I decided sometime last year that I wanted to make a smart watch from scratch. I am an electrical engineer and product designer by day, so this was a fun side project that had been rolling around in my head for a while now.
I decided early on that I wanted a round watch. I’m not a fan of the square or squarcle watches that seem to be all over these days. Something about that shape felt too 1980’s computer-y to me. From a technical point of view, it is definitely easier to make something that isn’t round. Square screens are much easier to come by and have more space to show you more stuff. The reality, however, is I don’t want another phone or computer on my wrist. I just want something to show me important bits of information when I need them. The shape of this particular watch was primarily driven by the screen I ended up using (which can be found in the bill of materials). It is a teardrop shape, where the actual display is round, but there are some additional electronics parts that add to the size. So you can see above, the square parts on the top and bottom where the band connects to the watch are actually there to hide the bottom of the screen.
I have a little cheap monoprice printer here at home, it is awesome for stuff like this. I printed out the two pieces of the housing I designed above out of a woodfill PLA. What that means, is that the plastic I used to print this out, is actually 70% plastic and 30% saw dust. The cool thing about woodfill plastic, is that it behaves very similarly to actual wood. It sands down really nicely and you can stain it with wood stains! The downside to this particular type of plastic is that when it prints, it leaves a stringy mess on the print that you have to clean up. I use a file and some 220 grit sandpaper to get it started.
The project is full open sourced, the repo has all of the build files you need to make your own: – Circuit board files – Schematics – Bill of Materials – All the code – STL files for all the prints, all available on GitHub here.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.