Digital Clock #1: A Clockwork Mahogany: Making a digital clock

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Blog entry by Wes Grimes posted 09-18-2011 04:53 AM 3438 reads 9 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Digital Clock series Part 2: Digital Clock LEDs »

I don’t know what time it is!!! If only I had a clock!
But not just any clock. A four foot long digital clock made out of antique mahogany wood. Guess it is time to make some sawdust!

I bought a board of reclaimed mahogany from woodcraft:

Then I created a pattern for the led segments:

I used a scroll saw to cut the segments out of the wood, and a plunge router to hollow out the back side of the wood:

Add some wood varnish to the top side:

I used little pieces of brass super glued into holes that I drilled into the digits to connect them:

Here is the result:

HH:MM:SS (okay, this picture is terrible…)

It is all well and good, but kind of hard to tell time with no electronics.

Take some plexiglass:

Cut it to the shape of the LED segments (I used the scroll saw):

Get some LEDs. I am using blue:

Drill holes in the edge of the plexiglass and super glue the LEDs in the holes:

Sand one side of the plexiglass and paint the other side with metallic craft paint:

Apply some voltage:

The two bright LEDs will be hidden behind the wood, so that the LED segment will be nice and smoothly lit.

The whole thing will be wired up to an Arduino controller and various microchips.

I now have to build 45 more LED segments…

Updates to follow.

-- Wes, Garland, TX

9 comments so far

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3708 days

#1 posted 09-18-2011 05:34 AM

I have wanted to do something like this for a while too what is the overall size of the display??

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View Wes Grimes's profile

Wes Grimes

38 posts in 2441 days

#2 posted 09-18-2011 05:46 AM

Each numeric digit is 6”w x 9”h. The colons are 3”w x 9”h. This makes the wood width 42”.
The brass tubing adds a total of 6 inches. The total width is 48”.

-- Wes, Garland, TX

View souichiro's profile


369 posts in 3343 days

#3 posted 09-18-2011 05:53 AM

I love it! Can’t wait to see how this comes out. I’ve always wanted to do a super large 7-segment. Keep us posted, and thanks for sharing :)

-- Dale, Oregon

View MShort's profile


1789 posts in 3416 days

#4 posted 09-18-2011 03:20 PM

Very cool. I will look forward to seeing the finish product.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Wes Grimes's profile

Wes Grimes

38 posts in 2441 days

#5 posted 09-19-2011 12:26 AM

And here comes the LED army…

-- Wes, Garland, TX

View flippedcracker's profile


91 posts in 2451 days

#6 posted 09-20-2011 02:24 AM

definitely looking forward to the finished product.

View Wes Grimes's profile

Wes Grimes

38 posts in 2441 days

#7 posted 09-23-2011 08:11 PM

-- Wes, Garland, TX

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3753 days

#8 posted 09-24-2011 04:36 PM

Way Cool!!!

Built a digital clock from scratch- PCBs and all, back in the early 70’s. Used a dedicated clock chip and 7 segment displays. Still running.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View sras's profile


4797 posts in 3127 days

#9 posted 09-24-2011 05:16 PM


-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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