One of the most fun ways to learn robotics is by creating art with a robotic arm. I designed a simple, low-cost drawing end-effector that can hold pens, pencils, markers, and brushes on a sliding stage. The stage can slide in such a way that the robot cannot exert a downward force on the drawing surface, which would lead to inconsistent line weights or the breaking of the drawing tools.

The linework that was drawn was inspired by the Instagram artist James Nolan Gandy. I used Grasshopper to create the linework and KUKA|prc to convert the linework to instructions for HAL, our KUKA KR-60 robot.

I chose to use a white Jelly Roll gel pen on a dark blue Canson board to invoke a retro blueprint aesthetic. The finished drawing is proudly hanging in the Technology Lab in the basement of Sutton Hall at the University of Texas School of Architecture.