Paintball graffitti

Paintball as a large format printer? That’s exactly what facade printer is. A paintball gun was mounted with two controllable axes of movement. A computer reads in the image data and prints it out by shooting paintballs to form a dot-matrix display. There’s a couple of wins here, the paintball paint can be washed off, and this will work on coarse or uneven display medium. Check out a video of the printing process after the break.

If you already built your own paintball turret, give the other guys and chance and hack it to print instead of gunning down unsuspecting adversaries.

[Thanks Jollygreengiant]


  1. Colecoman1982 says:

    On the building next to the one depicted at the top of the summary, he should draw a portrait of Thomas Hobbes.

  2. thoughtstrings says:


    Nice, that’s funny.

  3. andrew says:

    Hmm.. I wonder what costs more: paying people to clean up graffitti or subsidizing the cost of water-soluble spray paint so that it is available for less than other kinds of spray paint?

  4. Mudo says:

    What about stroboscopic images green/red and 3D graffiti?



  5. mrgoogfan says:

    e p i c

  6. This technology has a lot of potential. I would like to see it used on a much more complex image.

  7. Hirudinea says:

    If you planned the loading of your ammunition you could do the pictures in colour.

  8. Saragon says:

    @Hirudinea I was just thinking that myself. For that matter, you *might* be able to do it with just the four print colors (CYMK). I don’t know how it’d work with opaque media but from a distance, it might be that the brain would “fill in” the colors that you want.

  9. Saragon says:

    @Hirudinea Actually, yeah. If you use a vertical stick feed with the other end attached to some sort of device that loaded the balls in the proper order automatically, you could *theoretically* do the color calculations on the fly. Way beyond what I could do, though.

  10. EdZ says:

    All you need to know is how many paintballs of each colour you will need in total, then dump them all into the hopper at random, in any order. Use a simple colour sensor in the feed to determine the colour of the paintball about to be chambered. Have the gun move to the correct position for the next pixel of that colour. The control software becomes more complicated, but you don’t need to try and build a complicated hardware multi-feed that doesn’t mangle paintballs.

  11. Joe Larson says:

    Need to hook it up to shoot Cyan, Magenta and Yellow paintballs to get full color prints.

  12. CloudHackIX says:

    The Mythbusters made an RC paintball robot that could do about the same thing. It was made to help illustrate serial vs parallel GPU design at an NVidia event: (Watch through for the Monalisa ;-)

  13. Whatnot says:

    So from the video I guess one picture takes about 5 hours? Bit extreme in my view, who has the patience?

  14. Joe Larson says:

    Silly mean, didn’t read the previous comments. Hah.

    I would think you’d need 3/4 different reservoirs for CYM(K) and a system to load the right one at the right time, then offset the colors like an old CRT TV does so they don’t all hit in the exact same place and overlap each other, particularly bad with yellow.

    At first I was thinking you wouldn’t have the gradation you’d need since each dot is either there or not, but considering that just doing a sparser dot pattern is what you’ve done already there, at a distance it would probably work.

    One way to try it, with the existing system, is make 3 images each designed to be the color of the final picture and then just shoot them on top of each other. I don’t know whether you’d want Yellow first or last. That would be the experimental phase. But it could work.

  15. Jon Greco says:

    WOW!! This is B.A.

  16. oldschooller says:

    So far beyond cool!!! Have you had any probs compensating for image distortion angle (from turret) to the top, sides, etc relative to distance from the wall and turret height from the ground? with regard to scale? There could poss be some commercial value too….

  17. Wes says:

    Well, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that only one out of three people know how to spell “graffiti.”

  18. dirk says:


  19. Scott says:

    For the people thinking coloring using CYMK would work, I don’t think it would. That’s assuming the paint would mix, which I’m fairly sure wouldn’t, or would look pretty horrible. If you wanted colors, you’d have to have the actual color instead of trying to mix it.

  20. From the website:

    “So colours can be chosen which bleach out within a few hours or remains visible for several moths.”

    Lucky moths…

  21. ss says:


    Go take a close look at the comics in your Sunday paper. The colors don’t have to mix on the medium, our eyes take care of that.

  22. Harvie.CZ says:

    2ss: haha.
    OR just take a close look to hackaday logo on your monitor…

  23. ss says:

    :-P Fair enough. I guess with all the talk about CMYK, my head was stuck in print.

  24. Frogz says:

    this blows the mythbusters away
    their robot was slow, required calibration and wasnt very accurate

  25. jeditalian says:

    lol that place looks like a real life counterstrike.
    on a non-windy day you could use this to get free advertising space on billboards! lol without the climbing and paint cans.
    semi-off-topic: how possible would it be to make paintball ammunition that contains HF instead of paint? and by HF i mean the lighter than air, mix it with water you have glass-dissolving acid

  26. Dude says:

    Now THAT was pretty cool.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,725 other followers