Discover The Stylish Flap Clock: Dr. Tõnis’ Masterpiece Energized By Seeed XIAO ESP32C3 and Fusion PCBA Service

Dr.Tõnis’s project was originally inspired when he saw Vestboard – a flap display. It’s a nice flap display, however very expensive. After some thinking he decided to make his own, and he just wanted to have one.

His initial plan was simple. He is a Hardware guy, thus the DIY version would not be with a fancy app. The controller should be ESP based, it can connect to Wi-Fi for time updates or webpage connections. Thus, his DIY version would focus on the HW buildup and the SW would be relatively simple with potential to improve. The main design would be made with Fusion360 and a 3D Printer.

Work related projects bring bread to the table, however they are rarely something interesting. 

Thus, Tõnis always look for projects that would be fun to make and help learning new disciplines. Time to time he likes to challenge himself to build some nonessential gadgets. 

The first consideration was the flap design, recognizing from the project’s onset that the flaps would present the primary challenge. Tõnis wanted to avoid excessive expenses associated with custom printing and cutting, thus prioritizing a genuine do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Numerous approaches were examined to simplify the flap creation process.

Taking inspiration from Vestaboard, which utilizes 64 flaps (referred to as “bits”), he decided to adopt the same quantity. The 28BYJ-48 stepper motor features 4,096 steps per rotation, making a power of 2 an ideal flap count. However, implementing 64 flaps per digit demanded considerable effort. Initially, a concept involving 5×12 configuration was considered, which would have required 3,840 flaps in total. Prioritizing simplicity, the final implementation incorporated “only” 2,304 flaps.”

After investing a significant amount of time in manual operations, ranging from mechanical design to motor control, the creation of Flaps emerged as the most thrilling aspect.

Tõnis, considering the flap design as his primary concern, continues to acknowledge its status as the weakest element in the entire design.  The idea of attaching symbols to the flaps using adhesive seemed promising in theory but proved to be an arduous and time-consuming task during the construction process.  Removing the sticker from behind the paper and accurately affixing it to the flaps proved to be highly challenging.

What specific challenges did you face during the Flap Clock project, and how did Seeed Fusion assist you in overcoming them?

At the beginning, Tõnis designed a PCB powered by XIAO ESP32C3 with a layout failure, which he discovered after it was sent to Seeed Fusion. Upon contacting Seeed, he received their utmost support. Luckily, he reached out to Seeed just before the assembly process commenced, simplifying everything for him. Seeed offered him the opportunity to update his PCBs.

The Seeed Fusion PCBA service proved to be exceedingly convenient. The ordering process was smooth and straightforward. He received timely feedback during the board review, resulting in a pleasant overall experience.

Here is Dr. Tõnis’ comprehensive assessment of the Seeed Fusion PCBA Service experience:

”After I realized my design mistake, I developed a profound admiration for Seeed Fusion‘s customer service. They skillfully offered support and guidance in resolving the issue, enabling me to update the design smoothly. Moreover, the end result showcased an outstanding level of quality. Having faced problems with other PCB suppliers in the past, where the PCBs were not entirely straight or flat, I appreciated the meticulousness of Seeed Fusion. Although such imperfections might be less apparent in smaller PCBs, they greatly affect the overall look and tactile experience of a product with a long PCB.”

Seeed Studio Fusion Agile Manufacturing and Hardware Customization from 0.1 to ∞ 

Get unrivaled speed and efficiency when you innovate with vast resources in Shenzhen China. Learn more at Seeed Fusion. Send us your project plan today for a quotation.

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July 2023