HowTo: Fibonacci Clock - Assembly

In the post Fibonacci Clock - An unusual time indicator I presented Philippe Chrétien's cool idea. As mentioned in the post, I think the idea is cool and then started to recreate the whole thing. However, I came up with my own “construction” which I would like to make available here.

The structure of the whole thing is described in the following article.

Safety instructions

I know the following notes are always kind of annoying and seem unnecessary. Unfortunately, many people who knew "better" have lost eyes, fingers or other things due to carelessness or injured themselves. Data loss is almost negligible in comparison, but even these can be really annoying. Therefore, please take five minutes to read the safety instructions. Because even the coolest project is not worth injury or other trouble.

Affiliate links/advertising links

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In order to successfully build the Fibonacci clock, you will of course need tools and the necessary parts in addition to basic soldering skills. Below I'll list everything you need.

Helpful articles:
To build the Fibonacci clock you have to complete simple soldering tasks. Only THT components and no SMD components are used for the basic structure of the clock. Only to install an LDR, two 0805 SMD resistors have to be soldered. The following articles contain tips on how to do this.
Electronics - My friend the soldering iron
Electronics – Solder THT components by hand
Electronics – Solder SMD components by hand

Tools needed:

In the following list you will find all the tools you need to implement this article.

If you want to print the housing parts yourself, you will also need a 3D printer (if not, you can also get the parts in the shop receive)


In the following list you will find all the parts you need to implement this article.

You can also find all the parts you need in the shop at:

Structure of the Fibonacci clock

To start building, you should now have all the components in front of you.

In this picture you can see all the required components (except for the back cover).

Print the 3D parts you need

Download all the required STL files: Fibonacci clock assembly


You can rotate the 3D view of the STL file by holding down the mouse button. You can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel.


You can rotate the 3D view of the STL file by holding down the mouse button. You can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel.


You can rotate the 3D view of the STL file by holding down the mouse button. You can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel.

Solder LEDs

The LEDs that later display the time come in the form of an LED strip.
In order to be able to solder them individually, the LEDs must first be separated at the appropriate points.

Here you can see the LED strip with nine WS2812B LEDs. This can be separated after each LED.
Here the point is marked in red where you can separate the strip into the individual LEDs. To do this, you have to cut through the copper-colored soldering pads exactly on the black line.
Once you have separated all the LEDs, you should now have nine individual LEDs in front of you.

Now it's time to solder the individual LEDs on the circuit board.

There are nine positions on the front of the board where the LEDs must be soldered in the correct orientation. It is very helpful to first glue the LEDs to the circuit board. To do this, the protective film on the back of the LEDs must be removed and glued very precisely in the middle between the respective soldering pads. Care must be taken to ensure the correct alignment.
Correct alignment means that you have to glue the LEDs between the solder pads so that both the arrow on the board and the arrow on the LED point in the same direction. In this picture both arrows are circled in red.
Once you have glued on all the LEDs, your circuit board should now look like this.
In order to solder the individual soldering pads, it is recommended to first apply some solder to the soldering pad of the circuit board and then to the soldering pad of the LED. Then it is relatively easy to connect the two tinned soldering pads together.
As soon as you have soldered all the LEDs and their soldering pads correctly, the circuit board should look something like this.

Installation of the buttons

Now it's time to solder in the buttons that will later be used to operate and set the clock.

To do this, you first have to insert the six buttons through the board at the positions shown. Make sure that the buttons are inserted from the side on which the corresponding labels are located
In order to solder the inserted buttons, you have to turn the board over and solder the individual pins to the board.

Soldering the Arduino Nano

The Arduino Nano is the “brain” of the Fibonacci clock. The program that is responsible for displaying the time and all other functions will later be programmed into this. Before this happens, however, the Arduino Nano must first be soldered onto the circuit board.

First, the pin headers with which the Arduino Nano is soldered to the board must be plugged through the board at the point above the buttons. The shorter part of the pin headers is inserted through the board.
In order to be able to solder the pin headers, the board must be turned over. Unfortunately, the pin headers fall out of the board very easily. A small strip of adhesive tape helps here, with which you can fix the pin headers in the circuit board until the pin headers are soldered in correctly. IMPORTANT: Do not solder all the pins on the pin headers yet!
After turning over, each pin header can be soldered firmly. To do this, only one pin on the respective pin strip should first be soldered. Then you first have to check whether the pin headers are really square and not crooked on the board.
In this picture you can see that the pin headers are not yet straight on the board. To correct this, you have to briefly heat the solder of the already soldered pin on a pin header again with the soldering iron. Then the respective pin header can be soldered straight in.
In this picture you can see both pin headers as they should look. They are now exactly perpendicular to the board. This is the only way to attach the Arduino Nano to the pin headers.
After the pin headers are soldered in, the Arduino Nano can be plugged into it. Make sure that the USB port points towards the center of the board. Before you can solder the Arduino Nano to the pin header, you must consider the following.
It is important that the Arduino Nano is not pushed “all the way” onto the black spacers on the pin headers. It should sit slightly above the spacer, as this is the only way to leave enough space to plug a cable into the USB port of the Arduino Nano.
Now the Arduino Nano can be soldered to the pin header. It is helpful to start with one or two pins per pin strip, then check again whether the distance to the board is correct and the USB port also points into the middle of the board. If everything is correct, the remaining pins can also be soldered. This completes the installation of the Arduino Nano. 🙂

Installation of the DS3231 RTC module

The DS3231 RTC module is a battery-backed real time clock. This has two functions, firstly the module ensures that the time is saved (and continues to be counted) if the power goes out. Secondly, it can continue to count the time very precisely. This has the advantage that the time always runs correctly, even over a long period of time.

