Once again, it amazes me how one thing leads to another. On the evening I posted my previous blog, 2020 Calendar — Engineers’ Desktops, my chum Paul Parry — founder of Bad Dog Designs in the UK — sent me an email saying, “What a great idea. See my photos below. I’ve not prepared anything; I just snapped things as they were.”

Accompanying this email were the two images shown below — the first of Paul’s “Office Desk” where he handles his emails, creates CAD drawings, and captures code; the second of his main “Assembly/Work Desk” where he wields his soldering iron with gusto and abandon.


Paul’s “Office Desk” (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Paul Parry)


Paul’s main “Assembly/Work Desk” (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Paul Parry)

Unfortunately, these photos didn’t have sufficient resolution for submission for the calendar, which is destined for print, so I emailed Paul asking him if he could retake the photos at a higher resolution and submit them to the folks at Screaming Circuits.

I’d forgotten two things: (a) Paul is a man who moves fast and (b) he’s in a time zone that’s six hours ahead of me. As a result, by the time I sent my email, he’d already cleared his work desk and transitioned to his next project, which explains the changes in the updated image of his assembly/work desk that he sent to me.


Paul’s updated “Assembly/Work Desk” (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Paul Parry)

“Hmmm,” I thought, “a map of the world created out of circuit boards — I wonder what he’s up to this time.” I immediately emailed the little scamp asking him this very question.

It turns out that Paul is now a regular participant on the Money for Nothing television show in the UK. The idea is to take stuff that’s being thrown away and “upcycle” it into something useful or artistic. In a recent episode (Series 7, Episode 20), which was broadcast on 1 November 2019, Paul upcycled some old circuit boards into a “Map of the World” clock.

Upcycled PCB map of the world clock (Image source: Paul Parry)

Apparently, this project received a huge amount of interest and Paul has been deluged with orders, which explains the presence of the new “under construction” version on his assembly/work desk.

To be honest, I would have been happy to just see the circuit board-based map of the world, but adding tricolor LEDs behind the boards is a brilliant idea. Even better, while having static lights as illustrated in the previous image is pretty enough, things get very interesting when the lights start flashing as seen in this video.


Ooh! I wouldn’t even need the Nixie tube clock (and it’s not often you’ll hear me say that); I’d be more than happy to just have the illuminated PCB map mounted on my wall. Also, in addition to having preprogrammed light effects, I think I would also make my display react to sound, like I did in my Awesome Audio-Reactive Artifact.

Paul has kindly provided me with the vector drawings he uses to cut out his boards. Now all I need to do is gather a collection of suitable boards and find someone with a CNC milling machine to cut them out for me.

This is just what I didn’t need — another project. On the other hand, I already have so many projects on the go that one more won’t really change anything. How about you? Could you be tempted to build one of these little beauties?