Etch-A-Snap Will Sketch Your Selfies

The Etch-a-Sketch was a hugely popular toy in the days before video games and the Internet became ubiquitous. These days, they’re a fun amusement, but can still be difficult to master. Rather than learn the necessary skills himself, [Martin Fitzpatrick] decided to build a machine to draw for him. Enter the Etch-a-Snap.

The build starts with a Raspberry Pi Zero, equipped with the requisite camera. Images taken are processed into a 100×60 pixel image with 1-bit color. At this stage, a network graph representation is built of the image and used to generate commands for the plotting mechanism to draw the scene. Plotting is achieved with stepper motors that turn the knobs through 3D-printed gears.¬†Plotting is slow, with images taking 15 minutes to an hour to “develop”. The system can also be used to draw manually processed images, which can improve results when images are chosen carefully.

It’s a project that combines modern hardware with a classic toy for some interactive fun. We could imagine a large-scale version of this being a great installation at a science museum or MakerFaire. We’ve seen others tackle a computer-controlled Etch-A-Sketch, too. Video after the break.

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Functional Etch A Sketch Costume

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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.