Etch-a-Sketch computer is a surprisingly simple hack

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).

[via Hacked Gadgets]

12 thoughts on “Etch-a-Sketch computer is a surprisingly simple hack

  1. While I had an old mechanical mouse, I used to flip it over, remove the ball, and manually drive the wheels if I wanted to draw a perfectly straight horizontal or vertical line. This looks enjoyable!

  2. Yeah, so, when I want a straight line in GIMP, I hold the shift key. I don’t remember if that works in Photoshop, but for straight, vertical or horizontal lines, I used the rectangle select and made the shape one pixel wide.

    BUT, I am a fan of the Etch-a-Sketch and I like to see its return to popularity.

  3. Still waiting for the web page to load, to get the full details. Judging from the youtube video, this doesn’t seem to be something, that I may want to duplicate in any way. Thne again there is very little, except for radio projects I duplicate, more often I adopt idea to fit my particular needs or desires

  4. I used to do this with a plotter pen thing. It had wires guiding a pen holder which looped to the sides and top/bottom of a drafting table where they went through pulley wheels (one for horizontal and one for vertical).

    I put one encoder on each of the wheels so I could trace pictures pretty exactly in Photoshop. It was kind of a reverse-a-sketch.

  5. Since you’re into monitor modding, I think you’ll like what I’m working on right now…. I’m constructing a see-though monitor with 2 layers and there is a lava lamp inside the whole monitor! made 2 version so far, but i ran into a heat issue which caused an explosion :) and also a leakage issue, which caused some decent damage as well. Wondering if you (or anyone) had any idea as to deal with the heat problems (keeping in mind that i need a good amount of heat to liquidate the lava lamp fluid). And you did an AMAZING job on this build….I must have one of these :)

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