Instructables
Picture of 50,000 volt etch-a-sketch!
Hello, this instructable is intended for people just learning how to get into building devices that have a x/y motion ability, However this is not, and is not intended to be a CNC, or stepper device.

    ***WARNING*** 

First off, if you choose to go all the way and make this use the flyback circuit like I did, you need to understand you are dealing with VERY high voltage, and even though it is technicaly static, under the right circumstances, even static can kill!, So please have at least a basic understanding of working with high voltage, or get the assitance of someone that does! And please, dont electrify any pets, neighbors, siblings, parents, bosses, ect,ect, no matter how tempting it might be =) And seriously, DON'T touch ever touch the electrode, the aluminum plate oranything inside the monitor or TV that you dont recognize!!
 
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Step 1: Getting your parts!

Picture of Getting your parts!
Personally, I was able to make my device out of all but 2 items that I already had in my large collection of junk, So, on the plus side, it is mostly recycled, so less junk in the landfills if you build one!

However if you do need to scavenge for parts, places like, Good will, SOS, salvation army, are great places to look, usually you can get printers, and scanners for 3 or 4 dollars U.S., Also, hit up relatives!

 Parts list.

You will need 1 flat bed scanner.

1 old printer

1 old remote control car, Has to be full function.

1 old wall transformer with a 5 volt DC output, and you will need 2 monopolar capacitors, I used polyester film capacitors, radioshack sells them, for only 2 or 3 dollors. (they MUST be monopolar) 

A few small pieces of metal and plexi glass.

2 Long springs, mine came from 2 old flexible automotice magnetic retriving tools.

2 servos, I used 2 futaba brand, model S3003, 44.4/56.9 oz, torque, I don't wouldent using anything smaller. Got mine from hobby town, 10.99 u.s.

A piece of plywood, or press board, a 2 foot square should be fine, I already had some, but it would be pretty cheap at menards, they sell it in 2 foot square's for about 3 dollars U.S.


You will need alot of assorted screwdrivers, including some star heads, and possibly some safety screw tips, an exacto knife(s), a soldering iron, and some heat shrink tubing, red and black wire, stranded or solid.

You will need a hot glue gun, and LOTS of glue sticks, (again, this isnt meant to be as presice as a CNC machine)


xchip3 years ago
Could you use your set up to cut tin foil? And how about etching PCB's?

What does the transformer do, exactly?
kalboon (author)  willrandship3 years ago
Sorry for te slow reply, long hours at work lol, the flyback transformer is what provides the power to a picture tube, in a cathode ray tube monitor or TV, the older style ones, if you unhook it the power feed from the picture tube, and atack a groun onto the CRT grounding point, you get a circuit that produces something like 50,000 volts, give or take, also it depends on the size TV it cameout of, the bigger the TV the more power from the driver circuit so, basically, if you just wanted to play with one, you can make fluoresent bulbs glow, by discharging it withing a few inches of the bulb/tube, it will also stun, but not kill, a large assortment os insects lol, however, i dont recomend shocking anything with one, the output is technically just static electricity, But with the right conditiins, it is possible to be very bady hurt, or killed by it, and it would probably kill anyone with a pacemaker one the spot lol, there is alot of things you can do with one, find one, and experiment =)
trofimka3 years ago
Yes the capacitors are indeed non-polarized, Monopolar may not be the best description, but I have heard them called that as well, they just cant be polarized, Actually, And I dont mean this sarcastic, I didnt think I remembered to specify a farad range for them lol, however if it is in www.torrenzz.ru there some where, awsome lol, also the transformer is actually .7 amps, thank you for pointing that out, that will teach me better than to think I remember things lol, as I said, I tried several diffrent transformers, basically just what ever was able to run the electronicas and the the servos to start under a load. =) thanks =)
Unit0424 years ago
You have put some effort into making this happen, good work! I have been thinking about making a printer (similar to yours, coincidentally) that feeds the paper through, and uses a high voltage arc to burn the image into it. That way, no ink needed! (I have been suffering at the hands of inkjet printers too long)

Of course, I would have to tweak it so the paper doesn't catch fire or cut it up (but those could be secondary features for other uses mwahaha). Your etch-a-sketch uses thermal paper, no? I can't stop pondering that the same procedure could be used on regular paper.
...Has anyone on instructibles tried this?

Anyway, good instructible, you have plenty of pictures. If you work a little bit harder at it, your workbench might be as messy as mine. XD
kalboon (author)  Unit0424 years ago
Lol, actually i CLEANED my work bench for this project lol, Um, i tried to use normal paper, While it didnt catch fire, it also didnt make anything readable, it just burned a few hundred small holes in the top of the paper, they were grouped pretty closely, and in fact remineded me of looking at how stars look at night, i'm gonna load a video in a second, of the etch-a-sketch in action, now that some nice people elxplained to me that was doing it wrong lol.
Unit042 kalboon4 years ago
Small holes.... I wouldn't have expected that result, but it's not surprising, considering thermal paper is designed to yield an image when exposed to heat (in this case, an electric arc). Perhaps the normal paper had numerous thinner spots where the arc punched through instead of going through it evenly?
Hmmmm.... Once I get my hands on an electric arc source, I'll have to try this myself.
Have you tried going slower over the normal paper? Maybe the arc can't keep up....

Is thermal paper cheaper to get than regular paper? If it is not, then we would have to consider the cost of thermal paper vs. regular paper + ink.

So many questions! ;)
kalboon (author)  Unit0424 years ago
Thermal paper costs more than normal, I hope to get my hands on a blue diode and try that on some thermal paper, the electric arc works, but a laser would work better, after for the normal paper, paper Burns lol, the electricity doesn't burn the paper evenly also a flyback isn't the same as a wall output, it just doesn't seem to work that well lol
Wyle_E4 years ago
Actually, those are _nonpolarized_ capacitors; they don't care which way you charge them. The only polarity-sensitive capacitors are electrolytics, which you aren't likely to find in the values specified.

You seem to have slipped a decimal point. 0.75 amps is 750 milliamps, rather high for two small servos, but 0.75 milliamps is way too low. Did you mean 75 milliamps?
kalboon (author)  Wyle_E4 years ago
Yes the capacitors are indeed non-polarized, Monopolar may not be the best description, but I have heard them called that as well, they just cant be polarized, Actually, And I dont mean this sarcastic, I didnt think I remembered to specify a farad range for them lol, however if it is in there some where, awsome lol, also the transformer is actually .7 amps, thank you for pointing that out, that will teach me better than to think I remember things lol, as I said, I tried several diffrent transformers, basically just what ever was able to run the electronicas and the the servos to start under a load. =) thanks =)
SHIFT!4 years ago
Awesome Job! I have one on a slightly larger r/c scale for my whiteboard using a similar design, so it's great to see it at a smaller version. Can it be CNC controlled?
kalboon (author)  SHIFT!4 years ago
That's awesome, a white board was my first idea, I'd love to see yours, and yes it could Def be made CNC, and some day I might. Thank you for the positive feed back!