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”
[Jeri] put together an absolutely massive Etch A Sketch for The FatMan and Circuit Girl show. She had removed the DLP chip from an HD rear projection TV and decided to repurpose the 52inch screen. The movement mechanism uses pulleys from screen doors with nylon lines. The two sets of lines are fed in a criss cross pattern so that the parallel lines move in the same direction. The lines move tent poles in the x and y which controls the movements of the golf tee stylus. It’s driven by two high torque motors from $9 Harbor Freight 18V drills. They tried several different powders, but ended up using aluminum powder from an original Etch A Sketch because it sticks to everything. It will eventually be hooked up for IRC bot control once they get a large enough h-bridge.
We love all of the creative Halloween costumes that have started trickling in now that the holiday is finally over, and people have found time to document their last minute projects. Take this functional Etch A Sketch costume made by [mazinbenny]. The knobs are lawnmower wheels. The pulley system is strung with 1/16″ wire rope to move a carrier for a dry erase marker. The marker draws directly on an acrylic screen. HowStuffWorks has a post on how a real aluminum powder based Etch A Sketch works.
We’ve covered more technical Etch A Sketch projects in the past. We’ve seen them hooked up to computer mice, drawing portraits at Maker Faire, and commenters have even suggested turning mechanical dry erase boards into giant Etch A Sketches.