What will your clock look like? Chuck Norris? HAL 9000? We like Adabot!

If you’re adept at 3D printing, this adorable Adabot model could perhaps be adapted to the task.

If you’re more craft-inclined, or had a different character in mind, you can come up with your own design that leverages your existing skill set (or provides an opportunity for new ones you always wanted to learn).

I've got a bad habit of making everything a laser cutter job…but really, you could use anything…from papercraft to a teddy bear to a Godzilla toy!

I used a paint-and-etch technique. Medium blue acrylic was painted black on the back side (acting as a stencil to block light from the LED backlights) and light blue on the front. Laser engraving etched away the light blue paint over certain areas to reveal the darker blue plastic underneath, then the lit areas and the outline were laser cut. A separate piece of black acrylic provided the pupils and the backing plate/border.

Because the acrylic is painted, the layers are glued together using E6000 instead of acrylic cement.

The back piece has cutouts for two medium LED backlight modules, aligned with the eyes and mouth cutouts on the front. The backlights were cut down slightly using a scroll saw so the proportions of the face wouldn’t need changing.

The clear protective layer on the backlights’ front face should be peeled off before final assembly. The white layers should not be peeled.

I dug through my parts stash to find smaller components that would fit behind the face…

The shiny red button is important because there’s no force in the universe more powerful than the compulsion to press shiny red buttons.

The speaker was scavenged from an electronic farting birthday card (my family is so classy!). No, really. I’m using it here because it was surprising loud for its size…I’m sure the makers of the farting birthday card were thinking the same thing.

Normally I’d aim for a nice enclosure with all the parts and fasteners hidden as best as possible…but wanted to use a different tack for this one. Putting the electronics in plain view invites questions. “What’s this thing? You made this? Can I make this too? What’s Arduino?”

We can make a tidy board stack using the Data Logging shield. Or the RTC breakout works with just a little more soldering & wires.

Speaker glued in place. Great, this will all fit behind the face…but how to attach it to the Arduino?

Right-angle pin strips were inserted into all the free spaces in the headers…

The “flat” side of the pins were then glued to the back of the face using epoxy. Essentially, we’ve made the face into an Arduino shield, albeit one with no electrical function. Ha!

The finished clock, plugged into a 9V power supply, eyes lit and awaiting a button-press.

I like that the Arduino silkscreen is visible and rightside-up, so people can see what makes it tick.

Here’s an “alternate plan B” assembly, using the RTC breakout rather than the Data Logging shield. Four wires are run from the breakout board to SDA, SCL, +5V and GND. Then space was found underneath the Wave Shield where the board could be taped (there happens to be a blank spot with no conductive bits to worry about).

This guide was first published on Aug 26, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Arts & Crafts) was last updated on Aug 22, 2014.

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