If you want to know the time, you use a clock, a watch, or a smartphone. If you want to measure the length of an object, you use a tape measure. But it appears this tape measure didn’t get the memo, as it’s actually a clock.
Alex Fiel and Anna Lynton made this unusual timepiece that uses its measuring tape to indicate the current time. They built it by ripping apart an ordinary tape measure, then installed a custom 3D-printed enclosure, along with an Arduino Nano controller, a stepper motor, and some ball bearings to move the measuring tape in and out of its shell.
While it’s first and foremost designed to work as a clock, I see no reason why you couldn’t use its tape to measure things – assuming it’s late enough in the day to fit the object you’re measuring, and you work fast enough that the time doesn’t change time on you.
You can check out the full build log for the Measuring Time clock over on Instructables.
When it comes to digital clocks, they typically use segmented or dot-matrix displays in order to tell the time. But one thing most of these displays have in common is that have no moving parts. Not so with this unusual timepiece, which looks like a digital display, but is actually mechanical.
The brains of the operation are an Arduino Uno controller and a DS1302 clock module to keep time. As the minutes tick away, the circuit and code instruct the servos to rotate back and forth. In the back position, it hides the segment on its side, while in the forward position, the segment is visible. By 3D printing the segments with a brightly-colored translucent green filament, they look kind of like they’re illuminated. You can see the clock in action in the video below:
If you’d like to build your own mechanical 7-segment clock, you can check out all of the details over on Instructables or on The DIY Life. You’ll need some basic electronics skills, along with access to a 3D printer.
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There are lots of different ways to tell the time. You can use an old school analog clock with hands, a segmented digital display, or even a sundial. But I can say with 100% certainty that this is the first clock I’ve ever seen that tells time with sequins.
Architect Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi put together the Sequino, a truly unique timepiece that takes advantage of the bi-colored nature of some sequins, flipping them from one side to the other to reveal the current time. The sequins are set onto a cylindrical backdrop, and then a mechanical arm moves up, down, left and right to flip the sparkly bits over with a specially engineered tip that’s designed to emulate a human fingertip. Imagine a two axis plotter set onto a curved surface, and that’s basically the mechanism. It’s driven by a pair of motors and controlled by an Arduino Nano. Check it out in action in the video below:
If you’d like to build your own Sequino, you can read the full details of the build over on Hackaday.
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