3D-Printed LED Wall Clock Does Lots With Little

This wall clock built by [Alf Müller] is lovely, using two NeoPixel rings to mark the time by casting light onto a 3D-printed ring. The blue shows the minutes, made more discrete by a grid inside the ring. The green shows the hours.  [Alf] has provided the code so you can rework the color scheme.  It might be interesting to add seconds with the red LEDs, or perhaps a countdown triggered by a touch sensor…

The clock is built from two Adafruit Neopixel rings, each with 60 LEDs. These are mounted on a 3D-printed shield that directs and softens the light to create the time elements. It is all driven by an ESP8266 controller, running a program that grabs the time from an NTP server and translates that into LEDs. The code is provided, and [Alf] has documented it nicely so you can easily change the time zone, colors, or other elements.

This does remind us of [andrei erdei]’s time strip clock, but it is a bit easier to read.

14 thoughts on “3D-Printed LED Wall Clock Does Lots With Little

  1. Nice, looks like the one I made using wled and my own 3d printed design to hold the leds (only one strip of 60 that shines outward), with wled you get a clock, a wake light, IoT triggers, your own preset pallete/fx/speed combos and an absolute boatload of animated effects, dmx and a bunch of other protocols too iirc.

      1. I don’t unfortunately but WLED is a big project that Aircookie has been running for years, you can download the source/binaries here:
        there’s also an android app, or you can just access the same functions via the IP address or whatever name you’ve given your wled install.

        WLED also has an active discord and the source is regularly updated, there’s also a huge wiki for it on github too. There’s probably a reddit sub as well.

  2. A couple of thoughts :
    On my binary clock, I included lower brightness from 7pm to 7am, but it could be done automatically with little effort.
    You could change the colours by bluetooth or WiFi.
    WLED seems to be a one-way trip for your ESP32, I tried using one for that, then something else and bricked it.

    1. Doesn’t the esp32 use quadspi flash for the program? So worst case you can always remove the 8 pin chip, wipe with an external usb flash programmer and resolder. But I’m surprised there isn’t an easier recovery mode built into a hardcoded bootloader like the pico does so you can really only ever softbrick but still recover.

      1. tbh I’m not sure I understand how the esp32 was bricked using wled at all, it’s an OTA update with it’s own AP if the wifi credentials are borked and it’s not constantly writing to flash to either. At the worst, it just needs plugging back into a computer of some description to reflash over usb serial. I’m not saying that it’s not possible, just trying to understand how, if it was wled that broke things.

        I’ve had a mixture of 5x esp32/8266 WLED installs that have been used quite a lot for years and each of them are working absolutely fine.

  3. Odd how all anybody can think of for using those rings is clocks.

    I mean no offence to [Müller] or other who did various clock iterations, it’s just weird that there are so few ideas for those RBG rings., it’s the occasional compas and lots and lots of clocks.

    I myself also suffer from drawing a blank, I do however feel that there is some idea just on the edge of my mind, I just can’t seem crystalize it. Maybe I should make one into a ‘busy thinking’ throber and put it in front of my face :)
    That might be an idea, make it in a ‘busy throbber’ that starts when you start typing and ends when you hit enter. You could stick it to the back of a laptop or something.

    1. 2 of the led rings are ideally spaced to be a clock, there’s the 12 led ring and the 60 led ring, so it’s not surprising that there are a lot of clocks made with them.

      There are other rings of course, I had the idea of a compass at one point too but don’t really have much use for one. thinking about it though, the 8 or 16 led rings would be good for that, could be updated via a weather app to tell you wind/rain direction or used with a magnetometer to tell you which direction it’s facing.

  4. I have a binary desk clock. Its still blinking from the last time the power went out.

    My family room looks like a Christmas Tree at night from all the LEDs, Modem, Router, Computer, TV, Stereo, phone. Hard to fall a sleep on the couch. Don’t need another light source in there.

    Couldn’t figure out what time was on this clock either until reading the comments. I prefer a simple clock face with numbers and if its lit it needs to dim at night.

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