Making A QR Clock Bigger, Cheaper, And Better

With the massive response and blog cred from his QR Code clock, [ch00f] felt it was time to step up his game and update his design to a proper commercial product. His new QR clock is bigger, brighter, cheaper, and in every way better than the old version, but these improvements came at a cost.

The LED matrices [ch00f] used in his earlier, smaller version weren’t very aesthetically pleasing. He wanted the lights to shine a brilliant white, and also be somewhat attractive when not illuminated. The 8×8 LED arrays [ch00f] picked up from Futurlec had a disgusting yellow coating on each LED that turned light emitted by the blue LEDs inside to a brilliant white. This simply wouldn’t do for a commercial product with [ch00f]’s name on it, so he turned to the one place in the universe where everything was for sale:

After some trials and tribulations with component manufacturers in China, [ch00f] had the perfect LED matrix; not too expensive, very good quality control, and something that looked really good when both unpowered and illuminated.

Now that his boards are being spun up, [ch00f] hopes to sell his QR clock on Tindie. Each 24×24 LED matrix should cost less than $100, a pretty good deal if you ask us. He’d like to know if anyone out there has any feature requests, to which we can only say he should get rid of the PCB border. Tiling a few of these displays and controlling them via serial would be much cooler than a QR Code clock.

21 thoughts on “Making A QR Clock Bigger, Cheaper, And Better

          1. That’s why you change the firmware to add a bit of randomness to the resulting code. add in the miliseconds each time the code is generated, then you end up with a different code at every minute when it updates :).

      1. I know, and it’s basically turned into /r/etsy. It’s sad that every post isn’t something cool, instead it’s “Hey, here’s a thinly veiled reason for posting my Etsy page!”. But this is a bit off topic from your project.

      1. I’m also confused by JD’s comment. Blogs and sites like reddit are great ways to advertise for free.

        If you don’t like people trying to sell you stuff make a sub reddit named r/SomethingMadeAndNotForSale then moderate the crap out of it. ‘Merica!!

        1. I think JD is referring to how folks used to “do something for their own selves” instead of the 4000 photo docu blog that we have become accustomed to, where everything is a notch on their CV. Then ya find out they never did it for anything other than to make money by cobbling a couple of pre-made uc modules together. It takes away from DIY and makes it more of DIFM. It happens everywhere. You should hear my grandma fuss about the scrapbook scene and some “SharonB” she dislikes for taking stuff from Joanns and gluing it together and reselling it. People are people.
          I’d rather be broke than rip off some 13yo kid that spent his allowance on something he has really wanted (and may learn from) or a 85yo woman that likes to make nice picture decorations, but this is what america is founded on. Take a look at the $5.00 cracker box amp on Make. $30.00. Did Make actually come up with the little gem? Nope, but there is $6.15 worth of parts with links to pdfs that still have mislabeled inputs. Top notch. I think that is what JD is railing against. Probably why I’ll end up castnetting for shrimp on the beach for dinner at 60, broke as crap lol. I guess it is the blessed curse of capitalism, like a band that gets too popular to be cool.

    1. I recommend (run by alibaba) if you’re just looking for hobby stuff. Lead times are long, like anything from china, but you’ll see a lot more stuff in single units rather than wholesale.

      As a bonus if you do decide to go commercial, odds are you’re already talking to a vendor.

  1. When I first saw this project on HaD I thought it was awesome. I still think it’s awesome this time. But would I buy it? No.. Would I enjoy making one? Sure!

    The linked article includes enough interesting info to make this post not just a pure advert :)

    1. @Ch00f
      ok, now i’ve finished the text and understand the problem, that the QR code doesn’t fill the whole display. but even if you not have enough pixel for counting seconds. why not using row/column for a ‘animation’ so people see the clock is running. for example whole row / whole column – on/off…or a ‘knight rider’-animation. or just improve the housing – a wider wooden frame which covers the unused pixel.

      just my two cents, even if i’m sure you already thought about this!

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