The Weasley Word Clock




Introduction: The Weasley Word Clock

I'm going to make a case with words that will light up when I'm at a certain location (school, for example).

The idea came from this IMGUR (since I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd) and this one I decided to combine these ideas to create something a little more fitting for my skills.

I created this instructable for a school assignment and for this reason I will be focussing more on the building of the box and circuits than the actual location based events. I will probably add those later.

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Step 1: Requirements

The following things are required:


Arduino UNO
Arduino WiFi-shield
IFTTT account

LED lights
220 ohm resistors

Soldering kit

3D printer


The lasercutter will be used to cut the case, which will be made of wood and designed with Makercase. To design the words and an extra plate to hold the LEDs I will use Illustrator.

De Arduino UNO and WiFi-shield will be used to receive data from IFTTT and control the LEDs. The circuits for the LEDs will be soldered using the soldering kit. This is to connect the resistors to the LEDs etc.

The 3D printer will be used to create a holder for the case and for some holders inside the case. The holders self will be design using Tinkercad.

The glue will be used to glue the box and the holders.

Step 2: Step 2: MoSCoW

In the end the box will have to light up based on your location. But for the course I'm following this hasn't the highest priority. For this reason my MoSCow-analysis will focus more on making the box, holders and the circuits for the LEDs.

Must have:

Box with words cut out
LED lights

Should have:

Something to make it stand a little tilted or hang on a wall

Could have:

Connection with IFTTT

Would have:


Step 3: Design

This is the first quick sketch of the design, to get an idea of the final product.

The design is based on a box created by MakerCase. In the middle will be a holder for the LED lights that will be kept on it's place by a L-shaped holder in created with a 3D-printer.

This is a quick sketch and the design will probably change a little while I'm starting to create the design in Illustrator to better fit my needs.

Step 4: Case Design in Illustrator

I created a design for the case with the use of

After this I added the words I wanted on the front of the case using Illustrator.

I also added an extra plate to cut out a little smaller than the front (6mm smaller) to fit in the box. This is the plate that will hold the LEDs in their place.

The Illustrator file can be downloaded here, I also added an PNG because the Illustrator-file can't be viewed in the browser... At least not in mine...

Step 5: Cutting the Box

The next step is cutting the box using the lasercutter.

From this step I learned something new: not all fonts are lasercutter-friendly. Something to keep in mind for the next time...

Step 6: Designing the L-shaped Holders

For the design of the L-shaped holders I used Tinkercad (

I made the L from two boxes and grouped them. The .stl is uploaded with this step. It's nothing fancy but is does the trick.

Step 7: 3D-printing the L-shaped Holders

There is not much to say about this step. Just print them!

Step 8: Create the Circuits for the LEDs

Now this step was a bit of a pain in the ass. Every LED needs it's own resistor, otherwise some will light up brighter than the others.

I have chosen to connect the LEDs in parellel instead of a chain because this way one LED can break without taking down the rest of them as well.

I tested these circuits using a breadboard first and the schematic for this is uploaded with this step for your viewing pleasure.

Every word has it's own parallel chain of LEDs exactly like the one above and every chain is connected to another pin (7-13).

Step 9: Soldering the Circuits

Not much to say with this step except that I used an extra wire instead of the breadboard this time.

Step 10: Code for the Arduino

Now we need some code for the Arduino to turn the LEDs on or off.

As a starting point I used the Blink example code and modified it so fit my needs. For now we want the Arduino to switch between and turn the previous pin off. This way the words will light up one by one.

The LED's for every word are connected to one pin (pin 7 - 13) and all come together in the same ground pin.

I put up the code here for download so you can check it out, even though there are possibly more elegant ways to do it than this, using an array for example.

Step 11: Putting It All Together

The next step is putting it all together and checking it out.

So first step is to glue the L-shaped holders in the box. The LEDs I used are around 1cm in size, so remember to keep some distance from the front of the box.

After that I put the plate with LEDs in I added more L-shaped holders to the back, just to make sure the plate will stay in it's place (even though it's probably unable to move since it's pretty stuck already).

After this I connected the Arduino to check out the result.

This is the moment I noticed the Arduino would take up more space than expected and it needs to be powered by a USB-cable (forgot about that, oops) also the wiring took up more space than expected. So in this step I decided to remove the Arduino to the outside of the box.

Step 12: Finishing Touches

With the Arduino unable to fit in the box I made some changes. I decided to drill a hole in the back so the wires could come out (see photos). In the end this turned out to be quite a good thing since I would like to use the Arduino for more things and this way I don't have to destroy the whole box when I want to take the Arduino out.

Also I added something for the box to stand a little tilted. For this I used the stand of an old photo frame (once again, see pictures).

Step 13: Improvements

During the process and looking at the final product I came across a few points that could be improved. I will add them here for now so you can keep them in mind and I might revisit them later when I start making improvements.

Use a lasercutter friendly font or supportlines

Certain letters like the O will be cut out completely. This can be avoided by using font that is lasercutter friendly (you can find a lot of them with a simple Google search) or by adding supportlines to keep the inside of your letters in place.

Separate the words

When one row of LEDs light up their light is also visible behind words above or under them. I could have avoided this simply by adding something to separate them from each other.

Add some behind the front

Right now you are looking directly at the LEDs in the box. I think it would be more pretty when you add something you can see through behind the front, maybe glass or perspex?

Make the Arduino fit

When you really want to use this product it would be better to have to Arduino inside the case instead of outside. Making the sides a little larger could fix this problem.

Use a battery pack for the Arduino

This way you don't have to keep the Arduino connected to your laptop.

Add a button

If you want the product to be (at least a little) useful in it's current state you could add a button to switch between the locations. This way you manually change it to the location you are heading before you leave the house, so your roommates, or mom, know where you are and don't have to call you.

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    2 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you!