TORLO is a Beautiful 3D Printed Clock

What if you could build a clock that displays time in the usual analog format, but with the hands moving around the outside of the dial instead of rotating from a central point? This is the idea behind TORLO, a beautiful clock built from 3D printed parts.

The clock is the work of [ekaggrat singh kalsi], who wanted to build a clock using a self-oscillating motor. Initial experiments had some success, however [ekaggrat] encountered problems with the motors holding consistent time, and contacts wearing out. This is common in many electromechanical systems — mechanics who had to work with points ignition will not remember them fondly. After pushing on through several revisions, it was decided instead to switch to an ATtiny-controlled motor which was pulsed once every two seconds. This had the benefit of keeping accurate time as well as making it much easier to set the clock.

The stunning part of the clock, however, is the mechanical design. The smooth, sweeping form is very pleasing to the eye, and it’s combined with a beautiful two-tone colour scheme that makes the exposed gears and indicators pop against the white frame. The minute and hour hands form the most striking part of the design — the indicators are attached to a large ring gear that is turned by the gear train built into the frame. The video below the break shows the development process, but we’d love to see a close-up of how the gear train meshes with the large ring gears which are such an elegant part of the clock.

A great benefit of 3D printing is that it makes designing custom gear trains very accessible. We’ve seen other unconventional 3D printed clock builds before. 

25 thoughts on “TORLO is a Beautiful 3D Printed Clock

    1. My guess is to make it more ‘clock like’ but really I wondered the same thing. Perhaps it adds accuracy to the movement, but I don’t see how. But it’s a beautiful thing all the same.

    2. the clock is pulsed every 2 seconds and the balance wheel pushed the ratchet forward one tooth via the cam and cam follower… it is a electromechanical clock so it is not a escapement like a mechanical clock.. I didn’t want a clock to be wound every now and then hence went in this direction … also to keep things a little more quite i went with pulsing the balance wheel rather than letting it oscillate on its own.. ( purists will kill me for it )

  1. I tried to use Shapeways so I could get some fancier material (with plans to tip the creator), and they had a fit a fell in it. Walls too thin was their biggest complaint. Any other companies people can recommend that can print in exotic materials that could handle this thing? I am printing a bunch for the office and as presents, and I want each one to be different. Not going to lie, I’m also working on a backing that has numbers or tick marks or something to make it more readable. Might use some Tritium tubes and make it glow in the dark.

    1. please contact me at my mail ekaggratatgmaildotcom.. a backing with numbers wout kill the elegance of the clock… i doubt this clock can be done in sls .. i will need to redo parts for that… we could collaborate some how. also the spring wont work in sls it needs to be in a fdm machine to maintain flexibility.. so you might need to combine machines. i think imaterialize has both kinds of machines.. Also the balance wheel has to be changed according to the voice coils you buy as they vary from hdd to hdd.. I have 3 different hdds from different companies and the sizes vary .

  2. What the hell is a “self-oscillating motor”? The only results I get for that are a bunch of youtube videos from idiots claiming to have “over unity” devices and whatnot.

    What is it with youtube and idiots with perpetual motion / “free energy” machines?

    1. a motor which oscillates with a contact breaker thus not needing any additional electronics… the clocks from the 20s upto 50s had them .maybe i used a wrong term for it.. It is not a perpetual or over unity thing…

      1. AC clocks typically use synchronous motors, I think. Fans and the like use shaded-poll motors – those are the ones that look like they’ve got a transformer core.

    2. There are some older electric fence controllers that are ‘self oscillating’. You can tell when the old car battery powering the thing needs a charge.

      Not many city folk will know what I’m talking about…

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