Need help for using robot to create art

In exchange for creating promotional buttons, our team promised the school’s Art Department that we would participate in their Night of the Arts. I am looking for ideas on using a robot to create something artistic. All suggestions are welcome.

Jin Hayashi
Team 2930
Glacier Peak Robotics

I’m wondering if it’s possible to use the robot like a giant plotter. Maybe rig up some kind of spray chalk and program line art for the robot to draw - like a map of the U.S… Then the robot could work in a parking lot to make it’s picture.

If you are really crafty, you can have a robot play a slide whistle.

You hook up an air compressor to the input of the whistle, and have some sort of mechanical device control the slider. Then you could program it to play songs!

You could also have a robot paint some sort of modern art-like piece using paint on it’s wheels or even with it holding a paintbrush. You could even let kids control it!

It would be really neat if you could hook up a compressor to a trumpet, or something with relatively few valves, and use pneumatic actuators to move the valves. Or, more realistically, I like the idea of using a spray-chalk robot. It’s an excuse to learn to make alternative drive systems (Holonomic, mecanum, etc.)

If you’re good with programming, it would be really cool to have an interactive robot that draws. you could have a tablet computer that participants could use to draw something that the robot would then draw on a larger surface (like a table with a physical border to keep the robot from falling off). in my experience, art departments love interactivity, so really anything interactive would be cool.

Our team built mini robots that could hold markers and lower or raise them. Then we did a demonstration at an art gallery where children could come and drive the robots making designs on large sheets of paper.

You could also take wheels from the robots and dip them in paint then roll them across the paper making a trail. We also took a VEX kit and created a mini shooter out of two wheels and a motor, we put paper around the whole thing, turned on the shooter and dribbled paint on the wheels to create a really interesting lined drawing from the paint flying off the wheels.

I have pictures of the paintings and the robots we used if you’d like to see them feel free to pm me.


Really simple ‘drawbot’ idea. Not technically a robot (by my definition), but the general public would classify it as such. There are a few variations on the same idea. Might be a good idea if you have limited time, or they could be a secondary demonstration next to your main attraction.


Thanks for the great ideas. I’ll get them out to our students, so they can decide what they want to do. I wasn’t thinking about smaller robots, but have a personal Mindstorm that could be lent out for the night.

Thanks again,
Jin Hayashi
Team 2930
Glacier Peak Robotics