts. I also have a full time job. If the part can't arrive in the mail or be built in less than an hour, I am not interested.
- Unsupervised operation. Would anyone use 3D printers if you had to check them every five minutes? Of course not. It needs to complete a painting without taking up any user bandwidth.
CNC Canvas Painting Technologies
The following technologies are needed to complete the proof of concept phase of the project:
- six degrees of freedom brush position control -> development complete
- generate paint strokes from a bitmap image -> development complete
- automated tool change -> in progress
- automated brush cleaning -> development complete
- automated paint dispensing -> in progress
- automated paint storage -> in progress
- automated paint mixing -> brainstorming