This abstract clock was an excuse to practice a few different techniques and make use of a 3D print I made during a work experience position a couple years back at Inition, a 3D services company in London. The initial idea was a simple shadow box, but it grew into this



The print from the placement was a lithophone inspired design using a portion of the London tube map surrounding Inition’s offices, the 11cm full colour design has the material thin for each of the linesĀ  for a light from behind to shine through. The black border frames the design and acted at an integrated purge block to keep the central design from bleeding.


I digitally experimented with a few different layouts for the clock. The print wasn’t made with this project in mind so this was up in the air. I decided to have each of the lines fill up through the day as I liked the visual, giving a vague feeling of time passing with a glance, even at the cost of accuracy, something that a binary display could give. Inkscape was used to run the evaluate potential design.


The SMD LEDs are held in place using an FDM 3D printed guide layer. After , which had the SVG sent into openSCAD before printing


wired up with enamel coated wire, which allowed for stripping in place using the soldering iron, the guide layer took some abuse due to my inexperience with SMD work but it held up. In retrospect a PCB would’ve been easier to wire, especially if I were to produce more but this technique has legs for one off items or lighting on complex 3D geometry.


An ESP8266 was used drive the clock. This became the replacement to an Arduino board with an RTC chip as I wanted the clock to adhere to daylight savings without intervention, and I liked the potential for future IoT integrations. A max4734 is used to run the multiplexing to free up pins and simplify brightness control.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *