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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    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    7 years ago

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


    7 years ago on Introduction

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


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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!