Mechanical Clock Relies On Marbles To Tick

rolling ball clock

As fun as micro-controllers and RTCs are, sometimes it’s truly fascinating to see a completely mechanical clock. Using only gravity this Pendulum Marble Clock (German version) by [Turnvater Janosch] runs for 12 hours at a time and has an accuracy error of less than one second per day!

It works by raising a 2.5kg weight which sinks approximately 1 meter during that 12 hours. A series of steel ball bearings count the minutes, 5 minute increments, and hours. Every minute one ball is released on the track — when the track fills up, trap doors open releasing the balls to the next level. The first level is minutes, the second, 5 minutes, and the third, hours.

The entire thing is made out of wood, plastic gears, brass and steel wire, and an old flat iron (although we’re really not too sure what that’s used for…)

If you happen to have a pair of stereoscopic goggles (you can make your own), he’s also uploaded a gallery of images of his clock in stereoscopic 3D.

23 thoughts on “Mechanical Clock Relies On Marbles To Tick

  1. @HaD – not sure if you’re joking about the flat iron, but it’s the power source. Its potential energy is converted to kinetic to drive the escapement wheel.

    Wonderful contraption.

      1. The way it’s constructed 1:01- 1:59 will be indicated, but in your suggestion 12:01-12:59 wouldn’t be

    1. So both 1:01- 1:59 and 12:01-12:59 will be indicated when it’s that time. That escaped me until I read Marv’s guess, not I’m saying I couldn’t be wrong.

    2. Being the creator, I would like to clarify:
      The 1 o’clock marble is glued in place to have 12:xx instead of 0:xx. So the clock jumps from 11:59 to 12:00, and from 12:59 to 1:00.

  2. Really cool, but is it just me who wishes those 2 gears inside were made of wood, not plastic?
    Also, I’d have thought that with careful placement of a few bells, you could get it to do a full chime on the hour.

  3. I would have chosen the following as the article headline. Clothes Iron Hacked Into a Clock. While it’s way before my time. My understanding that multiple irons where always being heated so the could be changed out as they cooled from use.

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