Picture of Paint Pulse: Digital Water Marbling
Main Art.JPG

Paint Pulse is a project which seeks to build upon the water marbling crafts of Ebru and Suminagashi with digital behavioral additions. The idea is to design intricate, flowing patterns of paint directly on the surface of water which you can capture on the surface of paper. Expert crafters can hold an intricate mastery over the art and produce incredible results.  Our goal was to add additional digital elements to the craft which would afford new means of expression without fundamentally altering the interaction. Thus experts would be able to retain their mastery while exploring new possibilities for the art.

This was made as part of the digital craft research we do in our project studio as part of the Digital World and Image Group by Colton Spross, Andrew Quitmeyer, and Adam Rafinski. In our lab we explore modes of digital intervention in performance, space, and craft in order to create novel interactions between people and their environments.

This thorough instructable will give you the knowledge necessary to make your own digital ebru art-studio, and will as well teach you many different skills for rapid prototyping and physical computing.
Things you will get to learn in this instructable include:
  • Make cheap, powerful electromagnets
  • How to make magnetic, floating paint
  • How to salvage a thin, gorgeous backlight
  • How to vacuum-form your own paint-resistant tray
  • Programming Arduinos connected to H-Bridges (Build your own motor controllers for the electromagnets)
  • Hack ethernet jacks and cables for routing numerous signals over long, hard-wired distances

ynze2 years ago
What a great project! Congrats with your Grand Prize!! Well deserved.
blorgggg (author)  ynze2 years ago
Wow I can't believe I won! This is SO SUPER COOL!
blorgggg (author)  ihatemayonnaise2 years ago

-"We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site."

If you don't want to be positive, you could at least be constructive (or at least a bit more long-winded to tell me about what the moronic parts are).
Tomdf2 years ago
I don't have the word to express how awesome this is!

Let me see if I understand how this works: The cups of water act a buttons allowing you to select different signals to be sent to the styluses, correct? What kind of signals are you sending? How does heartbeat affect the signal?

This makes me want to experiment with magnetic paint driven by music, or pulsed with some kind of actual data. Or how about using a massive magnet; set all the paint up first, turn the magnet on and watch the paint morph to fit the huge field.

So inspiring, this really got my head spinning :D
blorgggg (author)  Tomdf2 years ago
Each of the buttons is connected to a resistor and an analogue input. The actual nails on the magnets are electrified with 5V. When the nail gets dipped in a particular bucket, it raises the signal on the analog input, and we know which cup was selected.

The Pulse sensor is exterior to this, and when it receives a steady heartbeat, can trigger the system into following the hearbeat mode!

Yeah magnetic goo is wonderful and fun to play with!
aje1272 years ago
This is really cool but what average joe can pull this off at home?
blorgggg (author)  aje1272 years ago
Here's the average joe version:

- Get a bucket, fill with water
- Buy some suminagashi inks (15 $)
- Buy an arduino (20$)
-Buy some ferrofluid (15$)

-get some nails and wrap with wire

upload the code and don't worry about the extra aesthetic stuff (lights, LEDs, 3D printed comb holder), just plug your electromagnet in and start playing with the paint!

Maybe in the future the extra tech we employed will be considered banal!
Thank you for both versions, this has me thinking of those beautiful old books with patterns like these inside the covers.
rkrishnan72 years ago
Fabulous marriage of art and engineering!

You may be able to salvage pre-wound electromagnets from old relays (not the kind that are fully enclosed).
agis682 years ago
expensive machinery for one minute art!!!!...the results are greate....
Thrasym2 years ago
I really like the end results but wow, taking the difficult path through the "squirt some different types of paint in the water and drop the paper on top" woods. I do notice the finer details though.
blorgggg (author)  Thrasym2 years ago
Yeah trying to reverse engineer this whole field of "Chemistry" was very time consuming (and hard on the lungs at time). We had to go through a WHOLE bunch of failures until we found a combo that worked!