I don't know what it is about clocks and watches, but it seems that every second projects is one form of the two. This project follows along in the footsteps too. I have made smaller clocks before, but nothing of the scale of a typical wall clock. This is due mainly to the high price of fabricating one off large PCBs.

I wanted to create something large, not too big. I also wanted to keep the cost down. I managed to solve these problems by making various design choices, which will be covered in detail in the following steps.

I got some initial inspiration from adafruits 12 pixel neopixel ring, and now I notice that they sell a 60 pixel version which wasn't available back when I designed this, but comes as 4 segments to create a full ring. This would be an easy way to create a similar clock, without the need for making PCBs and soldering LEDs and small SMD parts.

I showed my design off over at the 43oh forums at the first prototype, the users there are great. They offered hints and design advice, aswell as helping source cheaper LEDs and PCBs, by buying in bulk via a group buy. If you have a projects that you are working on you should think about taking the time to display it somewhere online. Another great reason, since writing is a creative process, it can definitely help you process ideas and thoughts if you ever get stuck on a project.

Please note, I am writing this more as a project log rather than a tutorial, Basically because I will only make one of these following the steps outlined here exactly, and I know that if I make it again it will be different, and different again after that. Files for the PCBs and BOMs will be provided at the end, I would encourage you to get the PCBs fabricated and solder up a ring if you think you are up for it, I'd love to see your own artistic spin on it. :D

Step 1: PCBs

The design idea was to create a ring, since a few of the cheap PCB manufactures will send you 5 or 10 pieces of your single design, I figured it would be pointless to buy a 20cmx20cm PCB, and then waste 80% of it. Prototyping with boards that large is much more expensive than small 5cm squared boards. Not to mention that I would have paid for 5 pieces, and would only be using 1.

The solution was to create a small arched segment, that would be identical, and could be daisy-chained together. Initial designs involved a data/clock/latch/power data connection between boards. each board would then need a serial shift register and some driving electronics to drive the LEDs, this solution would work perfectly fine, except it would only provide a binary output to the LEDs. I wanted more than colours.

Moving on to another thought, LED drivers. This would have basically been a similar electronics setup to the equinox clock. Which I actually took some inspiration from. This would have used up alot of space on the PCBs and would have actually increased the total cost quite a lot.

