Robo Painter Full Color Art Replication

The robotic painter has been upgraded with a water pump and water brush, faster 84 MHz Arm Cortex-M3 (up from 16 MHz), and minor software improvements. It can now replicate color mixing and reproduce full color paintings, and on top of all that it can do it faster than the original artist (because it skips lulls in movement).

Improvements and Issues

The main improvement is the water pump that aides in mixing colors and feeding water on demand without additional complex movements. The artist simply clicks a button on the Wacom pen to flush water drop by drop, or continuously.

The final remaining problem with the current version of the robot is that the stepper motor skips steps if the artist moves too fast, causing the rig to exceed the maximum holding force of the stepper motor. The problem is pronounced on the Y axis because of the extra load on the Y axis rig, resulting in a larger force from a massive acceleration shift (you’ll see in the beginning of the video a large Y axis shift occurs). Currently only reversing directions causes a large enough force to skip steps. I got around the problem by replacing the artist with a slower moving one who avoided changing directions quickly. The permanent solution is to add in velocity ramping when changing direction in each axis. With this fixed the artist should be able to go as fast as they want, without worry of skipping steps.

Here is the first result where we had issues with the Y axis shifting (note that the painting was run multiple times on the same paper to make sure the issue was consistent):

Robo painter artwork compared to human artist
The artwork here is done by Susan Lin. You can buy her watercolor prints and canvas prints at Susan’s shop.

The Result
See if you can tell, with this abstract art piece, which one is the robotic replica and which one is the artist original:

Robotically replicated flower painting

Watch It In Action

The video below shows the successful run of the machine by Veronica Tong, who works at Japanese-inspired beauty brand TATCHA. You can check out her watercolor paintings on Instagram.

This time I downloaded a trial of Final Cut Pro (I edited the last one on an iPhone!) so that you can see the original painting and Robo Painter side by side! Technology!

I should also mention that research into this robot was inspired by Joshua Schachter attempting to steal a customer from with his robot. Since we didn’t offer robots yet, and here was potentially at least one actual customer, I thought I’d beat him to the punch by dropping everything and building a robot in 2 weeks. Seriously though his robot is awesome as he built it with custom parts whereas I just modified a kit.

Want to try the Robo Painter or produce limited edition replicas?

Send an email to If you’re in SF, you can come try it in person, otherwise, we can work out a remote control interface.

The robo painter is now officially good enough to produce a series of limited edition replicas for you to sell (at exhorbitant prices of course) on your art store on A MANUFACTORY. We will handle selling and shipping. All you’ll have to do is paint on a Wacom tablet! We’re offering production on the robot for free (only materials costs) for the first 10 artists!

Other projects:

Robo Painter (original black and white test)

Photo to painting in any style via artificial neural networks interactive demo

Obligatory Ad

If you’re interested in getting a human painted oil painting, check out our pet portraits, portrait paintings, landscape paintings, and baby portraits.