Bongofish

Screen Tablet malarky => Successful builds! => Topic started by: Mgilbride on January 29, 2008, 08:32:24 PM



Title: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on January 29, 2008, 08:32:24 PM
So, after some tears in the proof of concept phase I am back on my feet and have a uc-logic and a wacom 6x8 tablet on the way. The UC-Logic is for curiosity and testing but expect it has little prayer of working. Just hope the wacom is as nice and unused as was stated on eBay.

BTW there are several old serial models up for grabs on eBay at the moment. 25$ buy it now prices but without pens and thus minimal if any testing.

So this starts my official build log. The plan is to center mount the 6x8 sensor in the middle of the LCD to avoid the edges,inverter, and driver board. Maybe some tweaking of position to optimize avoidance of interference. Hopefully this will minimize jitter. But luckily the jitter was pretty low to begin with. Pretty happy with the size as I am drooling over a 12WX. Not that much less space especially if you are cramming your tool bars on the same little screen. Below you can find some pics of my current victim, a compaq presario m2000. Hope to have something functional to show within a couple of weeks.  ;D



Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on January 29, 2008, 11:31:50 PM
Hooray!  This is going to be an interesting one.

I'm getting a broken link though. :(

You can post pics here under the "additional options" thingy.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on January 30, 2008, 03:25:51 AM
Ok, let me give that another try. I botched that up the first time.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on January 30, 2008, 03:35:04 AM
Is this foil tape a ground? I'm not sure about snipping it though I need to. Labels so you can scope the hardware. Think that warranty is still any good??  ;)


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on January 30, 2008, 03:37:49 AM
I really need to extend the pink and black wires which connect between the inverter and LCD. However, little nervous after another build blew the LCD or Inverter after the wires were extended. Gotta track that ref down again. Any clues as to why that happened??

LCD housing pictured separately has enough room for the sensor and panel and I can overlay the screen protector as well. I'm stripping the foil and foam and will reuse the foam as needed to gently brace the screen if needed. I'm trying to have a slight gap between the sensor and LCD as well as a slight gap between the LCD and protector. Tight but should be sweet.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on January 30, 2008, 03:39:12 AM
Could use an ID on this connector. Am interested in an LVDS for when computer dies.

The plan is to reattach the lid/LCD hinges and arms. The black plastic, rear plate of the LCD case happens to flip around to the other side of the arms beautifully. So I hope to basically just flip the whole screen around. There is room within the LCD casing to mount the WACOM. At least the 4x5. I still haven't seen the 6x8. I am not sure how to deal with the the row/ column driver board. I need to flip it  out to get it away from the back of the screen. But that conflicts with the overall plan. So, still have to figure that out.

If I could diagnose and fix the intermittent failure on the laptop I would be quite happy. Then maybe worth investing in a battery. and make this baby a fairly portable sketchbook.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 01, 2008, 06:09:46 PM
Just got my Graphire 3 6x8 from ebay. Works great. Not bad for 53$ and free shipping. I have to say i really enjoy working on this much more than a 4x5 (Can you tell I'm a poor bastard who can't afford the good stuff yet?). When I first ventured into the tablet scene folks commented that big was not really better. I'm finding the bigger size so much smoother and more intuitive to use rather than having to compensate for the resolution difference. Also happy to see that my pen from my old tablet works with this one too.

Busted it open and there's a bit of a hitch in how the usb cable is attached to the sensor. Looks like they threaded it through a hole in the case and then soldered it. Anyway, did the screen over test and do have jitter. A few crude shielding tests helped.

I've already abandoned the laptop only build as there just isn't space to safely do it. I would probably break off the r/c driver board trying to fold it under something.

Also not sure what to do with the inverter. The damned wires are just too short.  :-\

Should get the uc-logic tablet today and be able to test that. Can't wait. More pics and build news soon.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Rayall on February 01, 2008, 10:23:43 PM
Yeah, they didn't do a very good job with the wires of the USB on the Graphire model. The new Bamboo is very well made, but it has those stupid lights. ::) My old Graphire stopped working, then I opened the case and realized the wires were torn and disconnected (I bought it new years ago).


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 02, 2008, 08:27:34 AM
Yeah, this one solves that problem I guess. It's a good thing really because now I have to leave the sensor in the bottom half of the case and this helps me avoid breaking the usb connections again.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 02, 2008, 08:35:19 AM
Made a shield jacket for the row column drivers. Now have those flipped away from the back of the LCD.