<p>This is an excellent idea. Am I the only one that thought of this though?</p>
<p>Kit Kit Kit Kit Kit Kit !</p><p>Alright, I won't bug you for another year.</p>
<p>it is very nice project.</p><p>Can I buy a kit ?</p><p>SOM NATH ROY</p>
<p>Are you planning on selling this as a kit or something? - very nice work!</p>
<p>The circuit principle diagram can give me?</p>
<p>Very nice project. I noticed your other youtube video regarding some 'damaged' WS2811 devices in a finished clock. I'm curious about that - what leads you to believe it isn't just a manufacturing defect that suffered from early failure? I do love the cost and form factor of these devices, but the fact that it's a near-ripoff of a high-quality (and cost) part and there doesn't seem to be any corporate accountability, brand recognition, or useful warranty from the available sources scares me from using them in my projects. Especially in projects where repair of failed parts would be difficult or impossible after completion!</p>
<p>You do make a good point. I have in the past found bad LEDs in bulk packs I've bought from China. However in those cases the LEDs were DOA or did not perform as well as the good LEDs from day 1. Since I know that every LED on this ring was working before I covered them in resin that leads me to believe that this is not the case. A more likely scenario is that a lead of the LED wasn't soldered and that the resin managed to separate it from the PCB. <br><br>Quality control is actually quite decent. I don't think you should let that get in the way of creating an amazing project with these LEDs.</p>
Possible, but actually it's entirely possible for a working component like this to fail early due to poor quality control at the factory. The hairlike bond wires between chips and leads are especially weak sometimes, since they aren't even soldered. Or a bubble in the encapsulant, plus some thermal stress after using it for a while, is enough to do it. I used to deal with defects of all kinds for a major mfr. of LED product - which is why they never shipped anything without burning it in for at least 24 hours. That costs money, and is something a company that doesn't need to defend its brand reputation in consumers' eyes just doesn't bother with.<br><br>Also, I've seen enough point failures in cheap LED strips after some weeks/months of operation that it's quite clear to me that they simply aren't made to the same standards that some higher-priced products have for quality control. Not so much an issue if one is just making a cool thing for their own enjoyment, as with this community. But more and more I see folks building these into things for resale, and that's what really concerns me.<br><br>So that's why I asked you why you thought it was your fault and not an early failure. I guess if it last worked immediately before being covered in resin and you can't see if it's really soldered or not then you may have identified the problem correctly in this case.<br><br>One trick, which may not work if you got resin between connections but can help with 'bad' solder joints in hard-to-reach places - try using a heat gun on the back side of the PCB, if the front side is inaccessible.
<p>Looks great but I think it would benefit from having a nice case to enlose it. It also might look better facing forward no?</p>
<p>Very nice project. Nice pictures, nice instructables. I like it. The capacitive on the edge of the PCB is a good idea.</p>
<p>Would vibration &quot;drive out&quot; the bubbles from underneath, or is the resin too viscous?</p>
<p>That might work, resin is quite thick. But as it is hardening it does tend to drive the bubbles out. If I was more careful in placing the ring, I think the bubbles could have been avoided.</p>
<p>Cool clock! I love the 'make it up as you go' approach to the project. (It's how I usually work too :p)<br><br>I have no idea if you can cast resin in plaster? If so you could cast a 3D print or any other model of your ring in plaster. <br>It would make the ring part repeatable even if you have to destroy the mold to get the ring out, as you stil have the master to make a new mold.</p>
<p>Maybe coating it with the same kind of sanding sealer or varnish suggested by @switch62, below, for the MDF mold? Although, I suppose plaster could soak up as many coats (or more?) as the wood, and its surface might disintegrate under the wrong kind of &quot;chemical assault&quot;... </p><p>Anyone know for sure?</p>
<p>I didn't mind if the mold was a one time use deal. But if more were to be made then of course a new solution would have to be made. </p><p>I believe that silicon is used for molds like this, where the formed object is hard. That was you can just peel away the mold.</p>
<p>neat! but i'd never know what time it is. i was raised on digital clocks and i always have to look at a clock that does have numbers and think, &quot;now if the big hand went to 12, that would make the little hand...&quot;</p>
<p>I was raised with analog clocks. But I know what you mean, I was like that with 24 hours time for so long. I had to think about taking 12 from anytime in the afternoon.</p>
<p>Absolutely gorgeous!</p><p>Here's a thought: Looks like it wouldn't take much in the way of laser-cutting, vacuum-molding and/or 3D printing to add a &quot;Stargate&quot; escutcheon...</p>
<p>Two words: &quot;Very Clever&quot; &quot;KIT!!!!&quot; (okay... those were 3 words)</p>
<p>Beautiful, I love the use of capacitive touch. It looks like it works very well!</p>
<p>It looks great!</p><p>I am definitely going to build myself one using the NeoPixel ring, thank you for the great idea and the inspiration.</p><p>Unfortunately, the ring is out of stock so I wrote myself one in Processing while I wait for more stock. (I can send the code to whomever wants it.)</p>
<p>great! How many hours did you need? </p>
<p>I'm not entirely sure. I probably spent about half the time planning/thinking and the other half actually doing stuff. I also never sat down and worked on it continuously for long periods. To put a number on it, probably around 40-80 hours over a two months or so. </p>
<p>fantastic and detailed documentation and the result is great. Thank you for sharing.</p>
<p>Titanic work... hats Off...</p>
<p>Great project, great clock. I love that you designed it all yourself.</p><p>I bet you were very nervous trying to get the ring out of the mould, been there ...</p><p>... word of advice for next time you make a mould with MDF. Use several coats (3-4) of sanding sealer or varnish. MDF is like a sponge, especially on the edges and where it has been cut. The sanding sealer will stop the MDF from absorbing the resin and give a smoother surface on the casting. You can get a spray on mould release that works better than Vaseline. To stop leaks between the layers of the mould you could use a thin layer of moulding clay (has oil/wax added, won't go hard). When you clamp the mould together it will squeeze out and you can remove the excess with a craft knife.</p>
<p>Thanks, I could have actually done more research on resin casting. That is very valuable information. I didn't put alot of effort into sealing the wood because I knew I could use the router to remove the ring. </p><p>Next time I do some casting, I'll invest in some sanding sealer. Would save alot of time, and the results would probably be better.</p>
<p>super fantastic!</p>
<p>Very nice work!</p>
<p>Wow, what a great job! I love it!</p>
Cool! I have always wanted to make something like that!
<p>Wow... that is very cool :)</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Gregory S. Davill Fine Stationary. I enjoy. Electronics. I do.
More by Greeegification:Rainbow Ring Wall Clock 
Add instructable to: