We have seen quite a few automated Etch-a-Sketch machines in our time, but when [Jason] wrote in to share his take on the subject, it came with a nice bribe attached. We are vain. It’s not something we are proud of, but when it comes to seeing the Hack a Day logo drawn out by a robot, consider us sold.
[Jason] has several CNC router builds under his belt, and thought it would be fun to automate his Etch-a-Sketch, a toy he loved as a child. He cut some gears and a face plate for the toy with his new CNC machine, then got busy programming his Propeller microcontroller to do his bidding.
A piece CNC software handles the conversion of a bitmap image to an outline, which is then converted to a CNC cutting path. The cutting path is translated into x/y coordinates by a bit of C++ code, before being fed into the microcontroller, which is running a small SPIN application he calls RoboSketch. The Propeller takes care of the rest, quickly drawing the image or pattern to the Etch-a-Sketch.
Continue reading if you would like to see a video of [Jason’s] tribute to Hack a Day, and don’t miss some of our previous automated Etch-a-Sketch coverage if this is something on your to-do list.
Continue reading “Etch-a-Sketch automatically draws a tribute to Hack a Day”
Having never been any good with an Etch-a-Sketch, [Ben] decided it was time to tame the children’s toy that had taunted him for so long. He received one in a gift exchange a few years back and hung onto it, recently digging it out again to fit it with some CNC components.
Using his RepRap, he printed a set of mounting plates and gears to drive the Etch-a-Sketch’s dials. He installed a pair of Airpax steppers to the gears and wired them up to an ATmega AT90 USB board he had sitting around. He installed RepRap firmware on the microcontroller, since it has a built-in gcode interpreter, making it easy for him to upload any gcode file to the Etch-a-Sketch for drawing.
You can see a quick demonstration of the device in action below. He converted a spiral image to gcode, then uploaded it to the Etch-a-Sketch – the machine does the rest. It draws pretty quickly as well – [Ben] even suggests that he could probably get it moving fast enough to melt the stylus!
It would be great to see the Etch-a-Sketch configured to support an online interface. That way he could allow people to upload images to the device, later showing off the artwork in a web gallery not unlike the LOL Shield Theatre we featured last week.
Continue reading “CNC Etch-a-Sketch draws on itself”
We’re not sure whether to call this an Etch-a-Sketch upgrade or a computer interface downgrade but either way it’s unique. [Martin Raynsford] added a familiar red frame to his computer monitor with classic white knobs that control horizontal and vertical cursor movement. There’s even the click option by pressing the buttons in and, as you can see after the break, the modifications result in a perfectly usable digital Etch-a-Sketch. We’ve seen a lot of computer controlled versions of the toy which use fancy parts and take quite a bit of skill to build. This mimicry of the functionality is easy to build and the idea is genius in its simplicity. [Martin] separated the encoder wheels from a mouse. He placed each on one of the knobs and ran wires for sensors and micro-switches back to the original PCB which is stuck to the back of the monitor. From the computer’s point of view it looks and acts like a normal mouse but this is so much more fun (and less productive). Continue reading “Etch-a-Sketch computer is a surprisingly simple hack”
[Mpark’s] propeller controlled Etch-a-Sketch is well built and very accurate. He was inspired by the Step-a-Sketch project and he’s carried that design through to a stunning conclusion. The driver board was built around a Parallax Propeller P8X32A microcontroller. But this isn’t just a serial controller board for connecting the hardware to a PC running CNC software. He’s included TV out and a keyboard port so that programming can be done on the chip itself.
In the video after the break you can see how precise the plotting is on the Etch-a-Sketch. It is well mounted but also benefits from some software compensation for the toy’s imprecise controls. [Mpark] has also included an erase function that tilts the frame upside-down a few times. This is used not only to erase a drawing but to hide the line created when moving the stylus into its starting position.
Continue reading “Propeller takes Step-a-Sketch to a new level”
[Chris] is getting his feet wet with Computer Numerical Control starting with an Etch-a-Sketch interface. This is a great way to start out because the really tough parts of the project are already inside of the toy. He’s replaced the two white knobs with stepper motors and connected them through a mosfet network to a PIC 16f84a. The PIC then gets its commands from a computer via the parallel port.
A video of the CNC machine can be seen after the break. He needs to add a frame to increase the precision of the images drawn but this first attempt is pretty good. We prefer to have the computer in charge of the design because controlling an Etch-a-Sketch with a mouse doesn’t make our drawings any better. Continue reading “Step-a-sketch”
Sometimes we miss that old Etch a Sketch we had when we were kids. The challenge of producing a decent image using those two knobs was always fun and frustrating at the same time. This project lets us recreate this interface on our computer. The Hack a Sketch is a combination of an Etch a Sketch style input and a processing sketch to recreate the experience. They’re using an Arduino to interpret the inputs and feed it to the computer via USB. We really like this thing. Simplify the electronics and we could see this as a neat toy for sale somewhere like Thinkgeek.
[via hacked gadgets]
An exhibition just wrapping up at the Russian Frost Farmers Gallery in New Zealand presented an interactive artwork hack. Called the Radio Assisted Drawing Device (R.A.D.D), it is a plotter that mounts on the wall. It isn’t computer controlled, but rather relies on a remote control with two sticks to move the plotter Etch-a-Sketch style.
A clear gantry mounts vertically and travels along the top edge of the wooden backing. A slot cut in the acrylic steadies the plotter and allows for smooth vertical movement. Obviously built by hand, the mechanics seem to have tight tolerances for precise movements of the stylus. See the exhibit in the video after the break.
Wouldn’t you love to have one of these on the wall at your next party? It adds a whole new spin on a guest book.
Continue reading “Radio Assisted Drawing Device”