NES Controlled Etch-a-Sketch

The ones who found drawing on a Etch-a-Sketch chaotic will be delighted to learn that a hacking project based on a NES controller adds a lot of precision to the task.

Recently we have seen the revival of the Etch-a-Sketch, in one form or another. There are cases for iPhone and iPad that are shaped like that and some people even turned their monitors into a giant Etch-a-Sketch.

At the core of this hacking project there is an Arduino microcontroller, which is one of the most popular open-source single-board microcontrollers in the world. Alpinedelta32, as the modder calls himself on YouTube, connected the Arduino microcontroller to a Nintendo NES controller and to two motors that are attached to the dials of the Etch-a-Sketch. This way, the modder managed to breathe new life into what seemed to be yesterday’s toys.

As seen in the above video,  the stepper motors are connected to the X and Y knobs of the Etch-a-Sketch. The directional pad on the Nintendo controller is used for moving the stylus of the Etch-a-Sketch horizontally and vertically. The sound that it makes is actually creepy, but considering the incredible precision, I guess this is a minor detail that can be easily neglected. As the modder himself admits, more powerful steppers would do a much better job, since the Etch-a-Sketch gets stuck from time to time and the current stepper motors cannot do much when this happens. In other words, there is still room for improvement in this project and we would certainly like to see some upgrades to it in the future.

Normally I would recommend subscribing to Alpinedelta32’s channel on YouTube, but it seems like the channel has been created with the sole purpose of uploading this hacking project video. There are no other videos apart from this one and it is unknown whether the modder has other projects that he would like to share with the world. However, considering the creativity that this project implies, it would be nice to hear more from the modder.

If you liked this post, please check the DIY Etch-a-Sketch Monitor and the Etch-a-Sketch iPhone case.