In this instructable we will be recreating a clock inspired by Alvin Aronson's original design. When I first saw this clock I was very impressed by how clean an elegant the design was I immediately wanted to recreate this effect.

Alvin Aronson's original design (made with corian and wood):

I hope some of you feel the same and use this as a guide to be one-step closer to having one of your own

Essentially, we have a seven segment clock where instead of LED's we have digits moving in and out of the pane, the shadow created by these digits will allow the user to read the time against the white on white digits. By using 28 servos, we can use a arduino to first process the current time and then push the digits out accordingly through the motor controller. more will be explained in the later pages.

I've tried to keep the parts as simple as possible, using readily available parts without a deep knowledge of electronics one can begin to explore creating their own clock. I do not have 3D printer so construction will be done by way of papercrafting.

Step 1: Gather your materials

Here are the things you'll need. I intended to fit this in the "kit contest" category so i've limited the build to simple parts without need for soldering. Alternatively. Arduino Uno and motor-controller can be replaces with Arduino Mega which wall allow direct control of up to 64 servos. The build costs cost me around $130 in parts. Keep in mind you can reuses the parts to create other great projects like a Hexapod!

The Electronics Kit :
Arduino Uno
DS1307 or RTC clock breakout- keeps track of time
Servo motor controller - controls servo motors
28 Servos - they rotate 180 degrees

Hobby aluminum tubing* - To allow digits to slide smoothly ; need a inner and outer tube
Double sided tape
Sticky Pads
Paper Clip

*Or use a pack of cheap lead pencils

Papercutter - Shiloutte Portrait (optional)
Glue Gun
Dremel - to cut tubing (optional)
Knife (optional)

<p>Awesome project!!! Definitely unique and awe inspiring. </p><p>(This reminds me of Daniel Rozin's <a href="http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/05/an-interactive-fur-mirror-by-daniel-rozin/">interactive fur mirror</a>. I think you may like it!)</p>
<p>where can i buy this???? must have !!!</p>
<p>such an awesome thing</p>
<p>Do you have the original Illustrator files. I will like to get it laser cut. Thinking of using birch or plywood</p>
<p>This is so awesome!</p>
As far as solenoid repulsion goes, you could push out the digit with a light spring, and draw the digit in with a solenoid. Not sure how feasible that would be, just thinking.
<p>how much would all the servos cost?</p>
<p>You can get servos here: <a href="http://www.banggood.com/4Sets-TowerPro-SG92R-Micro-Digital-Servo-9g-2_5kg-For-RC-Airplane-p-973301.html?p=NY231218164622015065" rel="nofollow">Micro Servos</a></p>
wow, hey thanks man i've been looking everywhere for them for my rc plane but there always expensive, so thx.<br>
what if you use solenoids instead of servos<br>(or rip off an old relay switch).<br>you are not lifting heavy loads(its just paper) so a relay should work(if you use the solenoid inside it).<br>that should save a hell lot of money spent on servos.
Have you seen BMWs project car, named 'Gina'? You could use a single sheet of rubberised membrane room cover the face, and have the servos pushing out 28 shapes to create the clock. This would seal it from dust, too.<br><br>Awesome ibble, very cool idea!
Hi Again <br>Is there any chance of posting the code?
Sorry didn't see this. I've been quite busy with work but i'll definitely be putting up the refined code and other updates late August if not, early September before school starts. <br> <br>If you have any questions before then just message me
Hola. Any updates on this?<br>Can you please post the full code here. Tnx
Thanks very much, I look forward to it.
<p>this is awesome. Can you tell me how loud the servos are when the time changes? Is love to put in my living room but would need it to be very quiet. Thx!</p>
Build it in an acoustic dampening box, you'd never hear it then
<p>Is there anyone who makes these that I can buy one from? I don't know how to do anything of this stuff but I want one!</p>
That's the joy of instructables, you can learn a lot from trying!
<p>very Cool (Y) </p>
<p>Simply WOWWW</p>
<p>is the best invention that I have seen in my entire cavity really thank you for sharing</p>
<p>excellent, it looks so caaooll as well.</p>
<p>magnificent work. I raise my hat.</p>
<p>Can you post the Silhouette files?</p>
<p>There is a mistake in Line 47: you named it </p><p>datePast.minute() == dateNow.hour() the right definition is:</p><p>if(!(datePast.hour() == dateNow.hour() &amp;&amp; datePast.minute() == dateNow.minute() ))</p><p>That&acute;s all</p>
<p>That is an insane amount of very small servos. Nicely done.</p>
Hi alstroemeria, <br>Is there any chance of getting the complete code? I am not so proficient in writing arduino sketches, so it would be a great help. Currently, I cannot see how all the 28 servos are controlled. Before I start to buy all the necessary parts, I want to be sure that everything will work efficiently. <br>Thanks for your help in advance!
<p>i beleve the code here is the complete code</p><p>the servo's are moved by setting the position in the setup (90 in and 110 out)</p><p>and then calling it in the switch (numberToDisplay){</p>
<p>i beleve the code here is the complete code</p><p>the servo's are moved by setting the position in the setup (90 in and 110 out)</p><p>and then calling it in the switch (numberToDisplay){</p>
Hi alstroemeria <br> <br>is there a way to have this dispaly 12 hour tme instead of 24 hour. Im not very good with the programing end of things so i was wondering if it is even possible to do this but i was thinking of putting a dot in the upper right hand corner that move in and out to show the differents between AM and PM.
Love this instructable, definitely my personal favourite. I'd still be really interested to get the code you used to make this clock - or maybe just some guidance on good sites to learn how to recreate the code required? Thanks
非常有创意 惊叹了
what do you do with the serial connection on the SSC board? how does it connect to the arduino?
Hi, this is awesome! can you send the completed code please? tnx
That's a really cool clock! Have you considered adding magnetic coils &amp; neodymium magnets.
I think the pic says it all
i would love to see one made of wood.. <br>thanks for sharing
I'll be using stationary magnets and coils on the back of the segments as servos will be noisy and here in Egypt the cheapest servo is 80 pounds (around 13 USD) that is alot when 28 servos.
I really love this idea... I've kinda been stalking this instructable since you posted it... All the comments and ideas are great...<br/>Great work... Looking forward to future improvements while I start on mine
Hello alstroemeria, <br> <br>You describe here the programming steps but not the actual code. <br>I'm not much as a programmer, can jou upload the code? <br> <br>Thanks, <br> <br>Henk
Sorry didn't see this. I've been quite busy with work but i'll definitely be putting up the refined code and other updates late August if not, early September before school starts. <br> <br>If you have any questions before then just message me.
Hello alstroemeria, <br> <br>Thanks for the reply, I will check your instructable again in september. <br>I'm looking foreward to it. <br> <br>Thanks, <br> <br>Henk
Alderin, If the solenoids are small enough, I imagine you could just use a basic transistor for each one, like a pn2222 or something? I know that's enough to protect an Arduino from the inductive load of a toy motor or 5v relay. At ~$0.15 each, it would definitely be affordable...
This is what I thought of with two coils for a solenoid. What do you think?
If the magnet is limited in travel to half the length of the coil, only one reversible coil is needed: The magnet will seek either the center of the coil when the coil matches the polarity of the magnet, or the end when the coil polarity is opposite. Forcing the magnet to stop before passing the center of the coil, with a plug of some sort, will ensure it moves one direction when moving to the end of the coil. <br> <br>Your design reminds me of a multi-coil solenoid design I pondered that made the solenoid multi-positional: If a stack of coils are energized in the same direction, they magnetically act as one coil, so energizing two sets opposite each-other, the magnet will seek the spot between the opposing sets of coils. That's the theory anyway, and would allow for as many positions as coils in the stack. Combined with a decoder-driver and some kind of positional feedback, it could act like a linear servo (without all the gear noise). Drawbacks: it would take a lot of power compared to a servo, and it would be very electrically noisy instead of audibly noisy.
What you want and attempt to do there is called a bistable solenoid. <br> <br>These exist in two different types: <br>- You have one coil, that has a gap at some point in the middle. This cap is filled with a constant magnet. The polarity decides the direction then. <br> <br>- You divide it into two coils, with a gap in the middle for a constant magnet. This design is _very_ practical since it doesn't require a H-bridge in order to control it in both directions. <br> <br>Both designs are used the following way: you apply power and the plunger moves into the desired direction. Once the power is off, the solenoid will keep the position! Hooray, this is what we need. <br>Winding solenoids isn't as hard as many might expect, I'm about to write a Instructable which also goes through the different designs.
I couldn't find a good picture except this one. It's german, but you should understand it in combination with my description above:<br> http://www.magnetbasics.de/hubmagnete/bistabil.gif

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