Automated Art

Sand plotter powered by SIGMATEK

Works of art drawn in the sand ... fully automated: As part of their diploma project at the HTL Salzburg Jakob Größlinger, Filip Okic, Christoph Praschl and Lukas Steinbichler developed a numerically controlled sand plotter. The young engineers were thereby supported by the automation expert SIGMATEK.   


The students from the electrical engineering department at the HTBLuVA Salzburg worked on the “Sand Plotter” project for 9 months – from the idea through the design to implementation. In the sand plotter, a magnet is moved under the surface of the sand, this allows a metal bearing to magically glide through the sand and create various patterns. The technical execution is based on an X/Y control. Servo motors and threaded rods move a magnet under the wooden plate, which pulls the bearing through the sand. The axes are controlled using a compact control system from SIGMATEK, the sand table is operated using a modern multi-touch pad. LED strips in the viewing windows provide indirect lighting and make the sand plotter an eye catcher.


SIGMATEK, sponsor of the diploma project, actively supported the future engineers in implementing the sand plotter. All material costs, as well as the automation technology,  were provided by the Salzburg family-owned company. To optimally prepare, the four seniors first received training at the Innovation Center in Lamprechtshausen. Becoming familiar with the hardware, as well as the object-oriented software LASAL were thereby the focal point. During the entire project, SIGMATEK application experts stood by the project team with advice and assistance.


Technical Details: The sand plotter is controlled with the high-performance S-DIAS system from SIGMATEK. The compact CPU module CP 102 serves as the central processor of the PLC. Both synchronous servo motors are each controlled with the DC 062 axis module. The pixel LED module PL 221 provides the appropriate lighting: The sand surface and the view window for the PLC are equipped with LED strips and provide indirect lighting in various colors. The modern ETT 732 operating panel enables comfortable operation of the sand plotter. Via the multi-touch display, different G-code patterns can be easily selected. 


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