There are so many ways to tell the time. DIYers have been doing clocks since the Ancient Egypt (obelisks lacked portability, thou). Every modern maker has a clock amongst her first projects. I have done some myself, including a fibonacci clock, a wordclock with a fancy green matrix effect and an unreleased project that hopefully will see the light someday soon.
But recently I came back to the idea behind the wordclock before, to extend it in different ways:
Replace the ATMega328P with an ESP8266 (NTP support and user interaction)
Smaller sizes (8×8 LED matrices)
Smaller PCB, less buttons
Add buzzer for alarms
Replace the 3D printed part with a wooden grid cut in laser
Completely closed enclosure, better presentation
Fix some issues with the original board (like the lack of a beefy capacitor across the LED matrix power lines).
Clocks are top projects for the maker community. There are tons of different ways to show or tell time. Or write time. Wordclocks are a subset of them by its own. You can find other wordclocks at instructables, for instance, or buy one from thinkgeek or from a local jewelry for just 450€. Mmm… well maybe that’s a little bit on the expensive side…
Recently I’ve been doing things with clocks and WS2812 LEDs (a.k.a. NeoPixels). My interest started with Philippe Chrétien’s Fibonacci Clock campaign at Kickstarter. I thought: “Wow! That’s cool AND freaking freak! I want one”. But the $100 and the instructable he himself had done before about building your own made me decide to try it. Anyway, that’s a different story.
That project led to this one. Because suddenly I happened to have 9 spare boards with an atmega328, an RTC, an SDCard slot, some nice buttons and the circuitry to drive a bunch of NeoPixels. I also happened to have a couple of LED matrices (you know, the kind of stuff you have in your bedroom drawer). So first I built a clone of the The Game Frame Pixel Art Project. It was great and my kids loved the pixelart. But I’m not going to talk about that project either.