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.