In 2010 I was approached by Bot 'N' Dolly, a video production company based in San Francisco specializing in using industrial robotic arms and other kinematic high-tech to produce videos. They wanted to outfit a Chevy Sonic with a variety of robotic devices to enable a graffiti artist, Jeff Soto, to paint a huge art piece on a wall in Oakland using the car. The piece was part of the Chevy 'Let's Do This' campaign for the Sonic.

The car was to be outfitted with a paint sprayer, a robotic paintball cannon and a small industrial robotic arm for detail work. My task was to design and build a remotely aimable, pneumatically fired multi-barrel robotic paint cannon. With the help of Justin Gray of Graywrx Fabrication and the talented folks at Bot&Dolly we gutted and outfitted the Chevy Sonic with robots and shot an amazing short film.

The cannon was deployed through the sun roof on command using a scissor-lift mechanism and once deployed the pan/tilt aiming could be controlled by a custom-built control panel attached to the dashboard, allowing the user to select which tube to fire, aim using a joystick while viewing the output of a camera mounted to the barrel, and fire. The whole system could be enabled / disable using a genuine 1950's fighter jet missile enable safety hat switch. The system was built around an Arduino running an off-the-shelf CNC controller and a couple of stepper motors. It worked great! Messy but fun...
After about 6 weeks of construction we moved the car to a parking lot in Oakland and Jeff Soto used it to create the graffiti art to the left. All systems worked well, especially the paint cannon which fired dozens of plastic jars full of paint at the wall.

The finished art piece was huge and amazing, and after 4 days of filming the short film that the producers made was really slick. You can click on the links below to see both the finished short film and the behind-the-scenes. The car was a mess though...

  Click on the thumbnails below for video:
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Street Art Car
Full Film
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Street Art Car
Behind the Scenes
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Testing Paint Turret
Motion and Firing
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Art Car Graffiti
Painting Montage