16 Segment Display - building

So over the last few weeks lots of makers having been making segment display in various different ways. after watching @unexpectedmakers latest live stream I thought about an old project I had done with a paper 7 Segment display and wondered if I could do the same with a 14 or 16 segment.

First off I needed to decide on the size I would be working on. As I didn't have any SMD RGB leds and all I had to play with was some strips of ws2812 RGB leds I had to constrain my design around the individual leds which are 18x10mm. I also wanted to make it cheap so it would only be made from paper, copper tape for the wiring and the RGB leds.


1 x 210gsm White card for the circuit 2 x Black 160gsm card for the bezel 1 x A4 tracing paper for the bezel 17 ws2812 RGB leds cut individually 6" copper tape PVA tacky glue Something to control it (attiny85/arduino/esp8266 etc )

The Design

The design consists of 2 parts, the circuit and the bezel.

The Bezel

The bezel is made by cutting out 12 x the bezel design, on the left below, either by hand or preferably by paper/laser cutter. Hand cut also works, you only need the top layer to be cut out perfectly to get good definition on the led shapes.

Cut out 2 x tracing papaer the same size as the cutouts, these will act as a diffuser for the leds.

Glue each piece on top of each other inserting a tracing paper layer at layers 8 & 10.

The Circuit

The circuit template should be printed on a single sheet of 210gsm card. The copper tape tracks will be stuck directly on the card to produce the circuit.

Cut the copper tape into thin approx 1mm strips and arrange and stick to the circuit as below.

note the top and bottom middle tracks are down about 1mm from the top. By cutting a small v wedge into the edge of the RGB you can create a link to the underlying circuit.

Once all the tracks are laid solder any joints and each of the middle sections that will connect via the 'v' wedges.

Solder each of the leds into place noting the orientation on each.

During testing I used an attiny85 connected in circuit and tested each led as it was connected using a small sketch to light each of the 17 leds.

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