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The Hour of the 3D Printed Clock Draws Nigh


Many have tried, but [Christoph Laimer] has succeeded in designing a working, (relatively) accurate clock nearly completely from 3D printed parts. Every gear, pulley, wheel and hand of [Christoph's] clock is printed. Only a few screws, axles, a weight, and a string are non-printed. Even the crank to wind the clock is a 3D printed part.

[Christoph] designed his clock in Blender. It took quite a bit of design work to create parts that would work and be printable. Even more work was involved in printing over 100 failed prototype parts.

One might think that [Christoph] is using the latest  printers from the likes of Makerbot or Utimaker to achieve this feat. It turns out he’s using a discontinued Rapman 3.2 printer. Further proof that even “older” printers are capable of great things! [Christoph] does run his printer rather slowly. Printing a single gear with 0.125 mm layers and a 0.4 mm nozzle takes him 2 or 3 hours.

Mechanically, the clock is gravity powered with an anchor escapement. Rather than a pendulum, [Christoph] chose to use a balance wheel and hairspring assembly to govern the escapement.  Even the spring is printed from standard PLA. The weight is suspended from a pulley block. The clock isn’t particularly efficient. 70cm of height will run the clock for only 2 hours.

[Christoph's] clock has proven to be accurate to within 1/4 second per hour. He hasn’t provided temperature stability data – but being PLA, we’d suggest not getting it too hot!

[Read more...]

LED Clock Looks Cool AND Tells Time

LED Arduino Clock

Clocks have taken many forms of the years, starting with shadow clocks and sundials in Egypt around 3500 BC. Obviously, these could only tell the time while the sun was out. Water Clocks followed which could track time in the dark. Water Clocks are basically a bowl with a hole in the bottom. This bowl was set in a container filled with water. The water entered the bowl at a consistent rate and graduations on the inside of the bowl showed how much time had passed.

Mechanical clocks followed, as did quartz and the atomic clock. We have now entered a new era in time-telling, the Bamboo LED Clock. [Pascal] brings us this funky fresh chronometer all the way from Germany.

The front face is made from a bamboo pizza plate and gives the clock some modern minimalist pizzazz. A 1-meter long LED strip is attached to the circumference of the plate and contains 60 individually assignable RGB LED’s. An Arduino and Real Time Clock are responsible for the time keeping and coordination of the LED’s.

As you can see in the photo, 2 of the LED’s colors are used. The single red LED indicates the hour. The strip of blue LED’s show the minutes. If you’d like to build one of these [Pascal] has shared the Arduino code on his Instructables page.

Bacon Alarm Clock Won’t Burn Your House Down

Bacon Alarm Clock

If you have trouble waking up in the morning then maybe this alarm clock is for you. A bacon-aroma-releasing alarm clock!

Fueled by her love of bacon, Instructable’s user [llopez2005] decided she wanted to try making an alarm clock that would actually get her out of bed, hungry, and ready for bacon. Instead of trying to design a clock that would actually cook bacon — which might be a bit dangerous — she’s found an extract of bacon aroma which she could slowly release instead.

The clock makes use of an Arduino Uno with a RTC shield as well as a LED array for the clock’s display. The “bacon” is actually made out of bake-able clay, which sits on top of unscented wax, infused with the bacon aroma oil. The bacon and “bacon grease” sit in a baby frying pan over top of a small heater element designed for warming candles. Before the alarm goes off, a SSR turns on the element which slowly melts some of the wax, releasing its ever so delicious scent.

What we really like about the clock is the level of detail she put into its appearance. The base is designed after a small wood burning stove they have in the house, and she’s even made a Plexiglas display case for the frying pan — with holes to let the aroma out though of course!

Bomb Clock Scares You Awake!

Bomb Clock Scares You Awake

What better way to wake up than by fearing your impending explosion if you don’t hit the correct snooze combination! This is the DEVESTATOR (Translated), [Jacek's] latest fun project, straight from Poland.

