ChalkBot - Digital Manufacture Concept


ChalkBot is a CNC chalk plotting tool that aims to improve the way we interact with our cities and communities by: promoting the adaptability of our public spaces; and establishing a sub-community through interaction with technology. 


ChalkBot is a new concept in digital manufacture and part of an exploration to discover how robots can become a part of our modern society. Initially developed as a tool to aid event planning, the overlay of different software enables a wide variety of professional and amateur applications such as pavement advertising, temporary construction planning, permanent road markings or installation art.



Working Prototype

ChalkBot takes a digital drawing and recreates it in a physical space. The user creates or downloads a vector drawing of an event plan and positions it over a satellite image of the space. ChalkBot then replicates this drawing onto the ground of the physical space.

The current prototype is an amalgamation of existing systems and technologies. Stepper motors and omni directional wheels allow fluid movement over rugged ground, while GPS and a digital compass provide accurate movement. Compressed air and a spray nozzle plots the drawing on the ground with a custom paint solution which I designed to act like chalk, and wash away after a day.





Iteration 1 - Proof of Material 

Electric Lego model with pneumatic pump was used to test and develop the custom chalk paint solution.

Over 100 solutions were tested to achieve a consistency that sprayed smoothly as well as an end result that washed away easily. 



Iteration 2 - Proof of Movement

Arduino powered foam core model with 3D printed omnidirectional wheels was made to test and prove the movement. Spray gun with compressed air cylinder enabled on demand, accurate distribution of the chalk solution.

Multiple wheel arrangements were tested to achieve a versatile movement. 


Iteration 3 - Proof of Concept

High power stepper motors and 4 heavy duty omni directional wheels improved accuracy and ability to navigate uneven surfaces. An enclosure began to explore what the device could look like as a product. 

side copy.jpg

Iteration 4 - Work in Progress

ChalkBot is currently in further development with a Physics and Arts major and funding from Carnegie Mellon University. The latest iteration builds on the iRobot Roomba platform for faster technical development as we begin to prepare to release the project for open source development. 


ChalkBot - Digital Manufacture Concept, 2015
Project: Victoria University (3 months); Carnegie Mellon University Collaboration (current) 
Collaborators: Lina Pulgarin Duque (4th iteration)
Components: Arduino, Omni-directional wheels, Airbrush, Compressed air cylinder
Exhibited: Victoria University SoAD End of Year Exhibition, 2015
Awards: The Henry Armero Memorial Award for Inclusive Creativity