In order for the module to be installed, we first have to “tune” the 5-pin pin strip (to which the module will later be plugged) a little.
The subsequent modification of the pin header is important so that the module does not protrude too far from the board later. To do this, the black spacer on the pin strip (which also holds the individual pins together) must be moved. The easiest way to do this is to move the spacer with pliers. You can see what the whole thing should look like in the picture below
Once “tuned”, the pin header should now look like this.
Now the pin header can be plugged through the board.
The board can then be turned over and the pin header can be soldered into it. If the pin header falls out when you turn it over, a piece of scotch tape will help to fix the pin header until it is soldered.
Once soldered in, the pin header should look like this.
Last but not least, the RTC module can now be plugged into the pin strip as shown

Installation of the I2C OLED display

(This step is optional. An OLED display is not necessary for the basic function of the watch.)
The OLED display is not required for the actual function of the watch. But it helps a lot to learn to read the clock, especially at the beginning, because you can quickly check the time on the back of the clock. Apart from that, the OLED display also shows additional information such as the date, the set mode, the current brightness and more without having to connect the watch to a computer and display this information.

To install the OLED display, it must be plugged into the circuit board as shown. So that the OLED display does not fall out again when the board is turned over, it can be fixed again with a strip of adhesive tape.
Now the pins of the OLED display can be soldered to the circuit board. The easiest way is to first solder one pin, then check whether the display is sitting straight and then solder all the other pins. The protruding pins can then be shortened slightly using side cutters.

Installation of an LDR for automatic brightness control

(This step is optional. No LDR is necessary for the basic function of the clock)
An LDR is a light-dependent resistor that allows the watch to automatically adjust its brightness to the current brightness of the ambient light. This has the advantage that the clock does not shine too brightly in a dark environment and not too dimly in a bright environment, as often happens when you specify a fixed brightness.

In order for the LDR to function correctly, two SMD resistors of size 0805 must be soldered. To do this, a 10kOhm resistor must be soldered to position “R2” and a 1kOhm resistor to position “R3”. The actual LDR is installed after the circuit board has been inserted into the housing. There is further information about this below.

Installation of the fully assembled circuit board into the watch case

After the watch circuit board has been completely populated with all components, it can be installed into the watch case. To do this you need the housing frame, the light guide grille and a milky/satin Plexiglas plate measuring 160x80x3mm. You can either print the housing parts yourself using a 3D printer or get them from the shop.

First you have to remove the protective films on both sides of the plexiglass plate. (If you haven't already done so.)
The prepared Plexiglas plate can then be inserted into the housing frame.
Here you can see the case frame of the Fibonacci clock with the Plexiglas plate inserted.
Now the light guide frame can be inserted into the housing frame as shown. You have to make sure that both the plexiglass pane and the light guide frame are pushed all the way down. You need a bit of sensitivity until everything fits.
Once assembled, the case should now look like this.
The previously assembled circuit board can now be inserted into the housing frame as shown.
If you have prepared to install an LDR, the LDR can now be inserted through the housing from the outside.
Then the LDR can be glued on the inside with glue (the easiest way is with hot glue).
If the LDR is glued in correctly, the connecting legs of the LDR can be soldered to the circuit board in the location shown as shown.
The final step in assembling the clock is inserting the back. This holds the circuit board in place and covers everything that is not in use.
Your finished Fibonacci clock now looks like this. The construction is now complete. Now it just needs to be programmed.

Before commissioning, you should now follow the tips from the article Eektronik - Commissioning of a new circuit note.

I described what you need to do to program your Fibonacci clock in this post:
Fibonacci clock programming

You can also find an operating manual for later operation here:
Fibonacci Clock User Guide

Have fun with the project

I hope everything worked as described for you. If not or you have questions or suggestions please let me know in the comments. I will then add this to the article if necessary.
Ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

PS Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you think it's cool that I share the information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee fund. 🙂

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  1. Hi Nerdy!!! I've just discovered your website and I am really impressed about the amount of extraordinary projects you have develope for such a short period of time. I am a maker myself and I like to make new things with electronics and 3D printers. I fell in love with your Fibonacci clock and I would like to know how to get the PCB and the components to make my own. Other thing I am really interested in is your steppers project, Clockception. I've seen that you have already created your own library to control your devices. It's fantastic to be able to create your own code adapted to the special requirements of your projects. Congratulations. Thanks a lot for sharing!!!

    1. hey jose,
      Thanks a lot for your kind words. 🙂
      Uh that PCB thing is a good point. I just realized that I didn't publish the manufacture files for it.
      I will prepare this and then let you know. 🙂
      Best regards

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