February 25th, 2022—
Going outside to see the weather is time consuming and merely looking at a phone gets boring, which is what inspired YouTuber Mikey Makes to build a fun weather-telling device that displays the current conditions in a new format. Owing to his love of the old BBC weather symbols, which were placed on physical stickers rather than a computer screen, Mikey Makes wanted to replicate them and physically swap out various components in a mechanical fashion.
At the very front is a large gray cloud that is permanently fixed in place. If the conditions outside become cloudy, rainy, or snowy, small symbols for each state are rotated underneath the cloud using a stepper motor in conjunction with a DC gear motor. The symbols for partly cloudy and full sun were tougher to integrate since they are either behind the cloud or completely cover it. For partial sun, a series of disks rotate behind the cloud to slowly pull up the rays of sunshine that emanate outwards. Otherwise, full sun causes a large sun symbol to move across the front of the cloud and block it entirely.
Controlling all of these components is a MKR WiFi 1010, which pulls real-time weather data from the openweathermap API. Then depending on the desired movements, it sends signals to an A4988 stepper motor driver or an H-bridge module for the DC motors.
To see more about how this project works and its intricate mechanical design, you can watch Mikey Makes’ demonstration video below!