Building a Raspberry Pi Powered Scrolling LED Sign

Image of Melissa's scrolling RGB LED sign
(Image credit: Melissa LeBlanc-Williams @makermelissa)

This Raspberry Pi project, created by maker Melissa LeBlanc-Williams, gets your message across loud and clear. It uses a Raspberry Pi to operate and control a scrolling LED sign.

A Raspberry Pi 3 powers the project

(Image credit: Melissa LeBlanc-Williams @makermelissa)

The sign is constructed out of six RGB matrix panels taken from Project MC2 Pink Pixel Purses. The panels operate as one unit, controlled by the Raspberry Pi via an Adafruit RGB Matrix Bonnet. It can be updated with custom graphics, animations and special effects.

The final design uses a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ model. The LEDs are operated by means of a Python script. Melissa decided to use Pillow (PIL) when developing a library of graphics for the sign. The final library supports images, animations and a range of effects like opacity adjustment.

The RGB matrix panels are connected with a custom-designed 3D printed chassis—this keeps them perfectly aligned for a seamless experience. Melissa even went as far as removing the PoE connector from the Pi to reduce the overall thickness by 12 mm. This resulted in a thin final product that can be easily mounted to a wall.

Scrolling Melissa's brand across the RGB matrix

(Image credit: Melissa LeBlanc-Williams @makermelissa)

There are plans in the works to release the custom library on Github so other people can recreate this project. In the meantime, you can follow Melissa on the official Maker Melissa’s Lab YouTube channel. If you want to check out the full thread breaking down the creation of the RGB LED sign, you can find it on Twitter.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.