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Picture of IPad Etch-A-Sketch Dials

Bring back the good old days with a DIY Etch-A-Sketch dial that works on any tablet or smart phone! This instructable will teach you how to make a physical dial for your device. It is specifically designed to look and act like an Etch-A-Sketch dial but works with any app that uses dial controls. It is really easy, cheap, and most of the materials are household items you can recycle into this project.

 
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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

You will need the following to make your Etch-A-Sketh dial:

1. Tin Foil

2. Scotch Brite non-scratch cleaning sponge (most any scratch resistant sponge should work)

3. A Nerf dart (with a suction cup end)

4. A thick and sturdy straw (mine is about 1mm thick with a 6mm hole, and came with a reusable water botttle)

5. A cap from a bottle (I used one from a milk carton)

Tools Needed:

1. Scissors

2. A hot glue gun

Step 2: Cut the Straw

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Use the scissors to cut the straw. Make two pieces that are each slightly shorter than the height of your bottle cap. Smooth out the edges so they stand up straight.

Step 3: Glue in the Straw

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Using your hot glue gun attach the straw to the inside of the bottle cap. Try to line it up in the center.

Step 4: Add Tin Foil

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Take a small strip of tin foil and fold it to be a couple layers thick. After folding, mine was about 1/4'' wide, and 3/4'' long. Hot glue it into place as shown in the pictures above. Make sure it goes onto the outside of the cap. You can use a tooth pick to push the tin foil into the hot glue so you do not burn your finger.

Step 5: More Tin Foil!

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Take another strip of tin foil and once again fold it to be a couple of layers thick. Make sure it can wrap around the whole cap. Overlap is fine. Use hot glue to secure it into place. It is important that this tin foil has direct contact with the tin foil from the last step, so do not put the hot glue right on top of it.

Step 6: Add in the Sponge

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Cut out four pieces of foam. Mine were about 1.25'' long, 1/4'' wide, and 1/8'' thick. Fold them in half and wedge them between the cap and the straw. Place one so that it is touching the tinfoil on the inside of the cap. Glue it in place, making sure that it still has direct contact with the tinfoil. For the dial to work properly, the other pieces of sponge cannot touch the first sponge you put in. Clump them on the other side of the cap and glue them in like the first. It is important that they each stick out of the cap just a little, and that they are all about the same height. These are what will rest on the screen so you want them all to be even.

Step 7: Prepare the Suction Cup

Picture of Prepare the Suction Cup

Now it is time to dissect the nerf dart. To start, remove the suction cup at the end from the foam tube. This is what will attach your dial to the screen. Cut the shield that originally was on the outside of the dart (shown above). Depending on the size of cap you used for your project, you may need to make the suction cup slightly smaller. Just cut off a sliver around the perimeter of the suction cup. This will give the sponges more contact with the screen and will also make the dial easier to take off. Finally, cut about an 1/8 of an inch off the stem of the suction cup so that it does not stick out of the cap too far.

Step 8: Your done!

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You're done with your dial! For a real Etch-A-Sketch experience make another dial, one to go up and down, and the other for side to side.

How to use:

Attach the suction cup to the very center of the virtual dial on the screen. Place the dial you made over the suction cup so that the stem of the Nerf dart slides into the straw. Spin the dial and enjoy a realistic Etch-A-Sketch experience. Remember to make sure that your fingers are touching the tin foil for it to work.

It is designed for the official Etch-A-Sketch app but should work with similar apps.

It can also be used on any app that uses a dial. Art Dials is a cool one to try.

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I love how simple this is....