3D Printed Back to the Future TIme Circuit Clock





Introduction: 3D Printed Back to the Future TIme Circuit Clock

The front left LED .stl file was incorrect and has been updated. The time circuit clock will display the following via the LED displays.

Destination Time – (Top-Red)

The destination time is an area that shows a fixed date and time. Use this area to display an important date in your life such as wedding, Birthday or the date you first discovered this most excellent clock.

Present Time – (Middle-Green)

The present time is the current date and time. You set this initially when you download the Arduino and you can adjust the hour and minute via the RGB LCD display keypad.

Last Time Departed – (Bottom-Yellow)

The last time departed will alternate between three different important dates every 20 seconds. Use this for birthdays, the date you finished building the clock, the day you met your significant other, etc.

The time circuit clock will announce the time between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:30 PM. The time is generated via the Music Maker MP3 shield. The audio files for the time announcement were recorded by my wife and are included. To enhance the clock further, I enlisted a voice impersonator that recorded the time announcements as "Doc Browns: voice. Contact information for the voice impersonator is included in this “Instructable”.

Power on message and time announce files are provided. You can change these by simply by recording new .mp3 files and putting them on the music maker board micro SD card.

The clock is 3D printed and utilizes (1) Arduino Uno, (1) Music Maker MP3 shield, (1) ChronoDot real time clock, (1) RGB LCD keypad, (9) 3 mm LEDs, (1) voltage isolator and a few other components. A complete parts list is provided at the end of this “Instructable”.

The .stl files for printing the clock parts, Arduino code, wiring diagram, decal template and the audio files are located here. The clock was printed on a Lulzbot mini which has a print bed size of 150 mm x 150 mm. Due to the smaller print bed, some parts require gluing.

The entire clock was printed with HIPS filament with the exception of the pushbutton extensions that were printed with black ABS filament.

Step 1: Components - Arduino Uno R3 Controller

The Clock is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. The Arduino handles the interface to (9) four digit LED displays, (6) AM/PM LEDs, (1) MP3 Music Maker Shield, (1) RGB LCD pushbutton display and a Chronodot real time clock.

Step 2: Components - Arduino Proto Screwshield

Step 3: Components - ChronoDot Real Time Clock

Step 4: Components - Music Maker MP3 Shield

Step 5: Components - Audio Speakers

Step 6: Components - LED Displays

Step 7: Components - LED Backpack

Step 8: Components - SN74HC138N 3 – 8 Line Decoder

Step 9: Components - RGB LCD Shield

Step 10: Components - AM / PM LEDs

Step 11: Components - Power Supply

Step 12: Components - Panel Mount 2.1 MM DC Barrel Jack

Step 13: Components - LM7805 Voltage Stabilizer

Step 14: Components - Perma-Proto Breadboard

Step 15: Components - Filament

Step 16: Components - Wire

Step 17: Components - Paint

Step 18: Components - Screws / Washers

Step 19: Clock Decals / Design

Step 20: 3D Printing - BTTF_Pushbuttons.stl

Step 21: 3D Printing - BTTF_Pushbuttons.stl

Step 22: 3D Printing - BTTF_Top_Left_LCD.stl & BTTF_Top_Right.stl

Step 23: 3D Printing - BTTF_Front_Side_Left.stl & BTTF_Front_Side_Right.stl

Step 24: 3D Printing - BTTF_Speaker_Covers.stl

Step 25: 3D Printing - BTTF_Front_LED_Left.stl & BTTF_Front_LED_Right.stl

Step 26: 3D Printing - BTTF_Bottom_Left.stl & BTTF_Bottom_Right.stl

Step 27: 3D Printing - BTTF_Back_Left.stl & BTTF_Back_Right.stl

Step 28: 3D Printing - Assembly View 1 & Assembly View 2

Step 29: 3D Printing - Assembly View 3 & Assembly View 4

Step 30: 3D Printing - Assembly View 5

Step 31: 3D Printing - Assembly View 6 & Assembly View 7

Step 32: Construction - Glue the Top, Front and Bottom Halves

Step 33: Construction - Glue the Front Halves

Step 34: Construction - Glue the Top Halves

Step 35: Construction - Glue the Back Halves

Step 36: Construction - Glue the Bottom Halves

Step 37: Construction - Drill Guide Holes for LED Displays / Drill / Expand LED Mounting Holes

