Watercolor Robot - a 5-axis CNC that paints

Version 1.3

This used to be an old, broken 3D printer. It was donated to MakerClub by the MME department, with the end goal of letting any club member use it as a CNC base for their projects.

To prepare the device for club use, I removed the broken heating element and replaced the microcontroller and motor drivers. The X, Y and Z axes are now controllable by sending commands from a laptop to an Arduino over serial.

As a case study for the club's prototyping workshop, I added two movement axes to the CNC and turned it into a watercolor painting robot. The rotation is controlled by a stepper motor, and the swing is controlled by a servo. I also built a new base out of laser-cut acrylic, and wrote a GUI for telling the robot what to draw.

I am currently working on improving the top section of the robot. In the new design, the brush is attached to the motor via a pair of header pins, so different sizes of brush can be used. Also, the servo motor has been mounted on a slip ring to allow for continuous rotation. The rotation servo motor drives the slip ring with a 1:2 gearing to allow for finer rotation.

Top section, version 1.4

The new mechanical assembly was designed using AutoCAD and OpenSCAD. All code and mechanical designs can be found at: https://github.com/Verkhovskaya/watercolor-robot

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