• Date JoinedOct 31, 2007
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askjacob's Instructables rss


lauraann8 years ago
can I buy an animated ouiji board? anyone know where or want to make me one? I have to hire an electrician just to understand them! I think this is such a cool idea but have no idea how.
askjacob (author)  lauraann8 years ago
The Ouija board would not be cheap - it is cheap in parts, but labour intensive! More like art - kinetic art!
en2oh8 years ago
Hi there, great job on this project. I wonder if you could offer some insights into the track you ultimately decided on. I would have thought that a simple X-Y plotter type system might have been useful here. Why did you decide on the system you used rather than a plotter type? Second, from a software perspective, have you looked at an interface that could easily take the motion of the planchette and record it for future play back? Alternatively, this could be operated by a second person 'off stage'. This really is a great project. Thanks for sharing it with the community! :) Doug
askjacob (author)  en2oh8 years ago
Well I will go through your questions 1 by 1:

Why not an X-Y system?

Originally, this was to be a simple prop, with some basic movement to make it more interesting. Therefore, I basically aimed to use what I had on hand, which was the parts from an old scanner - the stepper motor and toothed belt. I used the pulleys to give the belt better coverage of the surface of the board, so the planchette could cover more real estate. Finally, an X-Y system would need an additional stepper motor (and associated drive electronics), which would have over complicated the design, and would not have easily fitted into the cabinet. Once I had made it, and moved along with the software, I realised that the layout and accuracy was 'good enough' for it to actually be able to spell out messages.

Recording and playing back planchette movement:

Software wise this would not be too hard. The problem is that there is no feedback mechanism that would allow the controller to 'sense' any movement - the only sensor available is for the home position. The other issue is that your movement would need to be able to 'pull' the magnet and stepper motor along as well, which does not happen as the magnetic grip between the planchette and under-board magnet is not strong enough.

Driving this unit 'offstage':

Yep, easy done as is. Any serial connection will do that with the board as is:
- a hidden cable to a laptop
- a GSM module in the board itself (you could then just SMS the messages to the board)
- Other wireless interfaces (e.g. Bluetooth, Zigbee etc)

Thanks for the comment!