Top 5 DIY smartwatch projects

DIY smartwatches are not only fun to assemble, highly customizable and comfortable to wear, but also a much more affordable option compared to off-the-shelf products.

One of the key components required is a custom printed circuit board (PCB). This is not a standard off-the-shelf part. But now that DIY smartwatch creators can use their designs for free, ordering custom PCBs isn’t easy, it’s even cheaper, and often costs around $ 10.

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If you’re always wondering what it takes to create your own custom-made DIY smartwatch, take a look at some of these amazing smartwatch projects.

1. Slimline ESP32 smartwatch

Building your own smartwatch can be difficult if you have all the components you need in such a small format. If you need the motivation to tackle this problem, it’s the DIY maker Stephen Hawes. He cannot ignore the infectious excitement of building smartwatches.

The reason he is so enthusiastic about designing his smartwatch is that the end result is comparable in size and shape to the commercial Pebble smartwatch. Given the components, it’s relatively simple. All you need is a screen, a battery, and an ESP32 for wireless communication. There are some difficult parts when testing a circuit using a breadboard. This requires a milling machine to create an interface between the ESP32 and the breakout board. After that, designing a custom PCB becomes the next big challenge, especially if you haven’t done it before.

Parts that require soldering are microscopic, so it’s a good idea to read some tips on soldering before starting this project. In addition, this project will use a 3D printer to print the smartwatch case. However, if you’re willing to take a little patience and care, you’ll end up with a beautiful, slim smartwatch with capacitive touch capabilities.

2. ESP8266 smartwatch with home automation

Custom PCBs are typically used in small, compact builds. That is, you need to know how to design and manufacture your own printed circuit board. Fortunately, some DIY electronic designers like Shyam Ravi have done a lot of work.

Everything you need from your PCB schematics and Gerber files is available on GitHub, along with easy-to-understand tutorials on YouTube and Instructables. Required components include a battery, three tactile buttons, and an OLED display, while other components include transistors and micro USB ports that can be recovered from older electronic devices. This is a great way to reduce e-waste.

By the end of this project, you’ll have a smartwatch that not only tells you the time, but also keeps you up to date with the weather and controls the lighting with the touch of home automation programming. The latter uses a Blynk server that may be used to program other home automation systems. It is not covered only when combining all electronic devices. Therefore, we recommend visiting Thingiverse to find your favorite 3D printing design.

3. ESP32 smartwatch with laser and torch

The beauty of building your own smartwatch is that you will be able to add exactly the features you need. In this case, Gabriel McFarlane thought he needed to make a watch with a laser and a torch. So he did.

What sets this project apart from other projects is the ESP32TTGO development board available from LILYGO. With a display integrated with an onboard battery management system, there are components that are less worrying about soldering. No custom PCB is needed here.

Related Links: Best ESP32 Wearable Project

After some trial and error, the 3D-printed watch case was designed, printed, assembled and held together (feeling good) using a brass tube at the strap joint. Another interesting option was to use a flexible TPU for the 3D printed watch strap. This is great for duplicating traditional plastic straps. The only downside is that the project can be expensive. If you opt out of this route, you can instead create a strap with a spare elastic or an old watch strap.

In addition to the hardware components, this tutorial will walk you through the coding steps to make it easier to create a DIY smartwatch.

4. Arduino smartwatch

You may want your smartwatch to do some important things well. To that end, this project is perfect. By the end of the tutorial, you’ll have a smartwatch that can notify you of time, date, and temperature, as well as notifications on your smartphone. This simple design is reminiscent of a retro digital Seiko watch, but with the addition of Bluetooth functionality, a buzzer and LEDs, it’s very close to today’s smartwatches.

Related Links: Best Arduino Wearable Project

Again, the design relies on a custom PCB on the project website. The integrated microcontroller used here is the Arduino ATmega32, which has already been compiled with firmware for the smartwatch to work. One of the great features is to use the Notiduino app. This app allows you to choose which notifications to send to your Arduino from your mobile phone. These include Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, email and more.

This project does not cover creating component cases, but it does provide a good foundation for creating smartwatches. If this is your first time trying out a DIY smartwatch, it may be a great place to start.

DIY smartwatches don’t have to be all more functional than foam. As an electrician and product designer, Samsung March has created a smartwatch that looks beautiful.

The watch case is made using Woodfill PLA and a round display, giving it a unique look compared to most other DIY smartwatch designs. If you haven’t tried woodfill PLA filaments in 3D printing, you may be surprised to find that they work just like real wood. You may need to clean it straight from the print bed, but you can also file, sand, and even dye the final product.

You will be even more excited to know that appearance is not everything. This smartwatch turns on when you point your watch at you and has integrated Apple notifications. This depends on a lot of backend coding, in addition to the use of Dialog Semiconductor DA14683 chips and custom built PCBs.

Making and coding this beautiful watch isn’t easy, but the rewards are definitely worth it. Visit GitHub to find everything you need, including component lists, codes, STL files, schematics, and more.

Build your own DIY smartwatch

From the simplest design to the more advanced design, building your own smartwatch is a very satisfying project.

You can stick to the instructions and choose to copy one of the great designs listed here or start designing your own smartwatch. The availability of detailed documentation means that there are plenty of electronic schematics, codes, and 3D printed files that can be remixed.

And if you don’t want to solder many small parts at the end, you can always skip directly to programming with a smartwatch assembly kit like Watchy.

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