Extended the inverter to back-light wires without issue. Inverter is now moved far away from the screen.

Lots of shielding tests with no positive effect. Kinda bummed about that. Back to thinking. More testing, more testing, needs more testing.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on February 02, 2008, 12:07:07 PM
Ambidextrose is the chap for identifying connectors. As for extending the pink and black wires, are those powering the backlight?


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 02, 2008, 09:49:01 PM
Yes, they're powering the back-light. They go from the invertor to the LCD slab so not sure what else they could be doing but I don't want to yank the slab apart. And I already extended them and it all seems to be working very well. After multiple power-ups and use periods.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 02, 2008, 10:03:36 PM
So I got the UC-Logic 6x8 tablet today. It's got some major plusses and some minuses.

Market brand is LaPazz. I'll post a bunch of pictures soon so all curious can see it without buying it.

Case construction is decent. Does feel a less substantial than a wacom but I would say they did a good job using the materials economically to produce a sturdy tablet. Metal backed held in with several screws.

The pen does not feel as cheap as other folks have stated it seemed. However there is a healthy mixture of good and bad. I don;t mind the battery at all. The weight feels good and it does not feel any more substantial than a Prismacolor marker. The ergonomics are acceptable and I can control the pen nicely. The maddening part is how they do the battery enclosure. Truly retarded and is probably what leads people to breaking the pen. Pressure sensitivity is great and is a step above what the Wacom Graphire line can do.

Driver instalation requires a little more restarting and fidgeting than usual with wacoms I have experienced and this thing does not like my unpowered USB hub.

The hot buttons on the tablet area work. Not sure I would use them but they work. I haven't tried programing them yet but I don't think they can be programmed to keyboard shortcuts which will suck if you can't.

The instructions suck. They are a little helpful but they are not as clear or complete as they could be. (I'm referring to the paper quick start instructions here. Haven't read the driver instructions file yet but not hopeful.)

The driver interface seems as good as the driver for the Graphire line. I guess the drivers get better going up the Wacom line because I don't see anything any more or less chintzy about this driver interface.

My only major complaint is that the damned thing can't really draw a straight line. I think it's a resolution thing. It's close but wobbly enough to notice. I can quick sketch with it and paint and model with it. But I don't like the wobbles dude. Wonder if there is some sort of anti-jitter thing at work in the driver here.

And holy shite it doesn't even blink or complain during the tablet over test with my LCD. No random clicks, jitters, or anything. It easily outperforms the Wacom in this respect.

The read height is so high that I have not stripped the tablet out of the case, have stacked a sheet of plexy over my LCD and tablet, and can still hover over a centimeter off the surface and move the cursor.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 02, 2008, 10:04:32 PM
Tracked down some mouse steadying software I want to try with the Wacom. Has anyone actually tried this??


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: AndreZX on February 02, 2008, 10:39:52 PM
Tracked down some mouse steadying software I want to try with the Wacom. Has anyone actually tried this??

It's been talked about. Don't know that it's ever been tried.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 01:01:59 AM
 K, I'll try it then.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:23:37 AM
Tested Mouse Smoother and Steady Mouse software with no good result. One seems to do nothing and the other freaks out the Wacom. Very interesting because whatever the smoothing algorithm is it has a very jerky all over the place pattern. Must not like piggybacking on the tablet driver.

Another disappointment to figure out that the damn UC-Logic driver does not have a map to screen function. It just let's you use a smaller section of your tablet. Come on guys! That's only half the math no matter what we're doing with your tablets!! It does, however, let you map the hot zones on the edge of the tablet to key combos. That's nice. So one thumbs down on missing functionality in the driver and one for the inability to draw rock solid straight lines with a straight edge. Oh yeah, and the pen design leaves a bit to be desired as well.

Anyway, it's rock steady and workable so I cranked my screen resolution way down so the active screen area is now smaller than the UC-Logics tablet area. Now it's mapable though also a pain to do.

Pictures coming. I promise.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on February 03, 2008, 10:49:11 AM
What we need is a coder to custom write our drivers.   ;D
The only coders I know tend to be very very busy though.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:06:09 PM
Well, I'm sure unemployment is about to kick up a notch here in the States. That should free up someone.  ;)


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:12:11 PM
More Pics. Comments soon.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:19:22 PM
Some details. The hot cells work fine on an XP machine. Launches things correctly and are fully programmable. A lot of potential for streamlining workflow even with this inexpensive piece of equipment. I could even set them up and use them through the LCD.

