QuintBUILDS Designed a CNC Etch A Sketch Using Stepper Motors and a Raspberry Pi

This project designed using a Raspberry Pi 3, a CNC HAT, NEMA 17 stepper motors, and an acrylic enclosure.

Cabe Atwell
2 months agoRobotics

Having played with an Etch A Sketch as a kid, and a few times as an adult, I’ve always marveled at how some talented individuals could produce amazing detailed sketches, while I could barely make a circle if you could even call it that. While some of us lack that level artistry, we make up for it with engineering skills, which is evident in QuintBUILDS CNC Etch A Sketch, which he used to create a great stop-video animation of a cat.

QuintBUILDS admits his isn’t the first CNC Etch A Sketch to use stepper motors in its design, but it may be the first that’s wireless and safe for kids. He developed his CNC Etch A Sketch using a Raspberry Pi 3 and a Protoneer CNC HAT, which is used to drive a pair of NEMA 17 3D printer stepper motors. The steppers employ 3D-printed blue timing pulleys that are tapered on the inside to match the molded Etch A Sketch knobs, which press on without being permanently attached. QuintBUILDS used 18650 lithium batteries to power the CNC Etch A Sketch, which has a BMS (Battery Management System) board to prevent under and overcharge.

Since the CNC Etch A Sketch can be picked up and shaken, it needed to be light and sturdy, so QuintBUILDS designed a welded metal frame with an acrylic enclose, which helps prevent fingers from being stuck in the gears. QuintBUILDS has uploaded a detailed walkthrough of his CNC Etch A Sketch on his project page for those who would like to recreate his build.

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