Sustainabots for Textile Dyeing

Students of MakersLoft ranked 2nd in the World Robot Olympiad, 2017 – Elementary OPEN category. MakersLoft Natural Dyeing team created sustainable robots for Textile Dyeing.

Dyeing is nothing but the process of colouring the fabric or cloth. More than 99% of textiles are dyed using chemicals. There are various problems associated with chemcial dyeing.

  1. A large number of the chemicals used for dyeing are harmful to humans and animals. 140,000 tonnes of sythetic dyes released into the enviromnet every year from chemical dyeing.
  2. Infact 20% of all water pollution in the world is caused by textiles dyeing waste.
  3. Textile dyeing uses large quanitities of water, of which 93% water from chemcial dyeing pricess cannot be reused.
  4. Did you know a T-shirt uses up 700 gallons of water and over 8000 chemicals to dye?

As our team started to wonder about solving these problems, we learned about Natural Dyeing and its benefits over chemical dyeing.

Natural dyeing uses plant resources as dyes and is therefore does not involve use of toxic dyes that can harm humans and the environment. However, Natural Dyeing has its own challenges.

Problems facing in Natural Dyeing :

  • It is difficult to get exact shade because no two plant or fruits are the same.
  • Re dyeing wastes a lot of water
  • It is time consuming
  • It is difficult to set up this dyeing process on an industrial scale


Our students are solving the problem by reducing the need to re-dye. They aim to increase the chance to get the correct shade by detecting it using a colour sensor.

Poster _ textile

We are upgrading the natural dyeing process and trying to introduce it as the mainstream dyeing technique.

Parts of the robot:

  1. Chute: The chute is the part through which the raw materials pass and enter the crusher. Our chute was custom 3-D printed for the project
  2. Crusher: After passing through the chute the raw material gets crushed by the crusher to form the dye. The crusher was custom 3-D printed for the project
  3. Extractor: After the dye is formed all other extra solid materials are collected by the extractor and only the dye passes through it. The extractor was custom 3-D printed for the project.
  4. Water chiller : The water chiller is the place where the water is made cold and the cold water passes through the cold water inlet in the water jacket and the hot water passes through the hot water outlet in the water jacket. The water chiller was made with LEGO and cardboard.
  5. Vaporiser: After the solid materials are extracted the dye gets vaporised in the vaporiser to remove all impurities from the dye. We have used wood to make the stand and used a tiffin box to make to make the vaporiser.
  6. Water jacket: The water jacket has a cold water inlet and a hot water outlet and both get the water from the water chiller. The water jacket passes the hot water into the vaporiser for removing all extra impurities and it passes the cold water into the condenser where it comes back into its original liquid state. The stand for the water jacket was made with LEGO and the water jacket itself was made with a Pringles potato chips pack.
  7. Condenser: The condenser is where the dye is condensed to bring it back to its liquid state. The condenser was made with a biscuit jar and the stand was made with LEGO. We added a colour sensor present to tell us whether the dye is of the right shade or not.
  8. Stamping mechanism: If the dye is of the right shade, then the dye passes through the release valve to be prepared for stamping/block printing or dyeing the fabric. The conveyor belt system was made with LEGO and the stand was made with MDF wood which was laser cut. The system for moving the fabric (paper roll in this case) was made entirely out of LEGO.



  • Mr Arun Baid, Founder, Aura Herbal Dyes, the only industrial scale textiles dyeing factory in India
  • Namrata Manot, Founder, Biome, dealin in sustainable textiles
  • Arup Ghosh, Manager, Corporate Communications, ITC Limited
  • RajLakshmi, tissue bank scientist


If you want your child to make a similar project, then write us at