The pen feels good and I like the tip feel. But the construction/ battery case are maddening. Not sure why on earth they did this. Maybe a cousin in the family manufactures those little battery clip thingeys? No design here.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on February 03, 2008, 08:20:36 PM
Hmm.     LaPazz - that's a new one on me


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:24:32 PM
Just a UC-Logics rebrand. There are a number of brands that are actually UC-Logics


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:26:16 PM
This is why you can break the pen easily. The battery contact is slotted into the pen's upper so if you twist you will likely break the pen. The instructions don't even mention this. The tip is nicely responsive and I like the pressure sensitivity feedback in the driver interface. But I'm guessing the tip is spring loaded where as the Wacom pen uses a pressure sensitive element with no moving parts. The pen needs work.

Below you can see the LCD to Inverter extension. Works great after 20-30 power-ups and tests.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:28:57 PM
This is the stack and how I would like to build it. Still not sure how I'm going to enclose it now that I can't cram it all in the original case. Amazing that being sandwiched between all of those electronics does not phase the tablet. Although the tablet can't draw a nice straight line, it does perform consistently no matter where it is situated.

So below you can begin to see my plan. My setup is going to use a reduced screen area. I want to emphasize control over drawing realestate. Pictured here is 800x600 res. I have now cranked it down to 640 x 480 res which is just smaller than a 8x6 area. While this is actually pretty cool I would like to find a utility that allows me to just resize the desktop to whatever I want. In other words window the desktop so I can scale the active area as I wish. While this should be possible the closest utility I can find is a window resizer. But I want all of the desktop functionality resized so I can hit 8x6 on the nose. So the idea is that I can avoid using a mouse and just use the pen and maybe the hot cells.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 03, 2008, 08:31:02 PM
So there's no jitter but the pen can't draw a straight line. Fast gestural strokes eliminate some of this problem. But slow precise lines are not really possible. Switching to an airbrushed, softer line helps quite a bit. But not what we would like to see.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Switz on February 03, 2008, 11:01:28 PM
Awesome!!!


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on February 03, 2008, 11:40:44 PM
Hey that's pretty damn cool.  I just use the shift key in photoshop for straight lines  ::) , or the line tool.   


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Switz on February 03, 2008, 11:52:55 PM
Hey that's pretty damn cool.  I just use the shift key in photoshop for straight lines  ::) , or the line tool.   
Yeah, me too.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 04, 2008, 12:04:15 AM
Yeah it's true. And You can just rework your lines with paths for final art but the wiggle actually effects all lines. Curved and all. So if you want to wok small, slow, detailed, etc. you are going to have to really think about it to make it work. Set up a resolution where once you zoom out you won't see any wobbliness you don't want there. So workable but lacks that sense of woo hoo! freedom of just splattering it on the page without thought. That's what I may one day pay a 1000$ smakers for. And it better deliver.  :-\


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 05, 2008, 03:20:27 AM
It's Cheap and it's down and dirty. And it works pretty damned well. Hope you like it and have a good laugh. Thanks for all the input and great resources here. Awesome.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 05, 2008, 04:16:19 AM
Whoops! Chipped the plexy drilling holes. Ahh well.


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 05, 2008, 04:29:56 AM
LaPazz driver interface. Two major complaints to date. Can't map to a portion of the screen. And I discoverd that that the programmable hot cells don't let you use "+" or "-" in your key combos. Anyway this is my current build set for "extended" use and testing.

I managed to keep 2 out of 4 rows of hot cells. Thats 21 hot cells. I have not put them to use yet but have the functionality there should I want to. They work great right through the LCD. They border the top and right side of my active screen area. I can print out a guide and just drop into place over the sceen when and if I decide to use them.

This is the first time I have ever been able to experience what having a Cintiq would actually be like. Way cool.

The computer was free. Headed for the trash. I asked for it and managed to get it quite functional again. The tablet used in the build was 34$. 43$ with shipping. Used cardboard scraps for the "Oh My God It's Way Too Freakin Thick" slab. Bought a new sheet of plexy for 11$. An I killed a Wacom 4x5 which I think runs around 60$. I won't count the 6x8 Graphire I tried to use in the build. It's happily taking place of it's baby bro on my main machine. Now I will patiently eye the scrap heaps for the next build. A salute to the guy who started it all. Cheers.



Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Switz on February 05, 2008, 05:38:38 AM
This is an awesome build!

Congrats!