Step 38: Construction - Drill Guide Holes for RGB LCD Display

Step 39: Construction - Drill / Expand RGB LCD Pushbutton / Contrast Holes

Step 40: Construction - Layout the Left and Right Sides

Step 41: Construction - Insert the Speaker Covers and Speakers

Step 42: Construction - Glue the Enclosure

Step 43: Construction - Assemble the Enclosure

Step 44: Construction - Assemble the Enclosure

Step 45: Construction - Prepare the Enclosure for Painting

Step 46: Construction - Prepare the Enclosure for Painting

Step 47: Construction - Paint Enclosure

Step 48: Construction - Paint Enclosure

Step 49: Construction - Assemble Music Maker

Step 50: Construction - Wire and Mount the 4 Digit LED Displays

Step 51: Construction - Wire and Mount AM/PM LEDs

Step 52: Construction - Mount the Voltage Stabilizer

Step 53: Construction - Mount the Arduino Uno

Step 54: Construction - Mount the RGB LCD Display

Step 55: Construction - Wiring Diagram

Step 56: Construction - Wire the Perma-Proto Board

Step 57: Construction - Wire the Screwshield & Install Arduino

Step 58: Construction - Install Music Maker on Screwshield

Step 59: Construction - Mount /Wire DC Barrel Connector

Step 60: Construction - Install Decals

Step 61: Construction - Install Decals

Step 62: Construction - Attach Base / Bumpers

Step 63: Construction - Make Power Connection

Step 64: RGB LCD Operation

Step 65: RGB LCD Operation - Hour Increment / Decrement

Step 66: RGB LCD Operation - Minute Increment / Decrement

Step 67: RGB LCD Operation - Backlight & Contrast

Step 68: Time Displays

Step 69: Time Announcement

Step 70: Power Up Sequence

Step 71: Parts Listing


Arduino Uno R3 - Adafruit.com Product ID: 50

Adafruit "Music Maker" MP3 Shield for Arduino w/3W Stereo Amp - Adafruit.com Product ID: 1788

ChronoDot Real Time Clock - Adafruit.com Product ID: 255

Stereo Enclosed Speaker Set - 3W 4 Ohm - Adafruit.com Product ID: 1669

SD/MicroSD Memory Card (4 GB SDHC) - Adafruit.com Product ID: 102

Perma-Proto Half Sized Breadboard - Adafruit.com Product ID: 1609


Blinggasm Waterslide Decal Paper 10 Sheets Pack, Clear or White, Inkjet or Laser Printer Choose From Menu (WHITE FOR LASER PRINTER) - Amazon.com


OMNIHIL AC/DC 9V 2A High Quality Power Adapter - Amazon.com


SMAKN® L7805 LM7805 3-Terminal Voltage Stabilizer 5V Voltage Stabilizer Power Module - Amazon.com


Arduino Proto Screw Shield - Amazon.com



Paint - Rustoleum Forged Pewter

Screws - #2 x 3/8” and #4 x ½ “


Gray Hips Filament - Lulzbot.com Gray HIPS 3mm, 1kg, filament (ESUN)

Black ABS Filament - Lulzbot.com Black ABS 3mm, 1kg, filament

Glue (SCIGRIP Weld-On 3 Cement)


Glue (SCIGRIP Weld-On 3 Cement) - Tapplastics.com


Glue Applicators - Tapplastics.com



Bondo Glazing Putty

Back to the Future Contest

Second Prize in the
Back to the Future Contest



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest
    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest

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    Great build, Not sure how i missed this when the BTTF comp was on. Ive been wanting to build one of these for ages. Just looking at your 3d files and it seem like the front led left and right are of the same file.(both files have 2 columns of LEDs) Are you able to take a look and reupload the correct one?

