Scratch Built Smartwatch Looks Pretty Darn Sharp With 3D Printed Case And Round LCD

These days, if you want a smart watch, you’re spoiled for choice. The major smartphone players all have devices on the market, and there’s plenty of third party manufacturers vying for your dollar, too. You might think it’s impossible achieve the same finish with a 3D printer and a reflow oven, but you’re wrong. [Samson March] didn’t quite fancy something off the shelf, though, and instead build an amazing smartwatch of his own.

The beautiful case is printed in a woodfilled PLA — consisting of 70% plastic and 30% sawdust. This allows it to be sanded and stained for an attractive final product. Printing artifacts actually add to the look here, creating somewhat of a woodgrain effect. There’s a round LCD for a more classical watch look, which displays various graphics and even contact photos for incoming messages. Like most smartwatches on the market, it uses Bluetooth Low Energy for communication, and has a rechargeable lithium battery inside. Estimated battery life is approximately one week, depending on the frequency of use, and the recharging base he fabricated is as beautiful as the watch itself.

It’s a tidy build that shows off [Samson]’s design skills, and files are available on GitHub if you’d like to make your own. Laying out the full design in Fusion 360 prior to the build enabled the watch to be optimized for size constraints, creating an attractive and comfortable piece. With that said, if you’re a fan of a more hardcore electronic aesthetic, perhaps something 8-bit might be more your speed.

[via reddit, thanks to Aliasmk for the tip!]

30 thoughts on “Scratch Built Smartwatch Looks Pretty Darn Sharp With 3D Printed Case And Round LCD

  1. Really nice work on every front. From the photos, I totally thought he carved the case from wood, until it was mentioned that he used wood-filled PLA. I’d love to play with one of those round LCD screens at some point.

    1. That’s awesome, I love it! I’ve been thinking about doing something like this for ages but didn’t think it would be possible to get a nice small package like you have, that looks thinner than my actual smartwatch. I might use this as inspiration in the future.

    2. Just wanted to say incredible work on this design. I’ve had my eye on those smartwatch screens, but you’ve gone so far beyond what I thought could be done with them. Great design, amazing follow-through, what a showpiece to wear around every day!

  2. Would like to have seen removal of the touch screen from the display module. Can see the reversed connector would have been interesting to route and package. Thinking you are looking at using a tap function in a similar way to say Fitbit Alta?

    Would also like to see fitting of the battery to the unit and how it packaged in relation to space claim, insulation and connection to the main board.

    Love the BOM, enjoyed looking through the material.

    Just EMC approval to go now ;-)

    1. The version of the display I used didn’t have a touchscreen, so I never removed it. I think Amelin (the vendor) just makes a single flex PCB to have both versions.

      I will have to take a picture of the bottom side with the battery to add to the album, lots of people were curious about it.

      Glad you liked it all!

  3. I wasn’t aware of PLA that contain wood dust. That begs the question is there PLA product that contain metal particles, or wold they be too abrasive for the extruder nozzle? I respect what remains of the steampunk crowd, would go ape crap, over PLA that contains brass. However this build is similar to why I wear an analog dial watch, no sun shine wash out of the display.

    1. Suspect,not respect. Hopefully Hackaday can hack the way to a comment platform that allows editing. Not that I disrespect steampunk. Although it’s not my bag, I have seen great skill exhibited, by it’s participants.

      1. HaD should look at the comment system on the revamped, WordPress-powered for inspiration. Within days of relaunching on WP, they had a comment system with a 5 minute edit window.

      1. And even carbon fill and bronze fill. Be aware that the metal versions are not (very if at all) conductive (particals too far appart). But you best use a ruby nozzle for that!

    1. Hey there, creator here! The battery is in the bill of materials on the github page. [This is the batter](

      The device consumes about 10-15mA when the screen is on, the rest of the time it draws around 300uA (in sleep mode).

      I can’t have a livestream for a week, but here is the theoretical math and it checks out pretty spot on so far!

      10 seconds of on time per notification = 0.3% of an hour.
      0.3% of an hour * 15mA = 40.5uA per notification
      If you get ~ 200 notifications a day (this varies per person, but its about right for me) that comes out to 1400 * 40.5uA = 56.7mA

      300uA (sleep power) * 168 hours = 50.4mA

      50.4mA + 56.7mA = 107.1mAh needed for a week of battery life.

      The battery I linked is 110mAh.

      1. Hi Sam, I wonder why you used dialog chip instead of nordic nrf52, were you already skilled with their SDK etc before? I see you used newest one with XIP, do they finally support gcc with that? I struggled with DA14585 based fitness tracker, they only support KEIL not gcc and the platform is a bit weird, everything needs to fit into 96KB sram including all the code, there is no XIP flash.

  4. I’ve searched, and read several datasheets, but i just can’t find how round displays map 240×240 to a circle….
    Can anyone point me in the right (hah!) direction?

    1. Simple answer is – it doesn’t. There are 240 pixels across, and there are 240 down. The ‘corner’ ones are missing.

      What I don’t know is whether the pixels-per-line is constant (and some are just not visible), or whether the memory is 111122222233333344444444…

    1. I ended up picking the dialog part partially because I could run the SPI bus at 48MHz. I would say i’m getting around 25ish FPS. In theory I should be able to get up to 46 FPS
      48MHz / (240 pixels * 240 pixels * 18 bits per pixel)
      But the reality is, with all the other stuff happening in the OS, it slows down a bit. I don’t have enough RAM to load an entire frame at once, so I buffer 2048 pixels per write.

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