I would like to drive three sixteen-segment displays (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/retired/9934) using an Arduino Micro. These displays would output an alphabetic character that a user would scroll through using rotary encoders, and constitute a subsystem of a larger project where the user enters a "combination" made from the three letters to "unlock" functionality in the larger device.
The best option, if it could be called that, is this retired product from SparkFun: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/retired/10103 that would allow me to drive the displays without a huge wiring mess, and spares me a lot of pins on the Micro to use on the rotary encoder. Unfortunately, the product is retired because the A6282 IC it was based on reached end of life, so even the schematics available on the product page aren't much use to me.
I am aware that four-character 16-segment displays are available, but for "aesthetic" reasons I am constraining myself to using single-character 16-segment displays. I do wonder how possible it would be to run three or four individual 16-seg displays from one of those LCD backpacks, but I don't think that would be trivial to do (I'd need to, probably, fabricate some sort of printed circuit board that spaced each display as far out as I need them to be, hook the pins of each display into a key matrix, and then at that point it'd be substantially easier to just get a MAX6954 (https://www.maximintegrated.com/en/app-notes/index.mvp/id/3212) and try to figure that out). It would be very clumsy to prototype.
So, I'm looking for a solid method of prototyping this "combination entry" subsystem and its 16 segment displays without needing to put each dial and alphanumeric display on its own AVR or something.