The Writing's On the Sand
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Saturday, 07 July 2018

Who hasn't taken a stick to sign their name in the sand - or in the case of one of the I Programmer team scrawl equations? An inventive creator and 3D printing enthusiast has built a beach printer that writes messages that stand out! See it in action in his video.

sandmessage 

This message comes from Ivan Miranda, a self-confessed "hyperactive YouTuber and creator" who has shared an impressive collection of projects, including 3D-printed robots, hovercraft and even a tank on his website.

If you want to emulate this project you'll need an empty beach at low tide and plenty of patience - not only for 3D printing all the components required, but also for watching it print out even a short message.

In the video below the action has been significantly speeded up.

 

Credit: Ivan Miranda/YouTube

Miranda put the robot through its paces on the renowned La Concha beach in San Sebastian (Donostia) in Northern Spain. It works by rolling across the beach and making a series of dashes in the sand. A mechanical unit slides across the main metal bar and when it gets to the spot where it needs to draw, a "pointer" or "stick" drops down and makes a stripe in the sand. This way it builds up the letters of a pre-supplied message.

sandrobotsq

Compared to freehand writing in the sand the robot is slow, so it's not the best option for an impromtu message or a quick SOS if you are about to be cut off by the tide. On the right beach, however, it could be just the gizmo needed by ice cream sellers, seafood restaurants, surf companies, and other beachside enterprises. A big arrow with "Icecreams 100 yards" underneath would work wonders.

Of course, the robot needn't be confined to text. Some digitization and a two "tone" image is all yours. A more interesting option might be to change the design so that the robot could draw a continuous line and then use the technique described in How To Draw Einstein's Face Parametrically to draw line sketches.

It is clear that with robotic technology the beach is your canvas.

More Information

Ivan Miranda's website 

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 07 July 2018 )