24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

“Tatoué” Evolves from Hacked 3D Printer to Giant Robotic Tattooing Machine

by • August 9, 2016 • No Comments

needle2Oh, how rapidly innovation develops. It is a common refrain around here, but it’s one thing to hear of the swift progression of 3D printing in general and another to watch a specific invention go of rudimentary prototype to polished industrial machine in a short amount of time. Late last year, we reported on a French tattoo studio that hacked a MakerBot printing device and turned it into a tattooing machine. At the time, it was yet a quite rocky, if rad, concept – tatoué, as Appropriate Audiences named their invention, was able-bodied to tattoo a few basic shapes onto a man who inserted his or her arm carefully into the printing device, but there wasn’t much versatility in terms of what kind of creations or parts of the body may be tattooed.

The initially iteration of the tattoo printing device was created in 2014; this year, Appropriate Audiences took it to Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop, and boy, does it appear various now. With assist of Autodesk’s Applied Research Lab, tatoué has gone of a adjusted 3D printing device to a giant robot arm that can tattoo anywhere a human tattoo artist can.


Adjusting tatoué’s needle.

“Our researchers quite focused on this additional intimate relationship that individuals are most likely to have with machines in the not too distant future,” said David Thomasson, Principal Research Engineer at the Applied Research Lab. “This project is quite pushing that to the limit.”

After intense research and consultations with outside experts on health and safety, the team went ahead and set up for the initially tattoo to be performed by tatoué’s new incarnation. A 3D scan was taken of the subject’s leg (Appropriate Audience’s Pierre Emm volunteered to be the guinea pig) and imported into Dynamo, Autodesk’s graphical parametric create software. The tattoo create, a easy spiral, was applied to the version, and the information was exported to the robot as code so that it may understand precisely what and where to tattoo.

tatoue2It worked perfectly (much to Emm’s relief, I’m sure). According to Thomasson, they’re hoping to now work on open-sourcing the innovation with assist of other research institutions and universities.

It is not an entirely human-free innovation – while the robot is doing the tattooing, a man is yet controlling the robot’s speed. The man getting the tattoo in addition has an emergency stop version, that is reassuring. I have several tattoos, and after my initially one I wasn’t intimidated by the tattoo needle anyadditional – but a giant robot with a needle is a bit various than a human with a needle. I have serious respect for Emm; it had to be additional than a little unnerving being duct-taped to a chair while a huge robotic arm performed its initially tattooing procedure. He ended up with a lovely outcome, yet!

The pluses of a robotic tattooing machine include the assurance that you can get precisely the create you assume, that is unfortunately not always the case with tattoos done by humans. It is an art form, yet, one that individuals spend years perfecting, and I’d hate to see artists replaced by machines. I don’t ponder that is too much of a risk; the human element of tattooing is a thing that I ponder is significant to a lot of individuals, myself included.


But, what Autodesk and Appropriate Audiences have done is quite awe-inspiring, and I’m quite curious to see where it can go of here – particularly if they open source the create. Watch tatoué at work at a lower place, and discuss additional in the Tattooing 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.