Hack a Digital Frame Into a 2$ Clock

Introduction: Hack a Digital Frame Into a 2$ Clock

About: Dad, maker, dreamer, hacker, painter.

Are you tired of that 2$ kitchen clock?
Is the design really as pleasing as it could be?
Does anyone even know how to read these things anymore?

I know that I don't. I also know that I could use something up there to divert my attention away from actually trying to tell the time. Something to give more meaning to the meaningful glances that I always offer the clock in hopes that it might offer me something meaningful in return. I knew what to do.

Hack a digital frame into that thing! Yeah! That would spice things up, and if not, well....I never really liked the clock anyways. It is at the very least a great way to send a message to your spouse that you require a geekier clock, and she will have to embrace this.

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Step 1: Gather Some Stuff

This project is basically just a small digital frame hacked into a cheap kitchen clock. I got my clock at the dollar store for 2$, and the frame was a christmas gift that hadn't found a home yet. At 3.5 inches, it could hardly be a better place for it.

So you will need
  • a cheap clock with a decent depth to the casing.
  • A cheap digital frame small enough to fit inside your clock.
  • Tools (x-acto knife, marking device, screwdriver)
  • paper or card-stock to make a new clock face.
  • a hot glue gun and glue

Step 2: Gut the Clock

Start by removing the battery and the screws on the backside of the clock. This will allow you to dissemble the clock. Be careful with the glass, the edges are sharp and it is glass and therefore fragile.

Pull firmly to remove each of the clock hands and then remove the nut holding the timepiece in place. Remove the timepiece assembly.

Finally you will need to remove the face. Mine was thin and glued in place, a heat gun may have helped to remove it in one piece. I was not concerned, how hard can a clock face be to cut out?

Step 3: A Hole in Time

Now we will examine our digital frame and see what we need to do to make it fit. As it turns out not too much.

I took the whole thing apart, but I like to look. In the end it was only necessary to remove the front bezel so it could lie flat and to remove a little bit of plastic that overhung the edge of the clock face.

Once I had the bezel off and the rest put back together, it was a simple matter of eyeballing some measurements and cutting out some plastic.

I eyeballed, and it shows. Use a ruler for cleaner lines. The plastic was brittle, so don't rush. Or do as I did and really 'hack' a hole. It won't show, it will all be hidden.

Step 4: Get Crafty

Just a couple of dabs of hot glue in the right places will hold the digital frame in position.

Once the glue has set it is time to put together a face. I used three different coloured pieces of card-stock glued together in a clock-esque manner.

Step 5: Get It Together

Now it is simply a matter of replacing your time keeping components, and screwing it all back together. I swapped out the original hands as I liked the contrast of the red seconds hand and the shape of these hands better.
Replace the clock battery.
Load up a SD card or a USB drive up with pictures, mount it on the wall. Enjoy.

I can read it as well as I could when it had numbers, which is to say that I still can't be bothered. The nice thing is, is that I no longer have to. I just need to appreciate the photo that is currently on display and then say something like...
“Sure, I will get to it in, “ as I glance meaningfully at the clock, “oh, about five minutes or so.”, winking inwardly to myself with the knowledge that I still haven't a clue and wasn't listening, but what a nice photo that was..

So there you have it. A digital frame hacked into a clock.

Share and enjoy.

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool idea. Make clock watching more interesting, I could use one of these where I work.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    We all need more interesting clocks. Time watching is a very old tradition.