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4-Foot Wooden Digital Clock

How to make a 4-foot-long digital clock using mahogany, rice paper, LEDs, plexiglass, 74HC595 and ULN2003 chips, and an Arduino.

4-Foot Wooden Digital Clock

Need to know what time it is, but don’t own a phone, computer, microwave, or any of the other 100 clocks you probably already have? How about a huge mahogany digital clock to prove your geek prowess?

Steps

Step #1:

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  • Get some wood. I chose mahogany.
  • Create a template for your 7-segment digit.

Step #2:

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  • Use a scroll saw to cut the LED segments out of the wood.
  • Use a plunge router to hollow out the back side of the wood.
  • Stain the top side of the wood. I used a satin poly.

Step #3:

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Connect the digits together using brass tubes and super glue.

Step #4:

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Get some plexiglass and cut pieces to the shape of the LED segments. (I used the scroll saw for this.)

Step #5:

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  • Get a few LEDs (I used blue 5mm).
  • Drill holes in the edge of the plexiglass.
  • Super-glue the LEDs into the holes.

Step #6:

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  • Paint the back and edges of the LED segments with metallic paint.
  • Sand the front of the LED segments. The scratches will diffuse the light.
  • Apply some voltage.

Step #7:

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  • Take 2 thin sheets of plexiglass and sandwich rice paper between them.
  • Hot-glue the LED segments to the plexiglass.
  • Solder wires to all of the LEDs.
  • Hot-glue the plexiglass to the inside of the digits.
  • Connect each of the LED segments to a ULN2003A, and a 74HC595 chip. See the schematic. I also added a 220ohm resistor per LED.

Step #8:

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  • Connect the chips to an Arduino and use the time library to "ShiftOut" the time to the 74HC595s.
  • Stand back (way back) and check the time.
  • Put it up on your cubicle for all your fellow drones to admire!

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