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In october 2013, a famous
design school in Paris, ENSCI
les Ateliers, hosted a workshop
organised by the French
Ministry of culture. The idea
was to use images, videos and
sound fallen in the national
pubic domain and use them in a
sort of “Mashup”. The event was
called Public Domain Remix.
The students had one day
(8 hours) to pick their digital
material and transform it, hack
it or remix it.
Le FabShop, was invited as a
digital manufacturing expert
to help the students realise
their project.
After a short brainstorm, all the
teams came up with similar
ideas, except one, who really
went out of the box with their
concept. They had this silly idea
of making a machine that could
automatically create tattoos
taken from a bank of images.
They learned from le FabShop's
representative that their
concept was more than feasible.
It could be prototyped by
themselve, using the school's
equipment.
In one afternoon, they managed
to hack a Desktop 3D printer
and enable it to trace on skin,
using a pen instead of the
extruder. The crowd was
amazed and the Minister of
culture even came to see the
projects, but the young
designers didn’t want to stop
there.

They wanted the machine to
make REAL tattoos, on REAL
skin, so they kept working on
the project during their spare
time, with some help from
teachers and other students.
They borrowed a manual
tattoo-machine from an
amateur tattoo artist and found
some artificial skin for the first
tests. They chose to draw a
simple circle. The perfect shape
to test the precision of the
process. It worked! But now
they had to find a volunteer to
be their “guiney pig”…
Somehow, they had no
difficulty. A lot of people
where excited by the idea of
being the first human tatooed
by a “robot”.
The big difficulty was to repeat
the same exercise on a curve
surface and on a material that
has much more flexibility than
silicone. Many tricks were tried
to tighten the area around the
skin ( a metal ring, elastics,
scotch tape...) but the most
effective one was a scooter’s
inner tube, open on the area to
be marked.
To suceed, everything had to be
precise and calculated. Here is a
step by step on how to
transform a 3D printer or CNC
into a tattoo machine.

In october 2013, a famous
design school in Paris, ENSCI
les Ateliers, hosted a workshop
organised by the French
Ministry of culture. The idea
was to use images, videos and
sound fallen in the national
pubic domain and use them in a
sort of “Mashup”. The event was
called Public Domain Remix.
The students had one day
(8 hours) to pick their digital
material and transform it, hack
it or remix it.
Le FabShop, was invited as a
digital manufacturing expert
to help the students realise
their project.
After a short brainstorm, all the
teams came up with similar
ideas, except one, who really
went out of the box with their
concept. They had this silly idea
of making a machine that could
automatically create tattoos
taken from a bank of images.
They learned from le FabShop's
representative that their
concept was more than feasible.
It could be prototyped by
themselve, using the school’s
equipment.
In one afternoon, they managed
to hack a Desktop 3D printer
and enable it to trace on skin,
using a pen instead of the
extruder. The crowd was
amazed and the Minister of
culture even came to see the
projects, but the young
designers didn’t want to stop
there.