Write me a message -- anything -- on a webform and I will write that message on my wall at home. That's one of my short-term goals.


Let me describe the project starting with some background. Two thoughts brought me to this project.

The first was that I wanted to display persistent but dynamic, large-format information on my wall. 

I had the second thought when I saw a beautiful restaurant menu sign. This was done by hand on a chalkboard and must have taken a long time. The drawn-by-hand touch was nice and is rather fashionable for certain restaurants/cafes these days. I wondered if a robot could do a comparable a job if it were given some drawings and some algorithms for slightly randomizing the lines and text to make it look as organic as the hand-drawn one.

Certainly a simple 1D plotter with a 1D scrolling erasable board would solve both problems above?

I had an un-used cutter/plotter (Silhouette Portrait) at home so bolted it to a homemade frame, replaced the cutting tool with a whiteboard marker, ran a flexible dry-erase board through the plotter (over rolling pins on either end, and over some whiteboard markers to erase text/images when they scrolled away), and the hardware was done. Unfortunately this plotter uses rather obscure and not-well-documented plot commands, but I found an inkscape extension that talked to it and gave me basic scripted control of the cutter. 

Now I had a scrolling dry-erase board that I could write anything on via the command line (and erase it as it scrolled away to the back side). Certainly the same thing could be done with chalk and blackboard, or other erasable media.

It's ALIVE! Teehee heedledum. What can I use this for?

Regarding the last bullet point -- my goal now is to get this to a point where anyone in the world can submit a short message in a webform somewhere on my homepage, and the plotter will write that. Then you can write away -- cuss, compliment, commove, whatever you like, and I'll see it.

Follow me and stay tuned!