Etch A Sketch + ESP32-CAM = Etch A Selfie

There’s a good chance that at some point in your life you’ve played with an Etch A Sketch, and if so, it’s likely that you were frustrated by its rather confusing knob-drawing system. Such was the case with hacker ‘im-pro,’ who purchased one of these toys for his daughter, but found that she was too young to appreciate the subtleties of such a device. Rather than relegating it to the bottom of her toybox or even a garage sale, he decided to upgrade its control scheme with an ESP32-CAM and a pair of steppers.

With the ESP32-CAM, the control possibilities become nearly endless. He added a joystick and MPU-6050 IMU as an interface, but the focus of this project is the use of the ESP32-CAM’s camera module to take selfies, then replicate them in the Etch A Sketch’s characteristic never-ending linear fashion. The device first takes a picture, then converts it into G-code for control via Grbl and a pair of DRV8825 stepper drivers, turning the Etch A Sketch into what amounts to a very small CNC machine.

The new augmentation is implemented on a custom PCB, holding the stepper motors at just the right width to align with the knobs. Or the missing knobs that is, as they’re removed for the new augmentation, leaving bare shafts which are connected to the the steppers via misalignment couplings. With everything secure, the motors are then able to move as needed to generate your face. More info on the project can be found here, as well as code/PCB files on GitHub. There is even an online JavaScript implementation of the routine here if you’d like to run it yourself.

Etch A Sketch + ESP32-CAM = Etch A Selfie was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original article: Etch A Sketch + ESP32-CAM = Etch A Selfie
Author: Jeremy S. Cook