Digital Clock Goes with the Grain

This good-looking clock appears to be made out of a block of wood with LED digits floating underneath. In reality, it is a block of PLA plastic covered with wood veneer (well, [androkavo] calls it veneer, but we think it might just be a contact paper or vinyl with a wood pattern). It makes for a striking effect, and we can think of other projects that might make use of the technique, especially since the wood surface looks much more finished than the usual 3D-printed part.

You can see a video of the clock in operation below. The clock circuit itself is nothing exceptional. Just a MAX7218 LED driver and a display along with an STM32 ARM processor. The clock has a DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor, as well as a speaker for an alarm.

Setting the clock is a breeze since it offers a WiFi interface, thanks to an ESP8266, of course. There’s also a vibration sensor to cut off the alarm. You could change the software to suit if you wanted to handle things differently. For example, we might make the vibration sensor snooze, and require the user to access the web page to turn the alarm off just to make sure we were really awake.

Contact paper is available in lots of finishes, so this technique could turn a 3D-printed box into a box with a solid color, a marble pattern, or even simulated carbon fiber.

We couldn’t help but think about putting some of the unusual LED clocks we’ve seen in this kind of enclosure. Maybe even one with words.

27 thoughts on “Digital Clock Goes with the Grain

        1. Not all. There are actual thinly sliced wood, some are paper-backed. Kinda disappointed that the clock face is not as flat as it shows the dent for the display.

    1. Went to the video’s cryptic name and got:
      “This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated. ”

      Poor guy, probably a victim of the veneer mafia or something :)

  1. I think I met [androkavo] at Bay Area Maker Faire this year… I remember talking to someone either at my booth or at one of the get-togethers about this exact project. Very similar concept to some of the magic mirror projects out there.

    1. Really, Chinese cheap “wood” LED clocks used to be everywhere here in S.E. Asia. Basically a dirt-cheap 4-segment LED clock with sticky wood-grain film that (quite convincingly) looks like a block of wood. Good examples used to sell for around $5-$10 a-pop. The bigger ones had a USB or barrel connector to power them on all the time. But I haven’t seen them around here for sale in the past year or so.

  2. Using two 32 bit CPUs together just for a clock is quite an overkill. :-) Where are the times when I did this with a single PMOS IC (something from National) and some logic (40xx)? It was in the late 80ies or early 90ies :-) But as there was no internet (at least for the normal public) it was without network connection.

    1. LOL

      I did the clock thing with CMOS SSI in the 80’s. It was fun. Now they do it with two 32-bit micros because that’s what is “fun” now. That they do it at all, is the important part.

      Didn’t you ever put a 351 into a mini-minor?

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