When you need a 7-segment display for your project, you probably just buy one. They’re cheaply accessible, and let you get on with whatever more complicated part of your project that needs to be addressed. Then again, if a vintage looking display is the point of your project, then YouTuber Electronoobs has just what you need with his latest project, a 4-digit 7-segment clock built from discrete LEDs.
In this project, he painstakingly puts together sets of seven filament-shaped LEDs, which are soldered together and supported by steel wires. To control the LEDs, he uses a MAX7219 module, along with an Arduino Nano. An RTC module is used to keep accurate time. Three buttons are available on the wooden enclosure, but setting this clock is just a matter of pushing one button to modify the minute value, and another for hours.
The electronics are enclosed in an inexpensive wooden box, and the LEDs themselves are covered with heavily modified plastic bottles, giving it a look similar to a Nixie tube display. Electronoobs does note a few problems with this build, such as the fact that the bottles are too shiny for his tastes, and that the LEDs themselves mostly shine in the middle. He may end up painting the tubes to help with both of these issues, so perhaps we’ll see a 2.0 version in the future!