Combining Art & Technology: The Painting Robot

Our Latest project, dubbed ‘Pip3tt3’, involved creating a robot that takes virtual data and represents it in the physical world, using a Raspberry Pi and/or Arduino

In this instance, three of us came together to create three different methods – and a different colour for each; Blue for tweets to #pipblue on Twitter (Meg’s part), Green for social media notification noises (Jack’s part), and purple for live webpage hits (My part).


My part of the ‘robot’ used live web hits on my server web page to tell the robot to paint. To do this, I used a Raspberry Pi with Apache and PHP installed. I used a backwards SSH tunnel from my server that activated when a script was run on my Pi.


The first prototype using a relay switch and small solenoid – which turned out to be too small!

To get the messages from point A to point B I used Beanstalk – which has the capabilities to take on multiple ‘jobs’, so it could deliver messages to multiple different Arduinos, however, in this case, it only needs to tell one to switch on!

pi gotjob

Using Beanstalk to send jobs via the Raspberry Pi.

The Arduino part, however, uses the same code as the other 3 parts of the robot. It takes an input, in this case ‘on’, which tells it to use the attached solenoid to release some paint.


The wiring of the robot is actually quite simple – as seen above – it uses one 9v battery, a relay switch, and a 12v 1kg force solenoid (smaller ones were too weak to squeeze the pipette!). It is housed neatly inside a wooden box with a 3D printed holder for the pipettes.


pi cam

The Pi Camera, which we used to record the painting process.


First Tester painting created by the robot


Final painting created by the robot during presentation


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