TITLE

Drawing Machines

CATEGORIES

Computer Aided Design, Computational Media, Electronics, Digital Fabrication

DESCRIPTION

In the 1960's, artists like Desmond Paul Henry began to explore the creative potential of drawing robots, experimenting with machine-generated visual effects when "computer art" was an emergent movement.

This body of research returns to the idea of the drawing machine - not as a tool for automation, a utility of industry - but rather as an extension of the pencil, the mark-making tool, the artist's hand.

By experimenting with different ways of employing a robot to create marks on paper - both by building custom apparatuses or by hacking/modifying existing ones - the conversation around human-machine collaboration in art is extended.

This large-format drawing machine uses laser diodes as registrators, allowing a drawing of any scale to be broken into smaller tiles.

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Both custom-built machines (top-left and top-right) and re-purposed computer-numeric-controlled robots (bottom-left and bottom-right) are utilized to pursue this body of research.

A Prusa i3 Mk2 is fit with a low-tech pen holder (above). Here, a custom Grasshopper definition is used to generate G-code for the modified machine.

Similarly, an X-carve CNC router was modified with a custom pen holder.  Blueprints for this modification have been published as an open-source hardware project, and can be found here.

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The modified X-carve was used to produce larger-scale (1000x1000mm) drawings in UV-reactive inks. These were exhibited alongside the Volte-Face series.

Tangential experiments (pictured above) employ a Dobot M0 robotic arm to draw on non-planar surfaces and objects.

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A prototype is currently under development for a drawing rover. This drawing machine utilizes omni-directional wheels, and future versions will receive commands wirelessly to allow for a virtually infinite drawing area.

Another strategy for an infinite-scale drawing machine is this registration plotter. This machine uses lasers are registrators to align subsequent tiles. A custom Grasshopper definition is used to automate the process of breaking a larger vector drawing into tiles.

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