Rolling digit clock is a wonderful piece of engineering

A long time ago and on a scrounging trip he barely remembers, [Victor] bought a quartet of digits from an old Dutch Railways clock. These antique displays used a strip of plastic coated cloth that rolls around itself with the help of a motor to display the digits 0 through 9. It’s been many years, but [Victor] finally got around to building a clock out of these single digit displays and we’re loving the results.

Because these displays were manufactured in a time when mechanical devices were king, [Victor] had to slightly modify each digit so they could display numbers with the help of a continuous rotation servo. The four servos are controlled by an Arduino – each digit changing one at a time to reduce current consumption – and a magnet and reed switch was added to each digit so the numbers could be repeatedly displayed.

Before [Victor] replaced the plastic servo gears with metal cogs, the clock was quite noisy. He’s since put each digit underneath a bell jar (actually a vase turned upside down), and we’ve got to say that [Victor] has a nice clock on his hands. Check out the videos of the clock changing digits to display the time after the break.

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