Have Your Own 200 Water Street Digital Clock

On the front of a building in New York City, above a branch of the ubiquitous Starbucks coffee chain, there is a clock. It is no ordinary clock, the 200 Water Street clock is an art installation created by the artist [Rudolph de Harak], and consists of 72 lighted numbers which are illuminated in sequence to show hours, minutes, and seconds. It is a landmark of sufficient fame that [Jason Ben Nathan] and [Eldar Slobodyan], Cornell University students of [Bruce Land], decided to make their own tribute to it as their course project.

Water Street clock at night
Water Street clock at night [via NYC ♥ NYC]
It’s a fairly straightforward build, thanks to the use of Adafruit Dotstar multicolour LED strips which are populated with APA102 pixels. Behind the scenes is a PIC32 microcontroller, and the time information comes from an off-the-shelf 60kHz WWVB time signal receiver. There is also a temperature sensor, for a handy second function.

The front panel is a piece of ply with the required numbers nicely laser-cut. All the schematics and code are available, should you fancy your hand at building your own version of the clock.

If you are curious about the real-life clock here’s an image. But you get a much more interesting perspective if you stand in front of it. If you just can’t go there, get an approximation through the wonders of Google Street View.

9 thoughts on “Have Your Own 200 Water Street Digital Clock

      1. Put down temporary tape over the entire part being laser cut to retain the pieces, then laser cut with your font of choice and then use the cut parts as a template to glue the “loose” number parts down onto a transparency or clear film?

        Not sure that qualifies as very quick or easy though but it would at least preserve the font selection or missing pieces if desired at low cost and hassle.

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