Paintball Printer





Introduction: Paintball Printer

Hi and welcome to my very first instructable.

For my course , we had to create something revolving around the theme of digital streetart. The only requirements were that we had to work with an arduino.

For this project I created a prototype of a paintball printer. For this I wrote a little program which can convert small or (big) images into a series of points for the paintball sentry gun to fire, printing out the image on the wall. The street art angle is that the images are converted to a type of stencil.

Step 1: Gathering All the Parts

For this project you need several parts. I divided them here into 3 categories.


  • Arduino Uno ( or any other arduino)
  • 3 Three standard servo's (no continuous rotation)
  • Three capacitors, also the ones provided with the arduino starter kit. I used the 100µF ones.( )
  • Couple of jumper wires
  • A green and red LED.
  • A couple of resistors ( I used 2.2k Ohms)


  • Couple of MDF sheets. I used 4mm thick ones for the base and the gears.
  • Some woodscrews
  • Some bolts and nuts ( needed to make the base for the gun)
  • Paintball gun. I used a tipmann model (see picture)
  • Laptop/ pc to run the software of course

Step 2: The Software

For this project I used processing in combination with the arduino code.

I used serial communication to send the converted values of the converted images to the arduino.

First I calculated the number of white dots. I do this by scanning the pixels of an image and comparing the brightness of each pixel with a threshold. If the brightness is higher than the threshold, I make that pixel a white dot. I extrapolated and saved the x and y coordinates to an array and I send this array with serial to the arduino. The arduino then converts these x values to pan and tilt values and sets the corresponding servo's in the right position, moving the gun to the correct location. Once an x and y value are successfully placed, the trigger servo triggers and so on.

Below are my processing sketch and my arduino code. (There still are a lot places the code can be improved but It seemed fine for me).

The software only works for images which are 15 x 15 for now.

Step 3: The Base for the Gun

For the gun we need to build a base.

For the pan unit I lasercut some gears out of some sheets of MDF (4mm thick) and attached the pan servo like this


The pdf for the lasercut I used is attached.

For the tilt part of the base I used a piece of plywood 8.5cm wide and 42 cm high. I drilled a hole into the piece and fitted the tilt servo in like shown in the picture

I would suggest you would check for a better guide.

Step 4: Finished Product

And here is the finished product!



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    4 Discussions

    Can yo show us what a print looks like when you're done? Assuming that the paintballs would have a certain amount of splatter, it could make for a really interesting print. I'd really like to see a copy of what it looks like.

    Great concept. I'd also love to see an example image. How long does it take to complete a "print"?

    Wicked cool. Would really like to see it in action, or at least an example of the artwork it produces. Great concept!

    Whoa, this looks really neat! Do you have any photos of any pictures you created with this? I'd love to see how they look!