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This Arduino zen garden lets you draw in the sand remotely


The Japanese rock garden, or simply zen garden, has become a popular desk toy, but the folks over at Makr Toolbox have taken it to the next level with an Arduino system that lets you draw in the sand at the press of a button.

The system works with a gantry that sits below the sandbox. Powered by a pair of motors, the gantry works much like those on a 3D printer, something the creator of this project has experiance with, but without the Z axis. In the middle of the gantry there is a magnet that moves a ball bearing across the sand.

An Arduino Uno handles the logic and a joystick is used to control the drawing.

The entire build is enclosed in a fancy end table that had to be “good-looking enough” for the maker’s wife to want it in their house. We think he accomplished it with a wooden table built from the scraps of a tree house.

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There’s also a row of remote-controlled LEDs inside of the table for an extra bit of decoration.

You can find a full guide to replicate this project over on Hackster.io. It shows how the woodworking and electronics were done as well as the Arduino code to make it work.

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