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: toand on February 05, 2008, 11:36:54 AM
Looks great, makes me wanna build on right NOW! =)

/Tommy


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 05, 2008, 04:56:16 PM
Thanks!  ;D (Blushes)


Title: Re: Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on February 05, 2008, 09:18:29 PM
Cardboard, that's fantastic !    ;D



Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Rayall on February 06, 2008, 03:09:45 PM
It looks great, but wouldn't the wood make it hotter? Isn't that why they often use aluminum now for hard drive enclosures?  ???


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on February 06, 2008, 09:34:04 PM
Yeah, wood is an insulator, but with a decent airflow it souldn't be a problem.


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on February 07, 2008, 11:39:23 PM
Yeah, cardboard or wood are not my first choices but this is a junk machine in every sense of the word. So I'm not recommending these materials as 1st choice build materials. Enclosing the laptop was the only way I could practically make it work and leave all of the internal framework and inherent shielding of components in place. One could technically remove the dvd player and perhaps any other plug in boards that are not needed which would reduce heat and perhaps provide more airflow. I did carefully cut channels for air air intake and outflow into the three ply cardboard sheets and much of the original laptop airflow design is left intact. Also the cardboard is corrugated and thus mostly volume. So some airflow may happen through those voids as well. As pointed out before, this laptop has alread clearly stated it's intentions to die so it's very much a question of when not if.


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Mgilbride on March 05, 2008, 04:47:00 PM
Youtubed the result for those interested. Maybe a little long and boring and no good drawing demo yet. Keep trying to post Bongofish particulars but I'm having a pain in the but time posting comments. I'm a bit of a NewTuber.

Have been testing software like crazy to see what works best with this type of tablet. Love the GIMP and ArtRage. But it is still so hard to beat Photoshop. Even though I'm stuck in the stone age with versions 5 and 6 of Photoshop!! Just miss the tighter control over brushes, selections, etc. that are in the later versions. GIMP succeeds quite nicely there but seems to have some hiccups in the airbrush that drive me nuts. But I'm a real picky advocate of the canvas rotate feature. Both GIMP and Photoshop fall short in this department. You can rotate in Gimp but it's to slow and clunky in comparison to Corel Painter, ArtRage, and the like. Deep Paint, though hard to find and no longer in development has some very impressive natural media. TwistedBrush has an amazing brush engine but is lacking in the user interface department. Paint.Net lacks the feature set I'm looking for. OpenCanvas has a nice handle on things.

I have had to place a little bit of shimming under the plexy on my build. Pressure on the screen caused a vertical line to appear on my screen. I think pressure was being placed on the fine flexible connections to the LCD slab and was starting to detach a couple of the column connections. Shimming actually corrected the problem and the line went away. Hooray!! Will post some pics soon.


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Drewid on March 06, 2008, 10:47:49 AM
Paint.net gets a good review from some people in the office, and Gimpshop, a version of the gimp but with a photoshop interface, also sounds interesting.  Both free too.


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Rayall on March 06, 2008, 06:19:31 PM
Photoshop Elements is cheaper then Photoshop, last time I checked it doesn't support CMYK though.

http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=Photoshop+Elements&category0=

They do have trials of Photoshop on Adobe's site (you have to register though):

http://www.adobe.com/downloads/?ogn=EN_US-gntray_dl_trialdownloads



Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Switz on March 06, 2008, 07:34:05 PM
With new wacoms Elements comes free. I have used 2 dif. ver. of elements.  After using PS for so long, IT SUCKS

really.
I find it slower for some reason and many more reasons.


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: unit613 on August 14, 2008, 06:02:07 PM
Wow, this build is awesome! It took me a while to notice the cardboard, but still awesome non-the less.


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Kerbec29 on August 15, 2008, 06:48:05 PM
Congrats ! I like your style. Mine is similar, I think.
Talking about rotating canvasses in graphic software, I would like dearly to have a way to shortcut the angle of a brush in PS or elsewhere. Kind of every time one hit "+"   there's a 5 degrees increase clockwise or counter clockwise if one hits a "-".


Title: Re: Success ** Comptiq
Post by: Le_renard on August 21, 2008, 09:21:05 AM
Great build !! I love it...

Just a question... how did you secure the screen in the right position ? Are the screws on the pvc doing the trick by themselves ?
Doesn't it make too much pressure on the tablet components, etc.. ?

(sorry for the double post... I just post a similar question to everyone on my build log... I posted it here in case you didn't read it there)