Build Your Own Bluetooth Notification Ticker

Stock tickers were telegraph-based machines from the 19th century, and quickly fell by the wayside with the advent of computer replacements from the 1960s onwards. However, there’s something charming about small machines that deliver us paper strips of information – as demonstrated by this notification ticker from [DIYprojects] (Russian language, Google Translate link).

The heart of the build is an Arduino Mini, which receives the text content of smartphone notifications via a Bluetooth module hooked up to its serial port. The machine mounts a small roll of paper strip, which is pulled along by a stepper motor fitted with a rubber earbud for added grip. The pen is moved along the paper by a servo using a Lambda mechanism to allow it to move nicely perpendicular to the paper’s direction of travel. Instead of moving the pen up and down, the paper is pushed into the pen by a solenoid mounted underneath.

It’s a fun little project, and one we can imagine being great for educational purposes. It teaches skills required to work with steppers, servos, solenoids and Bluetooth, all at once. It’s a little different from some other pen plotter designs, but the ticker format has a certain charm that’s hard to replicate any other way. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Baldpower for the tip!]

17 thoughts on “Build Your Own Bluetooth Notification Ticker

    1. To what end? You would need a plotter with X-Y movement control that has precision that somewhat exceeds the simplicity of the project. You may as well criticise it for not having a type wheel and ribbon.

    2. Some 30+ years ago, when I was a kid I took apart some (then working) telexes. They had a working tape puncher / reader, and I had some fun experimenting with them before I took the apart.

      The sound of this thing putting dots on paper, is very much like those old telexes typing text from the punched tape and that’s why I like this approach.

      That said, this machine is capable of vector plotting. Just move the pen and the tape while the electromagnet is on. I can see a few point that would need some thought.

    1. Awesome! Thanks for the article.
      The Chebyshev lambda mechanism suits very well with the 180 degrees of the servo. Should keep it on my solutions bin.
      The solenoid pushing the paper into the pen remembers me the hellschreiber printer.

  1. I am expecting original era steampunk, instead it looks like it belongs in a natural foods grocery. Come on, visible functional brass mechanisms and a glass bell jar. If it was that organic I’d expect to bugs to deposit frass spots on the tape or eat holes into it for scanning later via a tape reader.

    1. Also have a look at the chess robot from the same guy.
      Beautifully made with a chessboard from inlay-ed wood in the lid of a box and a foldable camera boom on top. It’s not in the video, but I’m sure the whole thing folds up in it’s box.

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