The EtchABot uses an Arduino to turn an Etch A Sketch into a self-erasing CNC (Computer Numerical Control) drawing machine. It's far from the first motorized Etch A Sketch on the internet. Other projects have used stepper motors to turn Etch A Sketches into simple CNC machines that can draw portraits, patterns and even tell digital time.
What’s original about the EtchABot is its easy-to-build frame and the Arduino library provided to control it. There is no glue, cutting, drilling or soldering required. Anyone with a basic knowledge of breadboard wiring and Arduino programming can construct and run it. It's also very versatile. The example sketches allow you to run EtchABot with a variety of functions - as an analog clock, Spirograph, joystick controlled doodler and image replicating CNC drawing machine. Using the EtchABot Arduino library, you can program it with other functionality too.
I really do hope that people will be able to build and program their own EtchABots, which is why this Instructable has gotten so long and detailed (sorry!) I've gotten a lot of ideas from reading about other people's projects, so I hope that you'll find some inspiration, or at least something interesting to look at in this Instructable. Enjoy!
Adapted from my blog posts:
You can build an EtchABot with either the pocket size (small) or the travel size (medium) Etch A Sketch. The only mechanical difference between the two versions is the size and scaling of the wooden frame. The pocket size frame is somewhat more stable and easier to rotate due to its lighter weight. Otherwise, the assembly instructions are identical. The image above also shows that you can personalize your EtchABot with 1" round Avery labels or by etching your name/logo on the wooden frame.
Once you pick a size, you can get the design files and code from https://github.com/geekmomprojects/EtchABot. I'm linking to GitHub rather than including the files because EtchABot is a work in progress, and that's where you'll find the most up-to-date files.
This is a long Instructable, so here is a table of contents if you'd like to skip to a topic: