A while ago, I stumbled upon a neat futuristic looking LED DIY clock kit. The board itself was a great experience to build and my first SMD soldering project.
A finished board is cool, but not very useful without a case.
You could consider buying a transparent acrylic case, but I opted to make one from some stuff lying around the shed.
Step 1: The PCB
If you would want to build this clock, be warned. Some of the SMD components are really small. Here you see a transistor with three terminals.
I used a trick found on Youtube. Place a tiny bit of solder on 1 of the contacts on the board, fiddle the component in place, hold it there with a cocktailstick and tip it with your soldering iron. From here you can solder the component's other terminal(s), making sure you got enough solder on each terminal (including the first one you touched)
Step 2: Finished PCB
The first picture show all SMD components welded to the PCB. The ring of 60 LED's are also soldered there.
I chose to order transparent, extra bright LED's in three different colours, costing $1,- for 100 pieces of 1 colour. This gives the clock an even cooler look than the standard red and green LED's
The second picture shows a finished board.
You can find a lot of info online about this PCB kit and about SMD soldering. This is more about building the frame.
Step 3: The Front
I started off with sawing a piece of transparent acrylic fiberglass to 11cm in square. This is slightly bigger than the PCB, measuring around 8,5cm.
The sawing is easy done with a jigsaw. I used a foldable workbench like seen on the photo and sawed above the tiny opening in between the vice shelves. Take it easy with the sawing! Use a new and sharp sawblade with fine teeth.
Leave the protective sheets on the fiberglass and use eye-protection!
Step 4: Woodwork
These are the wooden pieces that form the frame together.
The PCB is around 8,5cm in square. As inner size i chose 9cm for the frame. The material used is wood used on scaffolding. (very populair in i.e. DIY garden furniture)
These boards i had lying around were 30mm thick and measured about 200 by 500mm. Because these boards are somewhat big, i sawed them to size, using only manual operated tools. Circular sawes are great for neat woodwork, but i like the imperfect way this frame came together.
The top and bottom piece is 150x50mm, The left and right piece is 90x50mm
Next i made a slot for the fiberglass to sit neatly in. On all the pieces, saw a slot of about 10mm deep, wide enough for the fiberglass to sit into. The glass i bought is 4mm thick, so i sawed two slots next to each other and hacked the remaining wood out somewhat, then filing it out and sanding it down. My slot is about 10mm measured from the edge. The slot should be deep enough for the fiberglass to fall into, but do not saw too deep. You might end up with a gap between the wood and the fiberglass.
Make sure that your finished frame does not put stress on the figerglass! It may take a few days, but fiberglass under tension will get (small) cracks. So if your frame is put together the right way, the fiberglass should be abe to move around a little bit. You can decide to glue it in place during final assembly.
I also made a backplate measuring about 145x145. Indeed a bit smaller so it's practically invisible from the front.
In the backplate there are holes for the USB connector and the three ajustment buttons. I used long bolts to be able to press the buttons on the PCB without taking the whole thing apart.
These steps can also be used to make your own photoframe. :D
Step 5: Finished Result.
After sanding and smoothing the wood, chose a paint or lacquer you like to futher personalise your frame. I chose wood oil because i had it lying around.
On the video, the board is powered through a powerbank, but this board can be hooked up to any USB powersource available. It's now permanetly powered by a wall-charger in my shed.