Facade Printer: Robotic Muralist Spray-Paints Walls at 5 DPS


A simple robot with one purpose: to paint a programmed pattern on the surface of any building. It works on “inaccessible and uneven surfaces can be used for large scale prints” – covering places even the most skilled mural painters might have difficulty getting to or painting on. Naturally, the program accounts for wind speed, distance and other variables to ensure accuracy.

A two-axis turntable positions the modified paintball gun hooked into the core computer. The paint-filled, gelatin-encased capsules are catapulted at the targeted surface (outlined by laser pointers as a double-check) at over a hundred miles per hour. Needless to say, they burst on impact.

Like a movie-style sniper rifle rifle, the pieces break down into easy-to-carry components weighing under twenty pounds. ?The permanence of the artworks themselves are variable as well – eco-friendly, water-soluble paints can be applied that may disappear in days, or more permanent colors can be used to create long-term murals. One of the more fascinating applications to date is crisis communication: using these mobile machines to create post-disaster signage.

The machine works at up to 25 feet and paints at a rate of 5 paint dots per second, powered by an industrial PC and operated with touchscreen controls. A combination of site and surface photos (via a built-in camera) and the original artwork are combined by the software to create a plan for paint distribution. “The printing software then calculates the driving coordinates with respect to both perspective and ballistic distortion.”

One dot at a time, this robotic facade printer shoots balls of paint at surfaces to create a pattern – art at a distance, like a permanent digital projection.

Of course, it is neat for folks who want a mural but imagine this in the hands of advertisers, marketers and (at the other extreme, perhaps) graffiti artists and street painters.

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