I recently bought a flipdot display on ebay. I’m going to attach a microcontroller and put it on a wall at home.

One of the first things I need to do is make a mount and enclosure for it. No idea how yet. The flip dots are quite delicate and without some sort of protection it’ll be far too tempting to the kids to stick their fingers/toys/food in.

I got it connected to my computer last night and got some test code running on (half) of it. It was super cool to see it running, I think this is going to be lots of fun to play around with:

The board has two controllers but I only had one of these connectors so I could only power one half at a time.

First job is to get another one of those connectors, then I need to start thinking about a good way to mount / enclose this. Any suggestions or inspiration much appreciated!


That’s really cool, quite mesmerising!

Do you know what it was originally used in?
I wonder if it’s what train station departure boards used to be made with.

They are made by a company called Alfazeta. The one I got was an unused spare that someone on ebay was selling so it hasn’t had an exciting past life in a train station or anything.


Super cool! I was looking at making something sort of similar to this - https://www.oatfoundry.com/split-flap/
But I think the the flip dots will be more achievable.

Have you got plans for what to display?

I originally wanted to flip between the current weather and the status of a couple of tube lines


That looks really cool, I hadn’t heard of these.

Reminds me a bit of Daniel Rozin’s work, where he makes custom physical displays like this out of various things and hooks it up to a camera to act like a mirror: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV8v2GKC8WA

I went down a bit of a rabbithole on this kind of stuff recently and also found this guy who made his own out of stepper motors and wood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f1J5LzRdIo

Keep us updated on your progress!

I finally managed to make some progress with this.

Last week I used the laser cutter to make a case out of 5mm acrylic.

I couldn’t find a box generator for the type of box that I wanted so I designed the layout in Inkscape. Before cutting I realised that I needed to tweak some of the dimensions and unfortunately this meant I needed to redo it pretty much from scratch.

Lesson learned - I need to sit down and learn a tool like Fusion360 which has linked dimensions and constraints to allow easy tweaking.

I was happy with how the box came out. I drilled the mounting holes manually in the back panel, and somehow managed to do most of those completely in the wrong place. It’s not a big deal as the case will eventually be wall mounted but I may end up redoing the back panel to hide all evidence of my mistake!

Now I’m starting to work on the code to drive the display. Here are some early demos:


This is incredible.