Split Flap Display: If You Can’t Find It, Built It

It’s pretty hard to deny that split-flap displays are incredibly awesome. This one has been a long time coming, and it’s not a refab or surplus build. [Tom] fabricated these beautiful alpha-numeric split flaps from scratch.

Having recently seen an alarm-clock split flap hack just a week or so ago we found ourselves wondering where in the world people manage to find this type of awesome mechanical hardware. If you can’t get it out of grampa’s attic, the next best thing is to build it from the ground up.

This was not a build to be taken lightly. [Tom] started years ago, and part way into the project we looked at some of the control hardware for the installation. Make sure that you dig deep into his blog posts. It’s the only way you’ll put together the whole picture of how he ended up with each belt and stepper motor driven character module.

18 thoughts on “Split Flap Display: If You Can’t Find It, Built It

    1. More to the point, where the hell are they getting cheap timing belts? They’re like $15 each even at chinese suppliers. I’m going through hell trying to find cheap pulleys and small belts for another mechanical project. Anybody have any suggestions?

  1. Wanted to stop traffic ? with spinning toy cars ? you would need to give out a lot of free LSD to do that. or just go with the tried and true semi/fully naked women approach.

  2. I’ve been wanting to create a working replica of the Swan Countdown Timer in Lost by making/converting a split-slap display. But I haven’t been able to find any old split-flap clocks around town, and haven’t found any 3d models of a split-flap display. Are there files for this project, or does anyone know of where I might find some any models of a display?

  3. I am setting up a F&B establishment and would love to showcase a split flap display system for my menu within my “airport themed” bistro bar. Would love to know of any manufacturing companies that are still doing the boards and if so, how long will the lead time be. We are looking at;

    Custom Sizing:
    53″ / 135cm (8 Rows)

    96″ / 244cm (32 Columns)
    Hp: +65 9487 7083

    Would appreciate if we could hear from you!


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