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Mechanical Dry Erase Board

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This is a mechanical/computerized dry erase board that works almost exactly like an etch and sketch... although this prototype does not show the Z axis, I have instructions and a working demo to demonstrate how you can make a functional Z axis. (pen up and pen down)

By using a joystick, some controllers, written code, and some elbow grease, you can build yourself a life size, 21st century computerized canvas. This video shows all of the working components.



The difficulty of this project depends on how large you make your board... the bigger... the more difficult. This board is 4x4 feet. It was also built in my dorm room, so precise measurements without a stable table were kind of difficult.

This project was most recently seen at the San Mateo Maker's faire at the Microsoft booth.

*There are a bunch of improvements I am going to suggest that have not yet been implemented onto the board.
 
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Step 1: Before you start!

Because this was the first prototype and I was forced to build it in a short period of time, I ran into a few unanticipated errors...

I will tell you what I used, and then I will suggest how you should improve/embellish upon them.

Largest mistakes:

1. Not buying a previously mounted dry erase board.

-Because the board was not mounted, or framed, the wooden frame I built warped. This caused an uneven distribution of friction on the board's surface when the pen would move.

- There really is no reason to purchase the board unframed, I did not want to be stuck with a material that limited the range of the pen's motion... I was wrong... buy a framed board.

2. Not doing torque/power calculations on my motors.

-I was just trying to piece together parts without doing precise calculations.

-I was originally only supplying about 2 amps of current to both motors, when they were drawing about 7-10 amps each... yikes. The solution: a lawn mower battery.

-Once I finally got the power right, the motors were not giving enough low end torque, and because the board was warping, the added friction made the pen skip around in certain areas... :(. I'll show you later how we can fix this!

alloqba5 years ago
Nice job. Is it possible to make it computer-controlled? (I want to "print" on wood using a laser)
I might suggest that one could start with a drafting machine. They can be bought for cheap on eBay. I think it would be easy to modify one for this project. The units are sturdy and stable and have a low effort precision mechanism.
Darkshot5 years ago
AWSOME!!!! Great job! Was it cool to meet Eric in person??
Romado12187 (author)  Darkshot5 years ago
It was awesome! He's a great guy.
agis685 years ago
excellent job....really impressed!!!.....i will try to make one......please tell me if you sell the product.....
Tallman5 years ago
Nice drawingboard. But what also could help is adding a counterweight for the Y mechanism. Now it spending a lot of energy in lifting, dropping (down) it is easy so that's much faster than the lifting (up). Probably you won't need those strong engines... Goodluck with this modification.
so basically its a giant cnc... nice!
jeffonfire5 years ago
Cool. I am making a 3d printer and this is the same concept.
worleyll5 years ago
You should make one that can erase itself like go across and so you wouldnt have to erase it. Great instructable!
static5 years ago
Not often I'm lead to an instructable from an entry at hackaday, good job. I'm book marking this so I can come back and look it over more closely later.
PKM5 years ago
Awesome- I love plotters, they remind me of GCSE IT classes. Nice write-up, but try not to nest comment boxes (like the first image on step 5)- you can't read the middle ones without looking at the page source code. Otherwise, top notch.
Romado12187 (author)  PKM5 years ago
I will fix that!
HuggyBear5 years ago
if it controlled through your computer, you should download some CNC machining software and have it control the pen tip. you could have the computer draw digital files of perfect circles or complex diagrams. there are other tutorials explaining how to create your own CNC machines which are the same concept except they use cutters instead of ink. Even though ur idea is completely impractical it kicks ass. If i ever become a teacher this is probably the first improvement ill make.
CameronSS5 years ago
Something similar, but using different mechanics.
Nod, thats the one I have seen before.
That's great! a definite +1 from me. Perhaps add more coding examples? I have thought about making a robot that writes based on light.
Romado12187 (author)  Itsgoofytime5 years ago
Thank you! All of my code will be on Coding4Fun, I am almost done with the article. It will be posted shortly.
LinuxH4x0r5 years ago
Awesome! I really like this idea.
nm9182735 years ago
One of the coolest things i have seen in awhile. Very nice job,
randofo5 years ago
Aside from being incredibly cool... this probably qualifies for the robot contest.
Romado12187 (author)  randofo5 years ago
awesome!
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