After the issues I encountered with my first attempt on this build, I was determined to finish the meter clock project this time around. I upgraded to a Teensy 3.5 which has the clock crystal built in so it was keeping time right out of the box once I added a battery!
Next up was building a case to put everything in. Amber and I went to an antique shop a few weeks back and I found the perfect enclosure. It was an old speaker enclosure of some sort. The nice thing was it had this large, blank front panel and the inside was mostly empty except for a small speaker taking up a quarter of the front space. The rest of the surface was a blank canvas for me to use. I drilled holes on the top of the case for a lighted button and rotary encoder knob. Next I used a rotary tool to essentially mill out holes on the front panel for the meters. I had intended on this being very clean and neat so the meters would just poke through the clean holes but that didn’t happen.
No problem, I 3D printed some plates to fit around the meters on the front and “hide the crimes” I committed behind them. I ended up using the wood PLA filament we used on the cabinet handles and stained them to try and match with the wood finish of the box.
Because I’m ridiculous I also decided to add onto my workload by screen printing some labeling around the button and knob on the top of the case. I found this neat stencil film by Ikonart which is essentially a silkscreen without a frame and has an adhesive backing. The film was more finicky to expose and use than I anticipated but I ended up with pretty decent results! Not shown in the video is when I accidentally smudged part of the lettering with my finger and had to fix it.. oops!
Home stretch was wiring up a circuit board to connect everything together. I found these nice punch down wire connectors at DigiKey and used those for all the wire connections. I also purchased a small power amp from Adafruit to connect to the speaker that was in the box. A little bit of programming and final assembly and I had a finished product. It doesn’t do much right now other than tell the time and blink a light. But when you press the rotary encoder button it tells the time over the speaker using the Talkie library. This thing looks super cool though and I’m really proud of the job I did!
This project was quite time consuming and challenging at times but I feel like I learned a lot and if I ever did this again it would go much smoother! This project also solidified my desire for a CNC machine, which Amber and I have started planning to build.
Download Arduino Code
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Teensy 3.5 microcontroller
Adafruit mono audio amplifier
Components from DigiKey
Rotary tool stand mount*
Japanese pull saw*
Wood PLA Filament – PRILINE Filament*
3D Printer – Anycubic 4MaxPro
Ikonart Stencil film
Silver screen printing ink*