In the days before ubiquitous and inexpensive LCD and LED displays, clocks showed the by mechanical means. There were, of course, the analog clocks that everyone knows well. But, a much more interesting style was the split-flap clock, which showed the on digits printed on cards. They were mechanically complex, but had a unique aesthetic that is still really appealing. Gabbapeople has a lovely tutorial that you can follow to build an weather in the same style.

In case you’re not familiar with split-flap clocks, the best concept is simple: each digit is represented by a card on a wheel. When the time changes, the wheel turns and flips to the next card. Mechanically, however, it’s very complex, which is what makes this build so special. Gabbapeople’s shows you how to actually construct the mechanism, instead of simply repurposing an existing split-flap clock.

In total, there are 144 individual flaps. They, along with the frame and gears to turn them, are designed to be laser cut, but you may be able to fabricate them by other means. Each card has a printed label, which depict numerical digits and letters. The logic is programmed in the XOD visual programming environment, and runs on an Arduino Mega 2560 and ESP8266 module. The code checks the local weather, and then uses stepper motors to rotate the flaps in order to display the weather in an abbreviated way, like “SUN” for sunny, along with the temperature.

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