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  #1  
Old May 16th, 2020, 02:56 PM
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Question Ink-Jet Paint Gun

My players are looking for an ink-jet style paint-gun to paint a 3-D object (i.e. their ship). (Similar to that used by Holden on the Rocinante in the Expanse). What TL should such an item be to be hand/arm held and how much should it cost? TL-9 or TL-10 is my feeling for the earliest it might be possible.
I'm kind of assuming you need a computer with a 3-D model of the object to be painted, a rendering programme and the gun itself plus paint.
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Old May 16th, 2020, 07:11 PM
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TL 8 - we have that tech now
Price: roughly current $/5 or /2 to get CR for the following

Look up the price for a paint gun
double it.
figure 4 color, so quadruple mass.

Add the compressor.

The control computer? pretty cheap. You can run one on a Pi-0 with power to spare.
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Old May 16th, 2020, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BackworldTraveller View Post
My players are looking for an ink-jet style paint-gun to paint a 3-D object (i.e. their ship). (Similar to that used by Holden on the Rocinante in the Expanse). What TL should such an item be to be hand/arm held and how much should it cost? TL-9 or TL-10 is my feeling for the earliest it might be possible.
I'm kind of assuming you need a computer with a 3-D model of the object to be painted, a rendering programme and the gun itself plus paint.
Are you painting with metal, along with all of the other elements that go into the hull of a ship?
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Old May 18th, 2020, 10:33 AM
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Curious what the fundamental problem is with the design to the point that we don't have a commercial offering yet for an "any color" paint gun.

I think, simply, the complexity of it and sacrificing the quality by mixing it "in gun" vs pre-mixing it and then applying it.

Plus if the gun is "4x the mass", who wants to haul that thing around.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 03:48 PM
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I'm not convinced we can do this now.

If I hold the gun it sprays paint where I point it. It doesn't know where on the item it is, it's distance from the object, its orientation relative to the object, How fast it is moving relative to the object, and how that particular spot relates to the 3-D model surface in the computer.

TL9 (or even 10) would allow these complexities to be ironed out.

Sub components include Laser Range Finder, Inertial Compass, Computer, Software, paint-sprayer, some method of stopping the paint instantly drying in a vacuum. All sounds relatively expensive.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BackworldTraveller View Post

If I hold the gun it sprays paint where I point it. It doesn't know where on the item it is, it's distance from the object, its orientation relative to the object, How fast it is moving relative to the object, and how that particular spot relates to the 3-D model surface in the computer.
A modern cell phone can do pretty much all of this save spraying the paint. This is, essentially, what the Augmented Reality tech is doing. Projecting, with some accuracy, on to the "real world" as viewed by the device. But instead of projecting paint, it's projecting pixels rendered on the screen.

But the tracking of the device, locating of the object in view, etc. that's pretty much journeyman stuff today. The singular problem is the "resolution" of the paint gun.

Some guy standing a foot away from a surface with a paint gun is going to have a blob of paint of something like 3-6 inches. It would not surprise me if someone could do this kind of thing today, with, say, 3 colors (vs actually mixing RGB [or whatever] on the fly). But a gun with some kind of computer controlled paint feed to switch colors. And I bet they could paint a large (say, billboard size) item that would look "ok" at "billboard" distance, but still would have "fuzzy edges".
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Old May 20th, 2020, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by whartung View Post
A modern cell phone can do pretty much all of this save spraying the paint. This is, essentially, what the Augmented Reality tech is doing. Projecting, with some accuracy, on to the "real world" as viewed by the device. But instead of projecting paint, it's projecting pixels rendered on the screen.

But the tracking of the device, locating of the object in view, etc. that's pretty much journeyman stuff today. The singular problem is the "resolution" of the paint gun.

Some guy standing a foot away from a surface with a paint gun is going to have a blob of paint of something like 3-6 inches. It would not surprise me if someone could do this kind of thing today, with, say, 3 colors (vs actually mixing RGB [or whatever] on the fly). But a gun with some kind of computer controlled paint feed to switch colors. And I bet they could paint a large (say, billboard size) item that would look "ok" at "billboard" distance, but still would have "fuzzy edges".
You'd want WCMYK, not RGB. Better rendering for reflective as opposed to transmissive color.

The head wouldn't weigh all that much - the standard heads now are only a pound or two... the real issue is primarily the robotic arm and it's vision system to which you attach it.

All the tech is current off-the-shelf. Volvo has a multi-color spray head, used for differing units, rather than single object of multiple colors, but it also has pretty damned precise painting.
LIDAR is doable, currently, and can be used to ID the painthead and its orientation, and the surfaces of the target.
Add optical cams co-located, and you can map the current colors. Expensive, but doable.
The needed calculation isn't much - a Pi-Zero is plenty if time isn't terribly pressing. There are a number of better options for a processor, but it's not hard, just involved. Multi-threading multi-core is going to be better, especially if the cores are math-optimized.
The paint application isn't hard, at least if there's no wind.

There's a documentary on Volvo's semi-tractor plant. It shows the automated paint booth at work.
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Old May 21st, 2020, 11:27 AM
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The "Expanse" version was the size of two briefcases, hand-held, and sprayed the image with no fuzzy edges in a vacuum!!!

A robot arm on a fixed base with a stationary object in air on a planet is clearly TL-8 and not cheap.

Hand held on an arm that has 6 degrees of freedom painting an object also with 6 degrees of freedom will be trickier. So is that just the time taken for someone to bother...i.e. doable cheaply at TL-8 eventually or does it actually need some new technical gizmo to work?

e.g. 3-D printers are now almost household items but they have taken 50 years to get to that point and are still only for niche households. But are basically TL-8.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 02:24 PM
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Just do a search on hand held ink jet printers. they've been around a while so the technology does exist already.
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