DIY Cintiq Tablet Using Wii Remote





Introduction: DIY Cintiq Tablet Using Wii Remote

This instructable will teach you how to build a very rudimentary version of a Wacom Cintiq visual graphics tablet, using a wii remote, a flatscreen monitor and an infrared pen.

This is pretty similar to the instructables on how to create a whiteboard using the Wii Remote,
but I wanted something I could sit on my lap and move around. I can work a lot more intuitively if I can move around the surface I draw on. I came up with this

Step 1: Materials

Creating the IR pen is the hardest part of all this, but I won't cover how to make it here, as it's covered in at least two other instructables:

In order to create the display, you'll need these things:

1 x Flat Panel monitor
1 x Wii Remote
1 x 60cm length of PVC pipe (about 4cm diameter)
1 x 10 cm length of PVC pipe (about 4cm diameter)

[not shown]
An Infra-Red Pen
Some masking tape
a bluetooth capable PC with an external monitor connection
WiiWhiteboard software from Johnny Lee's site -

Step 2: Figure Out the Optimum Height of Your Wii-Mote

The Wiimote has a slightly less than 45 degree field of view. I did the math on how far from the screen it would need to be based on a 45 degree FOV, but it ended up being slightly off.

I resorted to the very unscientific method of hooking up the wiimote to my laptop via bluetooth, starting Johnny Lee's WiiMote Whiteboard app, running calibration, putting my IR pen at the edge of the screen and moving the wii-mote away from the screen until it could see the IR pen.

The magic number for me was about 50cm up for my 15 inch Flat Screen. Your measurements may differ slightly. You'll also need to work out the optimum angle for the wiimote, if the pvc pipe is fairly flush to the bottom of the display it should be about 30 degrees

Step 3: Cut Groove in Small Pipe for Wii-mote

Cut a groove in the smaller (10cm) section of pipe for the wiimote.

Once its cut, you can file and sand it down.

The wiimote should slide nicely into this pipe with the B button / trigger facing Up

Step 4: Cut Grooves in Larger Pipe

At the top of the 60cm pipe, cut a groove for your smaller segment (which will hold the wiimote)

from the side, mark out a triangle about 1cm high, with an angle of 30 degrees (or whatever you deemed your optimum viewing angle to be). this made the length of my cut about 5.5 cm long

You may need to do some filing and sanding to get the small section to sit in right.

Once the smaller section is sitting comfortably, tape it on with some masking tape.

Step 5: Attach the Large Pipe to Your Monitor

in my case, this was very easy - I was able to take the monitor stand off and screw the PVC pipe directly to it. If you don't have a similar connection you may have to do some fiddling.

Step 6: Invert Your Desktop, Connect VGA Cable and Connect Wiimote Via Bluetooth

Once everything is put together, connect your wiimote to your PC and run Johnny Lee's WiiMote Whiteboard Application. -

Calibrate the IR pen and voila! You have a Homemade Cintiq!

Here's a video of me using it. The only thing wrong with this arrangement is that the laptop needs to be close by so that the shortcut keys are accessible. It'd be nice to have some controls on the monitor that could be set up to act as shortcut keys. I'm thinking it might be possible to join up a second remote and bind the buttons to a few common keys.

Anyway, have fun and let me know if you do the same thing!



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    20 Discussions

    What about using the nunchuck for the shortcuts? Have you tried joystick2mouse? (At least that's what I think it's called) I used it to program my ps3 remote for my laptop, and I'm sure if you could get the nunchuck detected, it'd work perfectly.

    2 replies

    The nunchuk does not have much input control, thus using a second WiiRemote will be a better option like the way mentioned by the author.

    The latest Smoothboard version also has a floating toolbar whichprovides additional shortcuts for triggers depending on the softwarethat you are using.

    Boon Jin

    The wiimote is really too far away from the screen to attach the nunchuck, so that wouldn't really work.

    However, since I wrote this I've started using Smoothboard, which allows you to connect two wiimotes at the same time, and assign shortcut keys to various buttons. Wiimote 1 is used to detect the pen. Wiimote 2 is used to handle common keyboard shortcuts. I find this a hugely efficient way to work, often faster than having a keyboard and mouse, or even a keyboard and tablet.

    Did it. Except I made an IR glove. There is a positive contact on the thumb and a negative one on the index finger, the LED is situated somewhere on the index finger's nail. I also use 2 displays, the main display, that is unaffected, is the iMac display, the second one is Asus, that I placed flat down on the table. The WiiMote stand is made out of LEGO and strapped to a coat hanger that I screwed to the bookshelf above my computer. I planned on making a second one, for 3D-ish interface work, but my current budget doesn't look forward to it.

    1 reply

    LEGO solves a lot of problems =)<br /><br />What you've done sounds great, but it would need to be stationary... the advantage of the design above is you can put it on your lap and move it around without affecting tracking. <br />

    I already had 2 lying around, so it was cheap for me! I've heard that a USB webcam can also be used, but some need to be modified. They would have the advantage of not needing bluetooth and perhaps being a bit more compact.

    That said, people on related forums, including johnny lee himself, have said that webcams really arent as effective as the wiimote at tracking IR, so its best to stick with wiimotes! 

    I love this idea! If you want to solve the shortcut key issue, try mounting a USB numpad (about $5 on ebay) off the side and mapping the shortcuts to it.

    the resolution of the camera is 1024 x 768, and you get slightly less than that. However, if you are working in an app like photoshop, you can always zoom in on things.

    Thanks for your reply. That's really not what I meant to ask though. I meant "resolution" more along the lines of "what kind of actual detail this thing can get?", what with blob detection, noise, etc. Of course now that I think about it, I have no idea how a person would even measure that. Not to mention it probably varies with environment and pen speed. So anyway, never mind. :) Again, great job! Thanks!

    Well, Smoothboard provides a lot of data on how the camera on the wiimote is performing, so this might get you what you're after. I have used graphics tablets, and I have to say this thing has them beat.


    Its great!

    You can try to use Smoothboard to get your shortcut keys. The outside screen area can be used to trigger keyboard keys.

    Hope it will function well for you.

    Boon Jin

    3 replies

    Hi Boon Jin Thanks, I was just looking at the smoothboard page this morning, it looks a lot more fully featured than the wiiwhiteboard app I've been using, so I'll definitely try it out tonight! However, the main reason I wanted a second wiimote hooked up was so that I could use both hands to work, instead of lifting the pen away to click on icons. For example, binding the trigger / B button to spacebar would allow me to drag the image around in photoshop, something I can't do with an image on the screen. With smoothboard, is it possible to hook up three wiimotes to a pc/laptop? Ideally I would like to have two set up pointing at the screen, and a third in my left hand for keyboard controls. Is this possible?

    Hi roryok, Currently, it supports up to two Wiimotes. The second Wiimote can be used as for the whiteboard portion (pointing at the screen) or as a Presenter Wiimote like you have mentioned. For your setup, why do you need an additional Wiimote to face the screen? Blockage by fingers? It already looks great. :) Regards, Boon Jin

    Hi Boon Jin

    I thought from the second picture on that both wiimotes were pointed at the screen, and that they combined for a better viewing angle and better accuracy? The set up I have works quite well, but sometimes it gets a little jittery.

    I will definitely try it out tonight, with one wiimote for tracking, and one for controls!