Minimalist Word Clock Does Things Neatly

Word clocks are a cool way to tell the time. While they could have probably been built back in the 1960s with a bunch of relays and bulbs, they really only came into their own in the LED-everything era. [Vatsal Agarwal] built one of his own, showcasing his maker credentials.

It’s a build that relies on good woodworking practices from the ground up. Maple wood is used for the frame, cut and prepared on a miter saw for accurate assembly. MDF is used for panels that are out of sight, and teak strips act as light barriers to ensure only the right words are lit at any given time. The front panel is a sleek black acrylic piece, adding to the minimalist look. Neopixels serve as the light source, controlled by an Arduino Uno. As a finishing touch, some glowy stainless steel buttons are mounted on the side to control the clock.

It’s a build that serves as a great introduction to woodwork, as well as more modern skills like CAD design for laser cutting, as well as programming. They’re a great way to get stuck into making, and you can even go pocket-sized if you’re truly brave. Incidentally, if you do take up the challenge of an all-analog relay-based build, make sure you drop us a line.

13 thoughts on “Minimalist Word Clock Does Things Neatly

    1. I gotta say the dismal ‘not another word clock build..’ is off-target. I’ve been building, playing, and working in the computer/electronics field since the mid 70’s, and haven’t seen one of these before, ever. It’s clever and requires skill in multiple disciplines. Aside from the ‘whoops’ typo, it’s a clean looking build, functional & useful. No doubt it was fun to build & display. I see a lot of things with this project, but not boring…

  1. Apparently twice an hour it is either “Quater” past or to.


    Once had a bookkeeper who couldn’t get past dropping the first R in that word either.
    Our financials/taxes were littered with quaters.

    1. I had to read your comment a couple times to even see it. I’m guessing your bookkeeper was from back east, maybe Massachusetts?

      With the exception of Quarter missing an R, the rest of the complaints above are very likely related to diffusion as opposed to error. For example ELEVEN appears to be blocked out correctly with teak, but likely only contains 2 LEDs, one under each E and no diffusion.

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