Moving Pixel Clock

By Ben Everard. Posted

"Clock projects are cool. LED projects are cool, too. And if it moves, all the better. So why not build a moving pixel LED mechatronics clock?” With this thought began Erich Styger’s 18-month development of the Moving Pixel Clock.

More accurately, the project began when Erich spotted a bunch of tiny stepper motors for sale online. They came with no instructions, no datasheet, and no information at all other than the name – ‘Mini stepper motor @5V’. They have a travel of around 10 mm, which takes around two seconds, and Erich thought it would be a good idea to use them to add some interest to a digital clock display.

The final build comprises five stacked PCBs housing the stepper motors and stepper motor drivers; each PCB has 16 stepper motors, with each one hosting an addressable RGB LED. That gives you a grid of 16 × 5 moving pixels to display the time. It’s simple, but in an admirably complex way.

Erich credits Leoni Etter, Jan Rohrer, and Livio Stadelmann for their help in building this bonkers device

Erich’s blog detailing the project build is a masterpiece of clarity; in it he outlines the build process, from single stepper motor to a wall of moving pixels. Each 3D-printed part and custom PCB is laid bare, giving us a glimpse into the work that’s gone into making this weird and wonderful timepiece.

From HackSpace magazine store


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