Paint by Robot: Super Awesome Sylvia’s WaterColorBot (Review)

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I received my WaterColorBot (a project from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and Super Awesome Sylvia) a week or so ago and today finally, together with my trusty lab assistant Aaron (age 3) got it together and created our first masterpiece.

If you didn’t guess from the name, WaterColorBot is a robot that paints watercolors. It’s a bit like a 3D-printer in that it’s a robot that layers materials using a motorized 2D-dimensional working surface, except there’s only one layer and the material is ordinary watercolor paint instead of plastics.  The included software was pretty straight-forward (it very easily connected to the WaterColorBot via a USB cable, and presented a circe-1994 level draw app user user interface). There’s an API, but I haven’t checked it out yet. I do with it was controllable over wifi from an iPad, but perhaps someone in the community will take that project on.

Assembly was very easy . It took about 30 minutes and involved a small included hex wrench, couple of small screwdrivers and a pair of scissors. The included instruction booklet detailed every step with close-up photos. Honest, there wasn’t a single step that was confusing or which left any guess work. Well done!

The only glitch was at the end when the things seemed to be completely broken (the watercolor brushed moved about spastically in a 2-inc square area while the software dutifully informed me that it was successfully completing our first painting..hmm). Turned out to be a simple adjustment of the current setting (a tip which was covered in the manual, but appeared at a point in time when Aaron and I felt confident that we didn’t need no stinking manuals anymore.)

Within an hour, WaterColorBot was spitting out drawings (it paints pretty fast!) and causing giggles. Mission accomplished!

Some photos below.

(note: the watercolor below is a combination of human and robot — the middle smudgy part was added by Aaron while I was debugging the current setting)

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