A zen garden should be a source of relaxation and escape from the everyday. The whole point should be to escape from–among other things–your electronics. Unless you are [MakrToolbox]. Then you’ll make a beautiful zen garden end table that allows you to make patterns in the sand using a ball bearing and an Arduino. You can see a video below.
Technically, the device is almost an upside down 3D printer with no Z axis. The mechanism moves a magnet which controls the steel ball and draws patterns in the sand. However, the really impressive parts of this project are the woodworking for the end table and the impressive documentation, should you want to reproduce this project yourself.
We couldn’t help but think of this as a really nice grown-up Etch-a-Sketch. [MakrToolbox] originally used a 3D printer control board to get everything moving but later decided to take a different approach. From the user’s point of view, a joystick drives the ball. We can’t comment on if it has the same soothing effect, or not.