Home made cintiq - Anyone ever done this?

I saw a reference to this in a different forum & I’m halfway thinking about trying it myself, but it might be over my head.
Here is a link to a guy who built his own cintiq for a couple hundred bucks. http://www.bongofish.co.uk/wacom/wacom_pt1.html

If anyone knows about this kind of work or has ever built one please let me know, I’m definitely interested.

Also, can a staffer please tell me if there would be a million compatibility issues with this? Or would it just depend on the compatibility of the original tablet that gets modified?

Thanks in advance,

Hi Pat,

Looked at the thing and it seem to be an interesting project. This being said I really can’t say much about if it will be compatible or not. I would guess it all depends on the tablet you use to start with and which drivers you are going to use but we really can’t guarantee much on that side.

This being said if you do go ahead with the project make sure to keep us in touch.

Best regards,


Pat, I hate to be an old nag, but you know me. ;D Distractions, Distractions, and more Distractions…focus my friend, it not the tools it’s the craft that makes the cartoons. -best wishes as always-JK

As wonderful a tool it would be and ‘low priced’, I wouldn’t even attempt it.
I lost 2 people, one a relative to electrution trying to ‘fix’ something. one of these things was a monitor.
If you are really capable electrician (and my brother in law was), one small mistake could be the end of your animation career.

Monitors are dangerous. very high voltage (i know crap all about electonics so excuse any wrong terminology) machines.

JK - true enough about distractions, but you should know by now I’m a bit of a tinker by nature. I don’t know if I’ll even try it but just thought it looked neat. I am still very much getting used to drawing on my wacom & having a half-inch pen stroke translate into a 6 inch line on my screen. I’ve been eyeing the cintiq for quite a while but it’s way out of my price range, so I’m making do, but if I could acquire the parts it would be a fun little project.

patmals - Sorry to hear about your brother in law, and I appreciate your concern. While I’m not an electrician, I am pretty comfortable with wires. It would definitely be a new project for me, but it still boils down to positive & negative connections. And of course safety is always first. I take it real slow with any electrical job.

I actually found a forum through the link above, it looks like I could pay someone to do it for me, but I don’t know that I’m comfortable with that since there will almost definitely be some bugs to work out through the build. We shall see…

I’m not sure if mentioning this will give me a million points… Naw, I’m just being a show off. I had no idea someone else has done this too.

Before I could afford a Cintiq of my own; I built one out of my only Intuos and a 15" Viewsonic monitor

- Seeing “Bongofish” used an older tablet, his lacked tilting sensitivity (which is beautiful in Photoshop). I also added a USB Hub to mine which I use constantly with a mini keyboard (for Toon Boom Shortcuts) and thumb drives. It is light enough to carry around and cool enough to rest in your lap for hours. I need to ask “Bongofish” why he didn’t use tempered for the glass… why acrylic?

Glass does make the pen ice skate, but I just imagine I’m painting with a wet brush (or however I want to lie to myself… I’m an animator… I’ve got a good imagination…)<-sorry for the tangent… see what lack of sleep does to your mind… to continue:

One big challenge in building one of these is EMI (electro magnetic interference). LCD lights output a good amount of EMI which distort the pen’s signal. Yes it will still work, but the pointer will be all shaky if the EMI is not shielded properly. The biggest EMI radiator will be the lights inverter. If you don’t know what an inverter is, please… don’t attempt to make one of these yourself - I would rather inspire you to enhance your crativity by doing art projects… not by electrocuting yourself :wink: … who loves Ya?

OK, lets see if the pictures work?

I used this monitor model: VG510s
Front view of subject


Back view of subject


And this computer drawing tablet model: GD-0912-U


Well… after a few broken pieces a lot of thinking and determination it turned out BEAUTIFULLY!

All monitor controls were transferred to the top. The casing was textured and rubberized to create a unique look and feel…

It looks and feels like textured rubber.


The monitor speakers are now angled stands on the side and create a “surround sound” environment while the tablet is in the user’s lap. It was planned that way, but I didn’t know it would work this good!


I added a USB Hub to the back to use additional peripherals like thumb drives etc.

