Utter the words “7-segment display” amongst hackers and you’ll typically get people envisaging the usual LED and LCD versions that we all come across in our daily lives. However, mechanical versions do exist, and [ord] has assembled a couple of designs of their very own.
The first uses what appears to be two LEGO motors to drive individual segments of the display. Each segment consists of a pair of yellow axles thrust up through a black grid to represent parts of the number, as well as a minus sign as needed. [ord] demonstrates it by using it to display angle data from a tilt sensor inside a LEGO Powered Up controller brick. Further photos on Flickr show the drive system from underneath.
The second design relies upon a drum-like mechanism that seems to only be capable of displaying numbers sequentially. It works in a manner not dissimilar to that of a player piano. The required movements to display each number are programmed into sequences with Technic pins sticking out of beams in a drum assembly driven by either a hand crank or motor. It’s again demonstrated by [ord] using it to display angular data.
While it’s unlikely we’ll see LEGO displays used as angle of attack meters in light aircraft, you could do so if you wanted a cheap and unreliable device that is likely to fall to pieces if unduly jostled. In any case, it’s not the first time we’ve seen LEGO 7-segment displays, but it’s always great to see a new creative take on an existing concept. We’d love to see such a design implemented into a fancy clock, or perhaps even a news ticker running on a 16-segment version. Video after the break.
9 thoughts on “Building 7-Segment Displays With LEGO”
I admire the cleverness of these Lego-Topics, but then again: I find the amount of Lego-Related posts in HaD a bit too much in the last weeks. Can we dial it a bit back. I can not take anything from it. My hacks never orbit around Legos propietary products. More like Wood, Solder, PCB, Wires, 3D-Print and compontents. Again: these guys come up with some nifty ideas that they apparently are always able to solve with Lego. But I dont care about Lego. There is no real world scenario for me to ever use Lego in any hack at home or at work. Its all just gimmick.
If HaD just took a random sample of 10% of the users, and implemented what you just said, the website wouldn’t be worth as much. None of us like everything that’s posted here. Hell, not even the owner, admins, and contributors do.
We are here to celebrate the different ideas. That’s how science, and “science in action” AKA technology, work. We get inspiration to imitate or improve others ideas. We need LEGO warriors out there. I don’t have to be one, and you surely will never be one, but we need a few. We need 3-D printing Paladins. You may just be one. On and on with different areas of interest.
Most of us are more interested in commenting system that allows us to edit our typos.
Why can’t you just ignore the posts you don’t find interesting and actively celebrate the ones you do? I bet the authors, contributors etc will respond better to positive responses…
I admire the ingenuity in all mechanisms whether they are made from Lego or “Wood, Solder, PCB, Wires, 3D-Print and compontents”. If someone can build something in Lego, document it and share it with the internet, you should be able to borrow ideas and inspiration from their solutions and recreate bits or all of it in your choice of “Wood, Solder, PCB, Wires, 3D-Print and compontents”!
I admire the cleverness of these NON Lego-Topics, but then again: I find the amount of NON Lego-Related posts in HaD a bit too much in the last weeks. Can we dial it a bit back. I can not take anything from it. My hacks never orbit around NON Legos propietary products. More like Wood, Solder, PCB, Wires, 3D-Print and components. Again: these guys come up with some nifty ideas that they apparently are always able to solve with NON Lego. But I dont care about NON Lego. There is no real world scenario for me to ever use NON Lego in any hack at home or at work. Its all just gimmick. (There is more than just you reading hackaday my man.)
Therein lies the challenge, to see past the lego and find that the mechanical concepts demonstrated can be applied to any other wood/solder/pcb/wires/3d print components! Realizing that physics is physics, irrespective of the build medium will enable you to utilize bits and pieces of projects that at face value you discard as gimmicks or lacking real world usefulness when in reality have many practical applications if you could only open your mind to them.
Do I immediately enjoy every article HAD posts? No, of course not. But at the same time I don’t want HAD to only post things I immediately think I need, because then I’d miss out on those really creative “AHA” moments where I discover an idea that I didn’t know could be useful for an upcoming project.
If you check out their YouTube channel, you can find an impressive Lego 14 segment display they made as well! Probably even more. Impressive than this one, yet still very compact.
These technically Lego posts are cool but they need to be spaced out by a few days because they are more realized hypotheticals than something someone would build for everyday use, if only due to their cost.
Not to mention the inherent temporary nature of lego especially since i cant get the piece de resistance off my kragle (sorry lego movie reference)
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