Hex Matrix Clock Does It With Six Sides

LED matrixes were once a total headache, requiring careful consideration to make the most of limited I/O pins and available microcontroller resources. These days, addressable LED strings have made it all a cinch. Thus, going a little out of the box isn’t so daunting. [w.r.simpson] did just that with this hex-matrix clock.

Relying on hexes instead of a normal Cartesian grid requires some attention to how the rows and columns are laid out, but the Instructable goes through the necessary coordinate system to address the display. The whole display was built without a 3D printer, instead relying on some basic craft skills and a picture frame as the enclosure. Strips of WS2812B LEDs were used to build the hexagonal matrix, run by a Adafruit Metro Mini 328. To give each hexagonal pixel, or hexel, a crisp outline, a shadow grid was built using black paper to stop the light bleeding between the display segments when switched on. Smoked plexiglas wasn’t available, so instead, tinted window film was used to darken the front of the display.

The result is impressive; while some glue marks from the shadow grid are visible closeup, from a distance the final product looks incredibly futuristic thanks to the hexagonal layout. We can imagine this would make a great set dressing in a futuristic film clip; we fully expect to see this concept in the background of the next Ariana Grande single. If this build isn’t enough six-sided fun to sate your appetite, consider getting into Super Hexagon too!

18 thoughts on “Hex Matrix Clock Does It With Six Sides

  1. Doesn’t display 24 hour clock. I am disappoint.

    I know it’s mentioned as a possibility in the Instructable, but I’d have preferred to see a 24 hour version with a mention of the possibility of a 12 hour version. Except that 12 hour digital clocks should not be possible.

        1. wouldn’t a decimal base (0-10) clock be better? 12/24 is so old-skool but 6 is a little confusing.

          But seriously, nice looking project, it’s a display, it can display anything and if it scrolls it can display even more.

    1. I focus on the red first but as soon as I recognizes the pattern (very quickly), I switch to the blue/green numbers and treat red as background. (I have been doing PCB for the last few hours.)

      It is a bad choice of coloring.

    2. The picture with the red background is actually captioned with this text:
      “With the serial interface, you can play with the colors, which results in a few decent combinations and many terrible results as evident above, but you might find one you like”.

      The image at the top of the instructable is a much better demonstration of it looking immediately like a clock.

  2. I thought of this when I saw this article: “https://hackaday.com/2020/07/26/hex-matrix-clock-is-spellbinding/”, but no time to explore further. I’m glad someone else has.

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