uDraw tablet as cheap and easy drawing tablet for PC

About a month ago I picked up a uDraw tablet with game from a daily deals site for about 10 bucks plus free shipping. Before purchasing, I looked it up to see if anyone had made progress getting the tablet working with PC. I had read somewhere that you could use the udraw tablet from just about any console on a PC. It was in fact true, so I made the purchase.
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I’m glad I did. What else influenced my purchase, was I had been looking for another excuse to get an Xbox 360 PC Wireless Gaming Receiver for my computer. Been wanting to try one to see how well Xbox 360 controllers worked on PC.

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I ordered the receiver about week ago and it arrived today. First thing I did was plug it in and try to get an Xbox 360 controller working with it. I’m glad I opted for an actual MS one, then the knock offs that were offered. I haven’t heard anything bad about the knock offs, I just figured setup would be easier. Even so, with this actual MS one the driver cd that came with it, would not run. Windows update popped up and blocked the installer from working, saying the installer was out of date. I ended up using the windows updater driver installer to let it find drivers. It didn’t automatically download a driver, but instead gave me a link to the MS hardware site which had the driver amongst all the drivers for every MS hardware. Just took a few clicks to download and install. I think I followed the instructions wrong though. You are supposed to install the drivers and software first, then plug in the receiver for it to work properly. Which is odd, cause it won’t look for those drivers without first plugging it in. This too me a while to figure out. Once I had figured it out though I got the Xbox 360 controller working pretty quickly. Just took a matter of pairing the receiver with the controller by holding the pairing buttons on each.

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After I had the controller paired, I got the uDraw tablet and got it paired with the computer as well.
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After getting them both paired, I visited http://brandonw.net/udraw/
Which is the site I found that has the info on getting the uDraw to work with the computer, as a mouse and as a pressure sensitive drawing tablet. It was really simple thanks to that site to get working. It’s only slightly harder if you are using the Xbox 360 version of uDraw tablet. The PS3 version is exactly the same, except how it connects to the systems. The PS3 version connects via a Bluetooth dongle to the PS3 and the PC. Based on the instructions on http://brandonw.net/udraw/ it seems that the PS3 version is much easier to setup. The Xbox 360 version is a little hard to get working and continue using, if you plan on using your wireless receiver for more than just the uDraw tablet. Which I did plan on doing. Reason being that the Xbox receiver uses libusb driver for your USB wireless controller receiver. If you just want to use the uDraw as a controller (it does have the normal Xbox buttons, might be good for use as a big controller for ROMS) then you don’t need the libusb driver. However I wanted to use it as a drawing tablet which is the point. The instructions on http://brandonw.net/udraw/ to do these extra steps are actually really simple. It requires you do make your own driver using a driver generator program, it’s really quite simple. The program does most of the work. It was just a matter of ticking some check boxes and changing some radio buttons.
Another thing about the Xbox version, is that if you plan to use other controllers with the receiver for gaming and other purposes. You have to change the driver back from the libusb driver to the one that came from Microsoft. This wasn’t a big deal for me, since the MS one installed first. You just go to device manager and click on the wireless receiver and then tell it to update driver to the libusb one, when you need to use the uDraw tablet as a drawing tablet. This is only a slight annoyance. It also requires a computer restart to get the libusb driver working. When I want to change back to the normal MS driver I just go in and click “rollback driver” and it’s back to the MS driver, does not require a restart and I can just connect controllers and get to gaming. Those things are the only hardest part about setting this up. Really though if you are just using the wireless receiver with the uDraw tablet, then you wouldn’t even need to install the MS driver. You would only need to create and install the libusb driver and could just use that.

I did not have software such as Photoshop or Illustrator installed to test the uDraw tablets pressure sensitivity too well. Just tested in Paint with the paintbrush tool. I’m not used to pressure sensitive stylus, so I’m not sure how well the pressure sensitive stuff worked in paint.

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I took a short video of me testing the pen out, just to show it on video.

Testing the uDraw tablet on video

In the video you can see me testing it out, it’s hard to see the settings panels I open up for the tablet, but there are lots of settings to play with and it’s easy to use and setup to how you would like to use it. The settings I changed during the video (because in drawing programs such as paint, it draws very blocky) was the setting to use it as a mouse instead of pressure sensitive and the tablet as the screen size.  Other settings included but not seen in the video are pressure sensitivity, the ability to get the motion moving more like a mouse, and much more. Even customizations for each button. Including using the Xbox guide button to power off the tablet. Though I never used that, because I found the tablet and controllers didn’t need it. If you leave them for more than a couple minutes, they turn off to save battery. Not only that, but it’s simple enough to just pull the battery to turn it off quickly.

I thought this was an easy cheap way to get a wireless drawing tablet for the PC. I’ve tested wired drawing tablets in the past that didn’t even have pressure sensitivity. That’s why I thought it was such a good deal and worth trying out. If you happen to want a wireless drawing tablet for PC on the cheap, say for someone starting out in digital art, or someone just messing around not looking to invest tons of money into a high end drawing tablet, or even a low priced one that would lack wireless and pressure sensitivity, I think this is a good deal. Total I paid for this setup was $25 bucks, which includes shipping and any taxes. The uDraw tablet cost me about 10 bucks with free shipping. The total of the wireless receiver was about 15 bucks. It’s a pretty simple and quick setup, then your good to get drawing on your PC.

One other thing I did today was make a tripod mount holder for my cellphone to record the video. I took a piece of packing foam from an old package and carved it out a bit to hold my camera, then used some medical tape I had laying around and taped the tripod mount to the bottom. Easy to do and it worked pretty good.

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I couldn’t get a shot of the back, but the foam on the back is carved in a way that you can still access camera controls on the phone. Probably couldn’t use all the phone features, but it holds it in place good for use just as a video and still picture camera, with access to settings on one side and the picture/video taking buttons on the other.
Here’s a gif I made using the phone to show the phone holster on the tripod.
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