Monday, March 20, 2023


I have always been fond of split flap displays - especially the arrival/departure boards I used to see in train stations and airports. Split-flap mechanical signs are sadly a relic of a bygone era. The famous, clacking boards were once used all over the world, but advances in technology have retired most of them in favor of boring digital displays (the epic split flap displays in NYC's Grand Central Terminal were retired and replaced in 2019). Thought I would try my hand at using my 3D printer to make one. This is just a first test to tweak the mechanics of one segment. The model I posted on Friday did not run smoothly at all, so I am trying a different one. It took about 12 hours to print out all the parts and I had to make several small changes to get it to run smoothly. I have some hall effect sensors and magnets coming this week so I can try this out with some Arduino code I found on YouTube. This is the plan I am following... 61,68,41,0,B


Bizmark said...

As a kid, I was amazed watching the one at NYC's Penn Station whenever I visited the city. I also remember my first "digital display" clock radio.

John Wells said...

New York City's Penn Station also featured these boards in both the Amtrak portion and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) portion. The board in the Amtrak portion, which showed departure information, was replaced in 2000 by an LCD board. The boards in the LIRR portion featured departing trains as well as boards at the head of each stairway to platforms for tracks 13 through 21, which displayed the stops and connections associated with the posted train. These were replaced over a period of several weeks between February and April 2006. The new signs, also made by Solari di Udine, use a combination of LCD and LED technology.