Robot-Printed Facades

Before, we already introduced the Nike Chalkbot used to add supporting and commercial texts to the streets during the Tour de France. Here’s a new public domain printing installation, this time made for vertical surfaces.

Facadeprinter, Westhafen, Berlin
The Facadeprinter is a simple, software controlled robot. It consists of a two-axis turntable and a print head (paintball machine) which is powered by compressed air. This piece of ink-jet artillery is an German invention supported by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The project is about inventing a new print media. It’s an ink-jet printer in architectonical dimensions. The printer shoots the picture dot by dot from a remote distance on a selected surface. Particularly inaccessible, format-less and uneven surfaces thereby can be printed. Graphic design becomes architecture.

The website explains how it all works:

“The device is operated through a touchscreen. Vector or pixel graphics can be loaded from the USB ports. With help of a build in camera the user can take a photo from the target area and then overlap it with a print preview. Therefore changes to alignment and scalings can be done easily. Afterwards the processor of the build in computer calculates the move in consideration of perspective distortion and the flight path of the balls. The distance to the wall is measured by an external infrared meter and then put in manually.”

The Facadeprinter is yet not available to buy, but it can be booked (tip for New Years Eve). And I believe those guys saying that the printing process itself is fun. Besides that, the Facadeprinter makes use of comparatively cheap large-scale printing technology. It looks to be perfect for large scale communication in the urban realm. Therefore it can be easily used for street marketing purposes. The color dots have a diameter of 4-7 centimeters. The maximal print distance is 15 meters and the maximal print height is 8 meters.