posts tagged with the keyword ‘artrobots’
The Beaver Dam Area Arts Association invited me to take part in a show titled “Beyond Your Imagination” which opens January 6, 2013 and runs through February 10, 2013.
So, you know, between the holidays, work, traveling, and other projects, I had to scramble to get Friday Night Drawbot and the Arc-O-Matic up and running again, with new code, and new parts, and create some art… with the help of robots.
So, consider yourself invited to the Seippel Homestead and Center for the Arts, 1605 North Spring Street, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to view the show. If all goes well I will be there Sunday, January 13, 2013 for a live demonstration of the art robots.
tl;dr: See robot art I created. With robots.
Update! Here’s a video of the bots in action.
Update! Here’s a photo from the show opening, courtesy of Jason Gullickson.
In almost all programming languages there’s a function to generate a random number. The random number can then be used to choose a random word, color, shape, etc. In art things are often random, but in specific ways. When drawing, can you really make your hand “randomly” create a line? Isn’t your subconscious always having some effect on the outcome? Short of feeding electric pulses to your muscles to make your arm movements “truly” random, I’m not convinced. (And no, I’m not ready to send live current to my own arms!)
This idea of introducing randomness to the creation of art is something I’ve been doing for a while now. I didn’t really think about it too much, but now I am.
The Drawbot I built in 2011 brings this idea of randomness into its operation. The patterns I programmed into it had certain criteria (turn left, go forward, turn left, go backward) but the randomness is in the amount of movement. I like this because even though a device that’s mechanical and electronic should be able to repeat the same thing over and over again (and is sometimes expected to) this doesn’t. It’s also assembled with parts that are nowhere near precision in their movement, which adds more randomness to it all.
The Arc-O-Matic follows a similar concept. The current programming forces it to stick to a preset path (drawing arcs) with no randomness introduced into the code, but again, because of the lack of precision parts swinging around an arm with a pen on it, even when it tries to draw the exact same path, there are variations that cause them to be different each time.
Besides the art robots that typically just draw an image, I’ve been experimenting with introducing randomness into the generation of other art, which is starting digital, and will eventually be part of the analog world. I’ve also got a few ideas for interactive digital pieces that will rely on input from the physical world, but still inject randomness into them.
So yeah, that’s sort of what I’ve been working on lately. I should have more to show and talk about in a month or so.
Well, things have been quiet on the Arc-O-Matic front for a while, and there are reasons for that. First, while shooting a video showing how it works, It started to fall apart. This was not unexpected. The whole thing was built in a few hours, and held together with hot glue and gaff tape. Failure was just a matter of time. Second, while it was in my workshop awaiting repair, one of the cats (ChaCha!) managed to knock it off a table onto the concrete floor, which made things worse.
But an important thing happened between the destruction of the Arc-O-Matic and now… I can easily 3D print things!
Here we see the old elbow mechanism, which consists of glue and tape. Pretty sad. It held up fine for Gallery Night, but it’s no permanent solution.
So my first idea for repair was to take some of the weight off the arm via the elbow joint. I thought about buying some ball casters but then realized I could just print my own! Here is one on Thingiverse, and here’s a photo of the one I printed. My initial idea was to just glue this on to the bottom of the micro-servo.
But when you’ve got a 3D printer, why stop there? I ended up designing a part that would hold the micro-servo, and allow the dowel to attach to it. See this photo.
Now, I know some of you still don’t get Google+, so here’s how it works. I posted my progress there, and someone who follows me mentioned a post about Florian Horsch printing a servo coupler on a Ultimaker. My first thought was, “crap, can I print that on my MakerGear Prusa? And yes, I definitely can.
So here’s the result so far. A new elbow. The bottom piece holds the larger dowel and the micro-servo, while the top piece fits snugly onto the business end of the micro-servo and holds the smaller dowel. I’ve not yet attached the ball caster (which uses a marble) in this photo, but I tested attaching it to an earlier version using acetone to weld the plastic together. (I suppose a screw could be another option there.)
I’m hoping to get this thing rebuilt and working before the end of July (hint hint!) and once I’m pleased with all the pieces, I’ll write up some instructions, toss the files on Thingiverse, and hope someone else thinks it’s cool enough to play with.
Anyway, I saw this blog post over a year ago, and made a mental note to explore the idea more, and I did, and the result is the Arc-O-Matic: a robotic drawing arm that makes arcs. Well, that’s basically what it does at this point. See the Arc-O-Matic project page for all the details.
People seem to really like seeing machines that draw, which means I’ll probably keep on exploring the world of art robots.
File Under: FUN.
(Also, if anyone knows who I can talk to at Sharpie about a sponsorship, I’d appreciate it!)