Direct writing of digital images onto 3D surfaces

R. C W Sung, Jonathan R. Corney, David P. Towers, Ian Black, Duncan P. Hand, Finlay McPherson, D. E R Clark, Markus S. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - Aims to develop a greyscale "painting system" by enabling the physical reproduction of digital texture maps on arbitrary 3D objects selectively exposing "pixels" of photographic emulsion with a robot mounted light source. Design/methodology/approach - After reviewing existing methods of "decorating" 3D components, the properties of photographic emulsion are introduced and the nature of the rendering process' pixels discussed. A proposed path planning algorithm, used to derive both the robot's movement and the exposure times directly from a VRML representation, is then presented. Findings - Results obtained from successfully rendering images on the surface of a test object are presented. Research limitations/implications - Limitations of current system include the overall process time and the inability to handle objects with concave geometry. Originality/value - The system requires no bespoke production tooling and fills an automation gap in rapid prototyping and manufacturing technology that is currently occupied by hand painting. © AMSE 2005.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial Robot
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Mass customization
  • Painting
  • Rapid prototypes


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