Total Cost of Assembly (not counting: Paint, Epoxy, Time, Blood, Sweat, Therapy) = $235

Here is a collage to get an idea of what it took to create.


Not a believer yet? I produced a short clip of it working
This is a small video file download, and should play in Windows Media Player

When watching the video, notice it is sitting on HUGE 48"x44" tilting light table with built in shelving that I also built for my last production (the table is not displayed but you can plainly see one of the halogen lights under the number pad…)

OK… now here come a lot of words ;D
I, myself am just barely over 20 years old (noooo, I’m not some kind of shut-in). I gained what knowledge I have by having a passion for animation and setting goals that I have a burning desire to achieve. One of those goals is to teach and inspire others. I hope I’ve reached that a bit with this article. Doesn’t matter your age or income (I am not yet a rich man) I was an animator back in the 2nd grade with a pencil and pad of note paper. You can do it too. If teaming up with friends that have similar ideals gets you motivated. Do so! Run with that great story idea, write it down (most important step!), storyboard it out and animate, shoot video or record audio like an old radio show. Wherever you passion lies… just take that action. I still have a daytime job, but continue to dream of the day when I will be able to share my own productions with the world (for a nominal fee) and continue to inspire.

If anyone has any questions, comments or idea’s they would like to share? Let me know. I will reply.

Also; Toon boom is great! (I just wish the PC multi-monitor experience was a little better)

Hey Teamer,

Very interesting! Cool stuff indeed.
I have one question, in the video it appeared that your existing lines were moving as you drew new ones. Does that actually happen? Or maybe just a distortion in the vid? Looks like that might get distracting, although everything seemed to go back into place when you picked the pen up. Just curious.

I really like the char you were drawing though, cool eyes :slight_smile:

And overall I’m thoroughly impressed with what you’ve done, you should be damn proud of building that. Don’t know what your free time is, but I’d be taking orders for these things.

Cheers mate, again - very very cool.

Kdog, You may be watching this video on a Mac?.. am I correct ;D
The Mac I have at work interprets the video “warped” also.

For those who use a Mac, I’ve uploaded a Quicktime version…which if your PC is running Toonboom, of course you have it installed too(you fellow PC people)


Let me assure you, the tablet works perfectly with no lag, and is transferable between PC and Mac (Wacom Intuos 1) and has both DVI and a VGA port that I can switch in between (Viewsonic VG510s).

…and can also take a beating…how many… I lost count?

My motivation in creating this was to speed up my productions; I had no intention in manufacturing.

Since the monitor has both switchable DVI and VGA I was thinking of experimenting with rotoscoping. Here is how; playback video through VGA channel while the tablet layer is active on the DVI channel (where ToonBoom is running) trace frames on the VGA channel while my recorded actions go into ToonBoom. I would be able to flip back-and-fourth to check my progress…or my cheating :slight_smile: Seriously, it would just be for reference and to speed up production.


is there already a rotoscoping option in ToonBoom?

And Magically appears a suggestion -

imagine this:

A video Layer that can zoom along with an active layer you have assigned.

An option to cut frames to an already established video file to match your animation (ex:29.97fps to 12fps playback rate to match production) would work with formats QuickTime and AVI (since you already need quicktime to run in PC environment. This will also allow a user to use their video camera and drop a file they recorded as reference into there).

And all will be visible in the ToonBoom window. Imagine how much of a revelation this will be for Lip syncing? GOODBYE Dope sheets! (or X-sheet…so we are all on the same page)

But wait… would this be the end of the animator and introduction into AniTRACER?

Your Thoughts?

If you think this project was interesting; you should see what I did to my digital photography camera (nothing like it online you would find)

The things I’ll do to animate…

Awesome! Not sure what the problem was but the warped effect was definitely on my end. I am on a PC so maybe it’s just something with my QT version? No matter, it works now. That’s really an accomplishment, man.

As to your rotoscoping question, it can be done rather easily in tbs - Just import a series of frames from a video file & import them as individual frames in the same image element. Then in a separate drawing element you can use the light table feature to trace the video frames.

Here’s a quick example done in like 5 min, it’s sloppy & rough but you get the idea, just 8 frames of me at different angles.