    Wired up the LCD as per diagram and the backlight slightly lit but only a faint blue and no text but had squares filling the display on top row only and the bottom was blank, purchased another adafruit 714 but the same happened, tried the rgb example on its own and hello world and a number appeared which counted in seconds,put the BTTF sketch back on the board which compiles ok back on the Arduino uno and again, back light, no text, defiantly wired up as shown and as for multiple definition issue i never had one, downloaded the librarys and continued as administrator and clicked replace all for any duplicate files, i still have the complete working set of library's should any one need them. but i am stuck on the above comment if anyone can help

    1 reply

    If the clock circuit is not wired up and working the display will probably not show anything. The backlight on / off button may work but not 100% positive. Make sure you have the real time clock circuit working correctly. I am pretty sure that is your problem since the demo program from Adafruit works.

    Just curious, what did you have to do to avoid multiple definition issue?

    2 replies

    also, i used ide 1.56-r2 beta

    i got the library folders and examples and went through arduino ide verify it and sorting out the errors 1 by 1 and some files needed renaming to the the ones stated as errors then i removed robot control and it worked, for some reason, robot control file was making the sketch error each time until removed

    No problem, the only difference is the display is blue and not rgb do you cannot select a color

    It was before version 1.6.9. Search google for "Arduino first defined here" and you see several potential solutiuons.

    which arduino version did you use as i have all the librarys and examples but keep geeting this

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_LED_Backpack/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: multiple definition of `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::rightToLeft()'

    Adafruit RGB LCD Shield Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o:C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: first defined here

    Adafruit LED Backpack Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o: In function `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::Adafruit_RGBLCDShield()':

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_LED_Backpack/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: multiple definition of `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::autoscroll()'

    Adafruit RGB LCD Shield Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o:C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: first defined here

    Adafruit LED Backpack Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o: In function `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::Adafruit_RGBLCDShield()':

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_LED_Backpack/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: multiple definition of `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::noAutoscroll()'

    Adafruit RGB LCD Shield Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o:C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: first defined here

    Adafruit LED Backpack Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o: In function `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::Adafruit_RGBLCDShield()':

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_LED_Backpack/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: multiple definition of `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::createChar(unsigned char, unsigned char*)'

    Adafruit RGB LCD Shield Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o:C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: first defined here

    Adafruit LED Backpack Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o: In function `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::Adafruit_RGBLCDShield()':

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_LED_Backpack/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: multiple definition of `Adafruit_RGBLCDShield::readButtons()'

    Adafruit RGB LCD Shield Library\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp.o:C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\libraries\Adafruit_RGBLCDShield/Adafruit_RGBLCDShield.cpp:54: first defined here

    collect2.exe: error: ld returned 1 exit status

    Error compiling.

    i have tried 3 different IDE versions with different results


    I updated the STL files and uploaded the files so they sit flat since a user was having an issue.

    Very, Very, VERY impressive! Wow - a great job and excellent instructions!

    One suggestion to help make it even more 'authentic' would be to use Dymo labels like the original in the movie, instead of printing decals.

    Again, a super job!

    1 reply

    Thanks fro the link!. I thought Dymo's were extinct. Only $9.20 on Amazon and $6.59 for labels and I am all set. The decals are kind of a pain and this would make things more authentic so I just placed my order for the Dymo.

    Great job man! Thanks a lot for sharing it ... my daughter will love it!

    1 reply

    I appreciate the feedback. Be sure to breadboard the circuit as much as you can before you do the final assembly. I created the electrical schematic / designed on the fly as I built the clock (not a recommended practice) I do not think there are any typos in the schematic but if there are, it is easy to correct things in the breadboard stage.

    Awesome: Great detail, great pictures, well-done! Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    Thanks for checking it out!

    Very impressive. Thanks for sharing. Some day I'll make it ;)

    1 reply

    Thanks for the feedback!