Mechanical CPU clock is just as confusing as its namesake

[Lior Elazary] designed and built this clock to simulate the function of a CPU. The problem is that if you don’t already have a good grasp of how a CPU works we think this clock will be hopelessly confusing. But lucky for us, we get it, and we love it!

Hour data is shown as a binary number on Register A. This is the center column of red parts and is organized with the MSB on the bottom, the LSB on the top, and left-pointing bits function as digital 1. The clock lacks the complexity necessary for displaying any other time data. But that’s okay, because the sound made by the ball-bearing dropping every minute might drive you a bit loony anyway. [Lior] doesn’t talk about the mechanism that transports that ball bearing, but you can see from the video after the break that a magnet on a circular path picks it up and transports it to the top of the clock where gravity is used to feed the registers. There are two tracks which allow the ball to bypass the A register and enter the B register to the right. This works in conjunction with register C (on the left) to reset the hours when the count is greater than 11.

If you need a kickstart on how these mechanical adders are put together, check out this wooden adder project.

Comments

  1. bio says:

    its as simple as trying to read assembly language from binary! 83

  2. AtomSoftTech says:

    Awesome! I love it… I would love one of these :)

  3. peter says:

    it’s like the old joke, there are 10 kinds of people — those who understand binary, and those who don’t. ;)

  4. ocus says:

    Nevermind, I think I’ll just be late.

  5. Hirudinea says:

    This would be a perfect office clock! (If you really want to piss clock watchers off.)

  6. Jarel says:

    I was having a hard time seeing the binary values etched along the sides of register A. It makes sense now. I want this pretty badly.

  7. Jarel says:

    (sorry for the double post)

    Don’t you mean “every hour” and not “every minute”?

    • Lior Elazary says:

      Yea, the ball only drops once an hour, which is nice since its signals the top of the hour. However, for showing it to people, nothing happens for at most an hour. I am trying to add a stepper/servo motor, which will be able to speed up the clock on demand and then set the clock back to its original time when finished.

  8. matt says:

    If you do go the stepper rout you may as well have the BDC to TDC transition represent the hole 60 minutes for a little added functionality at the cost of design style.

  9. matt says:

    Scratch that you could just add a mirrored magnet arm to get the same effect much more elegantly.

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