After over 30 revisions, Evil Mad Science’s WaterColorBot has gone into production, meaning its design–at least for this production run–has been finalized. That’s a quick and easy way of expressing what must have been a difficult decision. Mechanical builds are especially difficult to finalize because there are always ways to tinker with motor speeds and the design of sub-assemblies. At what point do you decide to be done?
I had a fascinating conversation with EMSL’s Windell Oskay at Maker Faire about the realities of finalizing the design. One area that was a particular difficulty was the handling of the brush. WaterColorBot uses regular Crayola paints and the standard brush that comes with the set, which means that they’re essentially toy brushes, not serious artistic tools. People who use CNC tools expect more precision than what a cheap kid’s brush can deliver. Nevertheless, the bot features a new and improved brush lift mechanism that uses a micro servo to raise and lower the brush so it can be dipped into the water or the paint.
A collaboration between EMSL and Super Awesome Sylvia, the WaterColorBot got a boost by way of a successful Kickstarter campaign, not to mention being featured in the White House Science Fair. Its motors are controlled by a Schmalzhaus EBB motor control board with a built-in PIC microcontroller (the same board the powers EMSL’s EggBot), and the WaterColorBot connects to a computer via USB and gets its instructions from Inkscape via a plugin.
The WaterColorBot is available for pre-order and costs $295.