Robotic Etch-a-Sketch Draws Grayscale Images

[Patrick] decided to make a computer controlled etch-a-sketch. While the idea is not that new, there is always a different way to accomplish a goal. An Arduino is used to control a pair of stepper motors which were sourced for pretty cheap, and even came with their own driver. Next a stand was mocked up using foam board, which helps determine where all the parts should live.

Next was a way to attach the steppers to the knobs, gears would be used and a collet meant for model airplanes was sourced to make the mechanical connection between gear and shaft. With everything set in place via foam board and paper printouts, it is off to get some thin plywood. The plywood is sent though a laser cutter creating most of the stand and gears. Now its all software, a program was whipped up for OSX which converts low res pictures into squiggly lines perfect for the etch-a-sketch to draw on its screen.

The results are quite impressive, join us after the break for a quick video.

14 thoughts on “Robotic Etch-a-Sketch Draws Grayscale Images

  1. hmmmm? couldnt this be used to smuggle data?

    you program something you want to smuggle say a phone number or a password or something then you take the unit to where you are to reveal the message and bingo you got a method of smuggling a message

    then you can have an erase button on the logic board to erase the memory and then you shake the etch a sketch to erase the message like usual.

    1. Hahahaha! That’s freaking hilarious. I’m imagining a spy whipping out a microSD card, plugging it into this bright red contraption… and while the phone number is being revealed… the sniper takes aim and take him AND the etch-a-sketch out! ;-)

  2. Lovin this, though i cant help thinking weve just reinvented the HP single pen plotter from the 1980s. Time to start digging out those vector drawings of the space shuttle and we can go on a complete nostalgia trip. (BTW it should be plotting high res vector art, .svg files and hpgl plot files, never mind all the low res pixel nonsense).

    1. I don’t quite get your logic… to me that’s saying like a painter-bot is useless unless it can paint something better than the mona lisa. I’m quite sure you didn’t mean to sound like a troll, and don’t worry, you don’t. but it does sound like you didn’t think it through.

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