painting with MPCNC

For those who like to play with paint as a change of milling…

For some time I am searching for a way to use paint instead of pen or pencil. Airbrush was an option but the control of an airbrush isn’t easy. I happened to visit the site of Mike Lyon and he had the solution already: the Paasche Flow Pencil. It’s used for decoration of pastries. It has a tensioned plunger and so does not need air.

I made a simple adjustable lever to open and close the nozzle as rising the Z-axes. The pen is made for creamy stuff so I use acryl paint out of the bottle.

I am very happy with the result. The paint-cup is quite small but these examples are 37 x 56 cm (14.57 x 9.84 inch) and used at most one-third of the content.

It’s not easy to make a (for me) usable drawing, but with some software-help from @Omri I can develop that. And maybe I am going to use air and a brush some time, but we’ll see.

Links to some video’s of the making:


That is great. I would definitely show off that work in my house. Could you post some more pics of the mechanisms (that’s as much art as the drawings).

I wonder if you made a coupld of patterns with sandify and overlayed them with different colors if that would be interesting. Sandify can’t lift the pen, so it would be one of the simpler pattern generators.

There is more than enough work in drawing with gcode to support a company, I think. It would be a fun job to do that all day too. How did you make the gcode for what you have?

Keep sharing what you find. Thanks.

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Also, have you seen Omri’s rgb drawing he made? He separated a picture (I remember the car) into red, green and blue layers and then he drew each layer using a different pen. It looked amazing.

Thanks Jeff, I do have contact with Omri, we both live in The Netherlands.

This picture is what I got for now, on this moment I am replacing the threaded rod with a T8 leadscrew because the Z-axes has to lift very often, so can’t make a new ‘working’-picture. It’s a threaded thin rod with on top a nut to adjust the tension and that black thing below clips under the trigger of the pen. That’s all. (And the luxury to own a fine 3d-printer…)

2 Layers in both drawings. In between cleaning the pen. I used an existing jpg, separated the colours and made a workaround with Photoshop and Illustrator. But I have to find a way to better know beforehand what happens with every step. Because I don’t like art that’s too accidentally. The lines are engraved in Estlcam.

Unfortunately I can’t code myself (like I would like to make continuous lines to, Omri has a special code for that and he is willing to share it with me.

I don’t know what sandify is? (but I will google it)

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Looks very good! Great step of skipping the pen and going directly to a much more flexible and visually pleasing medium. Very curious to see other tests with this system!

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I made sandify to make geometric patterns for sand tables:

@jeffeb3: Found it, cool, going to try that…

@omri: It all depends on the input, busy trying patterns for coloured surfaces under the final drawing.


Yes, yes please more!!!

Thanks for the pictures of the setup too. A very clever solution.

I need Sandify to do text in fonts, Things like BEER / HERE and such. :slight_smile:

Good idea. Let me know when you get that and submit a pull request :wink:

Todays project. Took an existing piece of my own art and messed around with Photoshop and Illustrator.

This time 4 layers and 3 colours. This flow-pen is going to be my favorite…




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Too cool.

I made a page on my website about my results on computer controlled painting with the MPCNC.

For those who are interested:


Oh I love it. Your whole site and catalog is very impressive. Keep up the amazing work and please keep sharing!

I hope you don’t mind, I want to share your work on the social stuff.

Thank’s. It’s ok, it is public…

As an aside, I like the effectiveness of your dust collector on the mill.


Ha, yes, but it did work too well, I used a Dremel then and used a Z-tube to extract the dust. But the suction was too powerful because of the small opening. Small sawed-out pieces stuck to it… I am using a Kress now and have to design a new part…