Project Convert To Paint

create canvas paintings from digital images using a standard three axis cnc machine

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A hacked together method for creating canvas paintings from bitmap images on a standard three axis cnc machine. All project content was originally developed as part of the 2017 competition. Content is being moved to because of the uncertain future of the site.The next generation of this effort to develop a cnc canvas painting machine is the If Then Paint project -

See the "Project Convert to Paint" .pdf document in the files section of this project for documentation on the process used convert bitmap images to canvas paintings and the universal artist tool chucks.

The project logs include examples of what is possible with the cnc painting process.


Software is released according to GNU LGPL 3.0 -

svg+xml - 1.04 MB - 09/07/2019 at 19:27


step - 2.94 MB - 09/07/2019 at 19:27


step - 593.41 kB - 09/07/2019 at 19:27


svg+xml - 858.48 kB - 09/07/2019 at 19:27


Project Convert to Paint.pdf

In no particular order, this document describes parts of the project that you may find useful for your own robotic art project.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 309.18 kB - 09/07/2019 at 19:17


  • Panda Cat Painting

    John Opsahl09/07/2019 at 20:07 0 comments

    Painting of the family cat "Panda". Acrylic on paper. One brush. Four feature layers. 3.5 hour paint time. The reason for Panda's alert stance in the base image is unclear. Perhaps someone had just opened a can of cat food.

  • Kansas City Hair Curlers

    John Opsahl09/07/2019 at 20:02 0 comments

    Painting of the Kansas City Convention Center "Sky Stations." Acrylic on paper. Two brushes. Three feature layers. 3.5 hour paint time. The first acrylic painting.

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Watercolor

    John Opsahl09/07/2019 at 19:53 0 comments

    Tribute to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City. Watercolor on paper. Two brushes. Three features layer. Two hour painting time.

  • Bike

    John Opsahl09/07/2019 at 19:46 0 comments

    Tempera on paper. One brush. One feature layer. 5 minute paint time. The first painting.

  • Blue Eye Watercolor

    John Opsahl09/07/2019 at 19:36 0 comments

    Watercolor on paper. One brush. Eight feature layers - 2 water paint, 2 watercolor paint, 4 watercolor blend. 30 minute paint time. Each feature layer used a different combination of the brush symmetry, brush angle offset, and max paint distance parameters. The tool paths for this painting were drawn manually in a vector image manipulation program. This painting is a prime example of the brush techniques possible when using a fourth axis tool chuck.

View all 5 project logs

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Dan Maloney wrote 09/09/2019 at 19:01 point

I don't know art, but I know what I like, and I like these paintings! Especially that watercolor - surprised at how - human? - the brushwork looks. The Panda portrait is cool too.

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Opsahl wrote 09/10/2019 at 01:53 point

Thanks Dan. It was a lot of fun making the paintings and videos. The paint stroke paths for the watercolor were created using a combination of automated and manual operations. The Panda cat painting was created using an almost completely automated image to paint stroke process.

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