Introduction: Basic Art-bot Painting and Frame Made From Reclaimed Metal -

The following is a simple guide for a basic project that will allow you to reuse a piece of old equipment to create an excellent and unique frame for a work of art.

In this case, I have used the solo cup art robot from another Instructable to create a one of a kind piece that will be framed in metal tube arches reclaimed from an old greenhouse. If you would like to build your own "Solo cup art robot" please visit the link below.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies-

For this project you will need

Solo cup art robot (or any automaton you wish)

Two metal arches ( this part is reclaimed from one of those cheap $30 greenhouses with the wire shelves and plastic slip cover you see on the end caps at various hardware stores; this is one way to use some of the metal left over once the cover is too worn and opaque to be useful anymore.)

Black foam board (available at most craft stores)

Four oil paint markers (If using different colors make sure they will show on black) I used--yellow, turquoise, orange, and hot pink.

Duck Tape (or any brand of duct tape with variant colors and designs. This is part of the appeal of the frame.) I used purple in this instance.

Scissors (sharp enough to cut through the thick foam board without fouling up)

Utility Knife ( to assist in fine cutting and cut where it would be difficult to use

Two 12" long 1/8" wide zip ties ( this can vary. They will be used to create a "hook" to help support the framed work)

Items to create a border around the foam board so that the art robot (or automaton) cannot escape its work space (can be anything that will stop the robot from leaving the foam board.)

Step 2: Create Your "Solo Cup Art Bot" Work-

  • Change out the current pens if reusing a previously built art bot. There is no right or wrong way to place your pens unless using like colors in pairs ( such as two yellow and two hot pink)--in which case-- you will want to offset them (yellow, pink, yellow, pink).
  • Find a good location to set your black foam board down. Build a barrier around the board ( or area intended to be the working area of the board) using your chosen material. I used my washing machine and a few 2x4's that I had laying around). Once you have a secure area you may unleash the beast...I mean bot; making sure to take off its muzzle......sorry-- be sure to remove the caps from the markers.
  • Allow your art bot to roam until you are satisfied with the work it has done. I had to reset my bot a couple of times during the process to add color to untouched portions of the work as well as to remove it from corners etc.If you have to help your bot out a little its OK.
  • Once satisfied, power down the bot and recap your markers. Set your work aside and clean your workspace before moving on to the next portion of this project-- the frame.

Step 3: Assemble Your Frame -

This is pretty simple:

  • The arches must be set so that they form a rudimentary diamond shape (Bottom open tube to bottom open tube)
  • Pull about one foot of Duck tape from the roll and use it to carefully wrap around the seam where the two pieces meet. Make sure the tape remains tight and that you do notcreate any creases or defects in the tape as you work.
  • Repeat step two on the opposite side.

Step 4: Isolate the Area to Be Framed-

  • Lay the completed frame over the portion of the black foam board that has the most interesting part of the robots expression of it's non-soul. My robot is an abstract artist--but, perhaps, you could coerce (a.k.a program) yours for more involved works; the machines of more advanced users are capable of painting the warmest of sunrises with cold precision-
  • Pull about six to eight inches of tape from the roll and cut in in half vertically. Use one piece per side to secure the frame to the portion of the work that you want to display. You will be peeling and discarding this tape eventually, so make sure to put the tape over the wrap that you created to seam the two arches together. Doing this will hopefully ensure that the tape will not leave residue on the metal frame.

Step 5: Trim Off All Remaining Foam Board-

***Step preview: You should note that in step 6 you will be asked to tape along the edge of the work to secure it to the frame. The foam board will mark a seam that will be covered by your tape. The tape will go half way down the side of the metal frame under the foam board. Ideally, you want to cut the foam at the edge of the frame as close to what would be the top of the cylinder of the frame.

Put simply- You want as much of the board over the frame as you can get without reaching a point where it would be visible once it's hanging on the wall. ***

For now;

-Use extra caution during the next step-

A) You don't want to cut yourself: When using the box knife be sure that you cut away from yourself (or anyone else) and that you never force a blade through the material. Make sure you have a fresh sharp blade so that it cuts clean and smooth.

B) You don't want to rush your cuts and end up with rough, uneven, edges: The scissors can be used at different angles to "open" areas for easier access; this will help reduce binding your scissors in the material. A scouring method can be used with the utility knife to ensure smooth edges and reduced "fouling" of the blade.

  • Cut out a small portion around the side of the frame that is not taped.
  • Once you have removed the excess board from the area, take a small 3" to 4" piece of tape and-- just like the sides-- cut it in half vertically. Use one piece per side to secure the top and bottom sides of the frame as you reach them. This will help to keep the frame from moving around too much as you remove the excess from the rest of the work.
  • Take your time...........
  • Carefully work your way around the outer perimeter of the frame--making sure to be careful and not move the frame around on the art- or cut anyone.Check the amount of material that is remaining with each side, slowly working your way around. You can always remove more if you need to.

Step 6: Tape Along the Edge to Secure Work to the Frame-

Start with the sides:

  • Cut a piece of tape that will extend the length of the side without reaching the curved side.
  • Apply the tape so that half of the width of the tape is over the black foam board and half extends to about the middle of the frame side (refer to image 3). This will ensure that the picture is secure without showing too much of the tape once the completed work is hanging from the wall.

*The tape is part of the appeal but should not draw attention from the robot art.

  • Repeat bullet 2 on all sides so that the remaining corners are the only portion of the board not taped to the frame.
  • Cut a small length of tape-- long enough to be applied around the untapped corners (1 piece of tape per side) -- and carefully apply it around the corner of the frame making sure that it is at the same level as the side pieces (image 4) . Pull the tape tight as you apply it to avoid creasing and air pockets. Do not fold down the top of the tape.
  • Once the tape is applied, cut "relief cuts" along the top , unfixed portion of the tape (image 4). Relief cuts will help create a cleaner finished tape job by allowing the tape to "round the corner" more easily. Once your relief cuts are made, carefully pull the outside tabs down. You want to fold them down tight and angled toward the corner. In this method (outside two, inner two, then center) you can pull the individual tabs tighter, secure each layer down, and create a more finished look once the center tab is pulled down over the remaining gap in tape.
  • Repeat on opposite side.

Step 7: Make a Zip Tie Hook-

First decide which end of your framed work is to be the top-

Once your sure of the orientation, grab two zip ties from your pack.

  • The first zip tie is the primary hook support. Create a small hoop in the tie by ratcheting it through the locking mechanism until you have a circle about the size of a nickle.
  • The long extension will be where the tape is applied to secure the hook assembly to the framed art. you want the top of your hoop to be as close to the center of the top arch as you can get it; otherwise your art will not hang properly.
  • When you get it centered, tape the extended portion of the tie to the back of the artwork and squeeze the hoop down so that it does not take up as much space (image 2)
  • loop your second sip tie through the hoop and ratchet it down to about dime size. Cut the excess material (the extension) from this piece--it is not needed (image 4).

Step 8: Finished-

You are finished. If you followed all of the steps you should have framed piece of robot art that will trigger some sort of simulated emotional response in the empathy chip of any automaton...except for the ones that are jerks-

Thank you for reading my Instructable. I hope that you enjoyed this project!!!


Guerilla Design Contest

Participated in the
Guerilla Design Contest

On a Budget Contest

Participated in the
On a Budget Contest

Explore Science Contest

Participated in the
Explore Science Contest