Let's Make Robots!

Binary Clock Parts

Hey guys, I was thinking of making a binary clock. I don't want this to end up being the typical Dent work- I want this to be good looking and long lasting. It's going to be hung up on one of our walls, so I must be very precise.

Right now, I'm trying to find the right parts. I'll be spending my parent's money after all, so I want this to stay cheap (but still look good!) and I wanna get all the right parts the first time around. 

The enclosure is going to be an aluminum one from Halted. The LED's are probably going to be the 10mm blue ones from SFE. I'll also be getting a 5v Arduino Pro OR build my own from various parts to save money. A 3.3v regulator for the LEDs, plus a bunch of resistors to dim them slightly so they're not overwhelmingly bright. To drill the perfect circles that I'll need for the LEDs in the aluminum, I'm going to try a method that I was though of the other day. Since I don't have a drill press, I'm going to trace on the circles, punch out the center with a Dremel, and use those holes as guides for a larger (hopefully 10mm) drill bit that I'm going to have to use on my larger, albeit slower-spinning drill. 

If anyone has advice or suggestions, please let me know!

 UPDATE: I'm having extreme difficulty choosing between a pre-built arduino or one that I build on my own. What do you think I should do? Making one seems easy enough, but I'm worried that my absymal soldering skills will destroy it before I can even start this project...

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For drilling accurate holes in metal, I find step drill bits are really helpful, with or without a drill press.


Never seen that type of bit before! I'll definitely look into it. They look like can drill several different diameters per bit, right?
Might be obvious, but for the drilling, get a nail or screw (or center punch) and whack it with a hammer where you want the holes to be, will help get the pilot hole in the right spot without the bit wandering, if your going to do a 10mm hole, start with a 2-3mm then 5mm then 10mm, going from a small hole to big in one step is too much, the drill will wobble too much. Good luck.
Good advice

I used only CMOS ICs. I thought it's a challange and also retro to the in Elektor puplished TTL clocks in the 70s. Here is the circuit diagram.

I am not a Prof. :D


 I just assumed the "B" in "MarkusB" was the guy in the article's last name because it started with a B too. Plus Markus seems like a German name, so yeah :)

I am the guy in the article :-)

I wrote some articles for Elektor ;-)

Brain-hurt! :D

Hi dent,

You could mount the LEDs directly on the PCB and put the PCB behind plexiglass. I did it in this way for my Quartz clock with a trinary display :




I was just thinking of doing that today, actually! Your clock looks really nice with the plexiglass, too. And you didn't use any microcontrollers? Only discrete electronics? Wow!


By the way, you're a professor?