January 28, 2005 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Etch-a-Sketch options: if you don't want to buy one of several off-the-shelf choices, you can modify a classic Etch-a-Sketch so that it uses a serial mouse. Or play online (Shockwave required). And for the less active, why not order one showing your portrait for $5,000 to $8,000? (See the gallery here for a dozen examples of the artist's work, and the artist's website for full information. ) [Preventive strike against double-post monitors: some MetaFilterite comments about Etch-a-Sketch can be found at this June 2000 post.]
posted by WestCoaster (10 comments total)
> modify a classic Etch-a-Sketch so that it uses a serial mouse.

That rocks. Cool link.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:56 PM on January 28, 2005

Any clues on how he makes the sketches permanent?
posted by superfem at 3:33 PM on January 28, 2005

So, how do you ship a $5,000 piece of Etch-A-Sketch art? And won't hanging it on the wall, like, erase it?
posted by donovan at 3:34 PM on January 28, 2005

Any clues on how he makes the sketches permanent?

That question was discussed in this August 2003 posting, which I failed to find when searching Metafilter (case-sensitive search?) . And I missed other postings as well.

From the comments to that August 2003 posting, He seems to have some "perma fixative" to hold them in place appears the most likely explanation, to me. Perhaps he removes the cover plate and then sprays the drawing?
posted by WestCoaster at 4:21 PM on January 28, 2005

If you've ever tried to make anything even mildly complex on an Etch-a-Sketch you'll appreciate just how damn hard it is to do what he does.

Drawing a line doesn't simply create the line, it also distorts what's next to that line as well. Taking that into consideration, his work is truly amazing.
posted by Four Flavors at 4:29 PM on January 28, 2005

Even though Etch-A-Sketch has an FAQ, I still prefer this one.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 4:29 PM on January 28, 2005

> modify a classic Etch-a-Sketch

Stepper-motorized etch-a-sketch has been done before, at least as early as March 2001 by Metafilter's own (and I hate that construction) slacy. There are pictures and text. [Disclaimer: Now that I look at the photos, I think I must have taken them, since that's my foot. Sorry some are blurry.]

If you look at the posterized image of the girl on the computer screen, you can see how the etch-a-sketch was starting to draw that same image on its screen. It was a little eerie seeing images come to life on the etch-a-sketch. It wouldn't take much more development to get beautiful sketches out of it (as opposed to all the baseball-themed ones -- what is it with baseball and etch-a-sketch?).

Even if it's been done before, it was pretty cool then, and it's pretty cool now. Plus the Cornell mount is direct-drive, which is simpler.
posted by surlycat at 6:28 PM on January 28, 2005

Self-plug: Here's another motorized etch-a-sketch. The site links to two more motorized etch-a-sketch conversions.

Go easy on me (it's my first comment) and my server. In particular, if you want to see the video, please click on the link to the video that is in the text, not in the file listing, because that first link is coralized.

slacy: if you're here, anything else to say about your own project? Do you have any more pictures of the images your etch-a-sketch produced? Did you deal with backlash in your software? That was the major hassle in mine.
posted by jepler at 8:00 PM on January 28, 2005

Anyone every tried to draw something on an Etch-A-Sketch (to actually draw something that you're looking at). Even if you are a practiced draughtsman (maybe especially in that case) it is a weird sensation, of thinking you're moving the line one way while it actually moves another, until you've got it down and then it becomes, more or less transparent. In some weird way, I think its like how, using our mirror neurons we internally enact the facial expressions of other people when we see them (so neuron response to seeing someone else smiling and to smiling oneself is related). Etch-A-Sketch drawing at first is like smiling through somone else's face.
posted by AtDuskGreg at 9:10 PM on January 28, 2005

Interesting... I've often wondered how the Etch-A-Sketch stays in production, considering that it is probably the least fun toy that any child will own. Seriously- what kid is truly happy to see an Etch-A-Sketch?
posted by afroblanca at 5:53 AM on January 29, 2005

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