This Slimline Word Clock Uses Laser Etching To Keep Things Simple

Judging by the tips we get, it seems like the popularity of word clocks has perhaps started falling off lately. But back at peak word clock, we were seeing dozens of designs, some better than others. This simple but classy word clock seems to benefit from all that prior art, making the design just about as simple as it can get while still looking great.

The main tool for [t0mg]’s build is a laser cutter, which is a great choice for keeping the design simple. The tricky part of word clocks is getting the “word search” matrix executed cleanly, and we’ve seen everything from laser-cut wood to inkjet prints, and even commercially produced PCBs, used for the job. [t0mg] opted instead to spray paint a piece of glass and etch away the characters with the laser, which results in superb text quality. Etching the underside of the glass also has the advantage of protecting the paint layer while giving the finished clock a glossy face that really looks nice. Under the template lie layers of MDF that hold the Neopixel strips and act as light guides, while an ESP32 and RTC perform timekeeping and LED-driving duties. [t0mg] finished off the clock with a nice web interface to set the clock, change the colors, and perform maintenance functions. The video below shows the software in use.

We really think this clock looks great, and for those with access to a laser cutter, it seems like a great way to go about building your own.

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Laser-etched LED Zeotrope Looks Like A Circular Monochrome Screen

The still image of this animated display really doesn’t do it justice. But you can get an idea of how this really does look like an old monochrome display. It’s actually a zeotrope made from LEDs and etched acrylic. The LEDs blink at a rate that synchronizes with the spinning acrylic to produce an animated image.

You probably already know that a zeotrope uses moving physical models to trick the eye into seeing an animation. In this case the models are etched into a piece of acrylic so that their outline glows when the material is edge-lit. Twelve pie piece shaped panes were designed in Inkscape to look like a scene from the Linux game World War IV. A stepper motor spins the ring which allows for the perfect synchronization seen in the clip after the break.

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Laser Etched Kindle 2

kindlesketch1

After seeing the xkcd comic where they call the Kindle2 the hitchhiker’s guide, [Ladyada] couldn’t help but laser etch the Kindle 2 with “Don’t Panic”. We think it looks pretty good, if a bit bubbly. You can see the video of the entire process after the break. Now that xkcd has infiltrated our interwebs, hearts, and minds, maybe he can put just a tiny bit of effort into learning to draw. If you don’t have access to a laser etcher, you could always make your own. Just be careful you don’t accidentally go full out and cut your kindle to shreds.

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