Making Perler bead images is a fun activity that we all enjoy, but found that takes a long time. We decided that if we created a machine that could automatically make the images for us, it could save us time and still be just as fun.

What it does

Our project takes an image captured by a Raspberry Pi camera, and runs a Python program on it that reads the image, slices it into squares and reads the average color on each square. It compares each average color to the rgb values of the beads installed and replaces each square with the color of the bead. The pixels from the image are then fed one by one to the printer where it places them on the print bed.

How I built it

We made most of the structure out of 80/20 with 3D printed connections for the motor and other moving parts in the gantry. We also wired the Raspberry Pi to an Arduino that controls the motors directly.

Challenges I ran into

Navigating the serial connection between the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino along with not receiving our 3D prints back in time to build proved to be the most different challenges to overcome.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Creating a script that can convert an image into pixels, but only from a pre-determined set of options.

What I learned

3D printing is rapid manufacturing, but laser cutting is u l t r a rapid manufacturing. Switching back and forth between C++ and Python is bound to cause disaster.

What's next for Pixel Printer

Many pictures. .

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