Arduino Sand Art Display

Introduction: Arduino Sand Art Display

About: my inventions

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.

Supplies

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.

This manual is including a test program for the Arduino computer you can use to test the display.

See my (Dutch) weblog at www.apinventions.wordpress.com for additional Arduino programs with different patterns.

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.

The Arduino program I used is listed in the attached PDF file Display3.

Just download the file and copy the text into your Arduino IDE.
The selection leds will light up every 5 seconds. When you press a button when the leds are ON you can select the first set of three patterns, when you press a button when the selection leds are flashing ON/OFF you can select the second set and when the leds are OFF you can select the third set.

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    9 Comments

    0
    JackANDJude
    JackANDJude

    1 year ago

    Fantastic! Is this an entry for a contest?

    0
    alexpikkert
    alexpikkert

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi Jude, thanks !
    I think there is no actual contest where I can submit my Sand Art Display....

    0
    JackANDJude
    JackANDJude

    Reply 1 year ago

    What about the sculpture contest?

    0
    alexpikkert
    alexpikkert

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi Jude,
    Thanks for your suggestion about the sculpture contest !
    I entered the contest, it was accepted and I hope it will be accepted by the moderators soon. Creative thinking !
    Keep an eye on the Sand Art Display, I am working on a second set of patterns....
    Draft names are Mad Ant, Message and Sine......

    0
    alexpikkert
    alexpikkert

    Reply 1 year ago

    Entry accepted.
    Thanks again !

    0
    JackANDJude
    JackANDJude

    Reply 1 year ago

    Great! I voted for it. If you have a twitter account, try promoting it with a link here a video and tag instructables. 👍

    0
    Alex in NZ
    Alex in NZ

    1 year ago

    Awesome! What a wonderful idea. Thank you for sharing it :-)

    0
    alexpikkert
    alexpikkert

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks Alex!
    Additional ideas for patterns are welcome !