A WordClock is a different way to tell time. As the name implies the current time is spelled out with words which change throughout the day. It can be approximate or, with the addition of a few dots at the bottom, exact to the second. I have a special fondness for these, and my latest builds combine a contemporary layout with colorful displays and the latest technology for accurate timekeeping. Each has hidden surprises for friends and family.
This is a wall-hanging WordClock, 18"x18" and less than one inch thick. The face is acrylic and cut black vinyl and, each of the 108 letters is an individually controlled WS8212 'Neopixel," controlled by an Arduino Nano. Accurate time is maintained by a DS3212 RTC. A photocell mounted behind the face automatically dims the display when the room darkens, and a touch sensor allows you to choose the color of letters. Time and color choice are saved when power is lost.
The video shows a test sequence when power is first applied, and how to cycle through the color choice by touching a corner of the display; no switches or buttons. Bear in mind that these clocks are difficult to photograph with a black face; the colors are more vivid in person.
I also built several smaller 12"x12" WordClocks, suitable for display on a shelf or desk. That version has four small dots at the bottom which can optionally, for the compulsive among us, show individual minutes. The removable faceplate is affixed with magnets, allowing easy swap in various colors. The latest version is internet-enabled, with automatic time synchronization, wireless remote control, automatic dimming and Daylight Saving adjustments, and more.
How it's built:
Construction: The first version of this WordClock featured an 18"x18" body of 3/4" MDF drilled with 108 holes and routed for electronic components and wiring, 650 hand-soldered individual LED connections, two touch sensors, a photocell, and an acrylic front plate with cut vinyl. Subsequent versions were easier to build by utilizing thin, lightweight HDU sign foam for the chassis and Neopixel strips rather than individual LEDs. The latest version below omits a real-time clock chip in favor of an internet connection that updates the exact time every few minutes.