[Paul Ferragout] realized a strange printer, with an incorporated program to print any image using a time-based algorithm. According to the grey value of a pixel on an image, the felt pen remains in contact with the blotting paper for relative periods of time.
The Arduino-controlled Time Print Machine uses an algorithm to “paint” images — portraits, still lives, you name it — out of nothing but splotches of ink. Equipped with a felt pen and blotting paper, it works like a CNC-milling machine. Program the machine to render a digital image, and the pen starts stabbing at the paper, varying the amount of time it spends on each dot according to the gray value of the respective pixel; the more time allotted, the more the ink bleeds, and the thicker the dot.
The resulting images can take up to 34 hours to print and look like bad photocopies, each totally unique. We’re not sure whether to think of the Time Print Machine as the world’s least-efficient printer or the world’s most-efficient Pointillist painter. The one thing we know is this: The machine is weirdly hypnotic. We could watch that thing drop ink all afternoon