Introduction: Arduino Sand Art Display

About: my inventions

Update February 2022:

I made a new version of this Sand Art Display, with a Liquid Cristal Display to select a pattern.
After a pattern is selected, pres GO to start it. Press STOP to select another pattern.

Imagine a Japanese Zen garden built into a glass-covered picture frame.

Below the frame are electronics and robotics, creating geometric patterns and images in the sand. The effect is enchanting and magical, it is really Zen-like to see ever-changing patterns and images slowly appear in the sand. A Sand Art Display is a modern version of this traditional Zen sand garden. It is a drawing machine that creates mandala-like patterns in the sand. The operation of this display is as follows: under the glass top is a thin layer of sand, under the sand a twin-engine robot moves a strong magnet to steer a steel ball through the sand. The robot is controlled by an Arduino mini computer playing a pattern program, similar to the way a music player plays MP3 songs. The table calibrates itself when plugged in and after this calibration a number of pre-programmed patterns can be selected using the push buttons.


The materials and the tools are listed in the detailed construction manual you can download in step 1.

This manual describes step-by-step how to make the housing, the X- and Y carriages, the sand holder, the electronic part, the wiring and the software for this mesmerizing display.

Step 1: Construction Manual

In the construction manual you will find the complete step-by-step instruction to build this display.

Step 2: Patterns!

Here you can see three sets of three patterns of the Sand Art Display.

The Pong, the Plough, the Waffle in the first set, the Sine, the Hello World and the Mad Ant in the second set and the Spiral, the Christmas Tree and the Ferrari in the third set.


Step 3: The Software

Copy the Arduino sketch into the Arduino IDE and upload it.

Sculpting Challenge

Participated in the
Sculpting Challenge