Musical Robotic Tattoo Machine

Music can touch you deeply and leave its mark.

I created a robot tattoo machine that can play music and tattoo skin. This is a far more literal version of art leaving its mark on you. The song you hear is actually coming from the motors of the machine as they make different pitches when traveling at different speeds.

I used an Arduino Uno flashed with grbl and a cnc stepper driver shield for the rains of this build.

Three linear stages I got from a dumpster at MIT make up the motion control hardware.

I then attached a tattoo gun to the z-axis of the machine.

Once the machine was all configured, it was time to create the g-code for the music and tattoo design.

I found a Midi file for the song I wanted and used audacity to select the individual tracks I thought would sound good coming from the stepper motors. I then ran it through a midi to gcode converter I found online.

I then tested and refined my choice of midi tracks based on what sounded good.

To create the g-code path for the tattoo designs, I used inkscape to create an SVG file from any picture I found online. After that, I used the object to path tool and exported the path to gcode using the 3D cnc plotter export dialogue.

I combined the music path with the tattoo path in a text editor and opened it up in the Universal G-code Sender serial interface with grbl.

I homed the machine, set its zeros and let it play!

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