Janksy Robot Paints Murals One Dot At A Time

[Stuff Made Here] has a new shop, with a huge blank wall. A blank white wall just wouldn’t do, so rather than paint the wall himself, he designed a robot to do it for him. (Video, embedded below.)

The result is Janksy. A huge machine made of metal, wood, and 3D printed parts. Janksy is an ingenious design in that it has two sets of X and Y axis.  A large, slow-moving system of rails and cables positions the robot roughly in the right area of the wall. From there a much smaller, but faster and more precise motion system makes the final moves.

The “business end” of Janksy is of course a paint sprayer; in this case a Harbor Freight model. The medium of choice is acrylic paint, as Janksy will be painting for several days, and didn’t want to gas himself with the volatile solvents of more traditional paints.

Janksy mainly sprays dots of paint. Up close you’ll only see the dots, but step back a bit and a full image takes shape. It’s a technique called Pointillism, which puts Janksy in the company of artists like Georges Seurat and
Vincent van Gogh.

While human artists mix colors to produce the hue they want, robots can’t easily do that. [Stuff Made Here] spends quite a bit of time explaining basic color theory, and how dots of cyan, magenta, and yellow will combine in the eye to produce colors – much the way a monitor uses pixels of red, green, and blue light.

After all this work, you might be wondering what [Stuff Made Here] would want on his wall. Well, let’s just say that he loves his wife, even though his pranks on here often elicit an exasperated glare. Watch the video after the break for the full story.

You don’t have to build a huge drawing robot though – we’ve seen some great plotters on a much smaller scale, including one that will play tic-tac-toe.

22 thoughts on “Janksy Robot Paints Murals One Dot At A Time

  1. As much as I love this as an idea, he seems to do some insane over-engineering / over-complexity in certain areas and still end up with a less than brilliant result given the resources he clearly has at his disposal.

    1. It’s always easy in hindsight. Yeah, many times it could be better, but it’s not like he made several giant painting robots and there are no simple tutorials for such robots made cheaply. Maybe there are some such projects, but they are custom made and not good match for his skills/tools/goals. Also remember, that it’s a one-off project.

      1. That’s the thing though – there have been numerous similar robots going back years, probably even decades, indeed at least one featured here on HaD using the “two ropes” system which would have been super-simple and likely worked well with the motion tracking cameras he pulled out of his hat.

      1. Sure – just give me 5 minutes to amass a huge youtube following, a warehouse-sized workshop full of expensive machine tools and enough spare time & money to spend on a project of no practical use to me. /s

        Seriously though – this is HaD, we’re here for the hacks / engineering / clever ideas & solutions, so I don’t think a bit of gentle criticism of a highly complex build / discussion of potential alternative solutions is out of bounds.

        There’s been more than one wall-sized / large-format robot posted here over the years – routers, doodlers, spray painters, cutters, massive 3D printers etc. so it’s not like there aren’t some other ways of doing this with fewer resources / simpler mechanisms that are perhaps worthy of discussion when a post like this comes around.

    2. I knew a guy in Silicon Valley who basically made this in the 1980’s but with more of an inkjet printer resolution. He wound up selling them to people like the car makers who wanted to render full size car designs and color schemes. His name is Bill Something I can’t recall. I think it used a 68K.

  2. > It’s a technique called Pointillism, which puts Janksy in the company of artists like Georges Seurat and
    Vincent van Gogh.

    Pointillism is mostly coloured random dots. Dots in grids of one color is called “halftoning”.

  3. Brilliant. I love this guy. The explanation of CMYK, color adding etc. is well done. As usual he spends 100 hours engineering and ˈiteratively solving problems, whereas I would have paid a sign painter for eight hours work and learned nothing.

  4. I thought the cable gantry with doubled, diagonal wires would add a lot of stability. But also a lot of complexity and if you can conpensate adequately in software witht the motion tracker, then why bother.

  5. What’s with this post being the only entry in several different series? One of them (Drawdio) doesn’t even seem relevant, though I haven’t watched the video yet—maybe he turned the painting process into music somehow. Another (Janksy) will probably never get a second entry, unless he’s announced that he wants to build on this project somehow.

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