After receiving the brief I was pretty unsure on where to take it and how to create project I’d enjoy. That night whilst casually draining my life on FaceTube or something I came across an article on a New York based artist called Holton Rower, who created his artwork through pouring paint, sounds easy right. After some time looking into his work and staring at his pieces (seen below) I decided on linking this with my Physical Computing project, to create similar looking artwork by using the same technique, but this time roboticly.
From here I began to concept ideas with the Arduino and robotic knowledge I’d accumulated over the past weeks, trying to include components such as servos, motors, POTs and sensors.
Initial ideas involved a circular plate that’d rotate with the different colours of paint on, this then evolved to a straight plate that’d move horizontally to choose between paints, which would use a rack an pinion powered using a geared motor to move.
To pour the paint a different rack and pinion would move forwards and back behind it to push the cup over,but this lead to an issue with pulling the paint cup back to an upright position. The solution… move the R & P infront of the cup and make it move vertically to raise and lower the cup.
Moving forward I thought the best way to develop and progress the prototype would be to initialise its construction . I began by building the rig and working out where certain parts would go, such as the paint cups and R&Ps.
In the mean time I was getting together my components, I ended up buying some geared motors, as much as I’d like to say it was for their torque output and low RPM it was more for their low cost and free shipping… Some switches and ofcourse the big red button.
Here the big red button was set up to just switch LED lights, I planned to use it to switch the whole product on and off but this never amounted and it was just used to initiate natural disasters in far away places (nothing)…
To move the Rack & Pinions (2x) two way switches were bought to control which way they move, this would be simple and obvious how to use to the user. They’d allow the motor to move both CW and ACW using H Bridges, which were sort of taught to us earlier on.
With the building coming together parts and code were tested loosely before I committed to fixing them in position.
One final problem that arose was how to make the paint pour onto the same point all the time, after some thinking and sketching funnels were bought to mount to the rig.
Finally all that was left was testing, which began with loading the cups with weights (to help them tip), then water and finally paint. The paint used was slightly watered down acrylic so that it wasn’t too thick that it wouldn’t move, neither too thin that it’d just run of the tower it’d be poured onto.
Here’s a few pictures of the first piece being made and its outcome, this was poured onto a foam core tower, the second piece was poured onto a wooden tower.
Overall I’m fairly happy with the final outcome, in essence it for filled my initial idea and its ability to create completely unique and individual art pieces for anyone who wants to use it is completely true and more than possible. With regards to teaching me about physical computing it probably wasn’t the most demanding nor technologically advanced, but for someone with almost no interest in PC this project has helped me enjoy it and has opened the door for future projects.
If I were to re-do this project I’d still like to keep it different and quirky by staying away from the typical projects you see by the dozen on sites such as instructables etc, but advancements in coding and addition of more moving parts controlled by the user would defiantly be on the list. Neither would I be swayed to buy cheap and cheerful components by their low price!
Thanks for reading,