As an avid paintball and airsoft fan, [Jacek] wanted to build a unique clock — so he decided to make his own classic dynamite stick bomb… clock. He’s using a ATmega8 microcontroller at the heart of the project with both a DS1307 RTC and a DS1820 temperature sensor, because just for kicks, the clock also monitors ambient temperature!

To add to the realism of the project he also designed the PCB from scratch using Eagle CAD, which allowed him to make  the whole thing look even more threatening. To actually make the PCB he used the laminate thermal transfer method. The four buttons on the PCB allow you to scroll through the date, time, temperature, and set alarm times.

Oh and the “dynamite”? Paper towel rolls covered in red tape.

[Read more...]

Huge RGB Ring Light Clock


After several months of work, [Greg] has completed one of the most polished LED clocks we’ve ever seen. It’s based on the WS2812 RGB LEDs, with an interesting PCB that allowed [Greg] to make a huge board without spending a lot of money.

The board is made of five interlocking segments, held together with the connections for power and data. Four of these boards contain only LEDs, but the fifth controller board is loaded up with an MSP430 microcontroller, a few capsense pads for a 1-D touch controller, and programming headers.

Finishing up the soldering, [Greg] had a beautiful LED ring light capable of being programmed as a clock, but no enclosure. A normal plastic case simply wouldn’t do, so [Greg] decided to try something he’d never done before: casting the PCB inside a block of resin.

A circular mold was made out of a piece of MDF and a router, and after some problems with clear resin that just wouldn’t cure, his ring light was embedded in a hard, transparent enclosure.  Conveniently stuck in the mold, of course. The MDF had absorbed a little bit of the resin, forcing [Greg] to mill the resin ring free from the wood, with a lot of finish sanding to make the clock pretty.

It’s a clock that demonstrates [Greg]‘s copious manufacturing skills, and also his ability to troubleshoot the problems that arose. While he probably won’t be casting things inside an MDF mold anymore, with the right tools [Greg] could easily scale this up for some small-scale manufacturing.


Handmade Acrylic Skeleton Clock Is an Impressive Feat of Scroll Sawing

Handmade Acrylic Skeleton Clock

For one of his mechanical engineering school projects, [Ben Murton] decided to design and build a clock from scratch — and while it may look like it was laser cut… He cut it out all by hand.

It’s a cross between the mechanical workings of an old Grandfather clock and a Skeleton clock — the goal was to have all movements visible to see how the clock operates. He designed it using Autodesk Inventor, and has provided the files online for anyone to use — He notes it would be especially easy to make if you have a laser cutter or CNC router!

Anyway, the clock is made out of 3mm thick acrylic, 5mm brass shafts, nylon string, some heavy weights (lead), and some nuts and screws. After printing out his CAD templates, [Ben] carefully used a scroll saw to cut out every gear and linkage — We’re impressed.

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An Etch-A-Sketch to Fetch the Time

For someone who has never used stepper motors, real-time clocks, or built anything from scratch, [Dodgey99] has done a great job of bending them to his will while building his Etch-A-Sketch clock.

He used two 5V stepper motors with ULN2003 drivers. These motors are mounted on the back and rotate the knobs via pulleys. They are kind of slow; it takes about 2 1/2 minutes to draw the time, but the point of the hack is to watch the Etch-A-Sketch. [Dodgey99] is working to replace these steppers with Nema 17 motors which are much faster. [Dodgey99] used an EasyDriver for Arduino to drive them. He’s got an Arduino chip kit in this clock to save on the BOM, but you could use a regular Arduino. He left out the 5V regulator because the EasyDriver has one.

[Dodgey99] has published three sketches for the clock: one to set up the RTC so that the correct time is displayed once the Etch-A-Sketch is finished, some code to test the hardware and sample the look of the digits, and the main code to replace the test code.

The icing on this timekeeping cake is the acrylic base and mounting he’s fashioned. During his mounting trials, he learned a valuable lesson about drilling holes into an Etch-A-Sketch. You can’t shake an Etch-A-Sketch programmatically, so he rotates it with a Nema 17. Check it out after the jump.

If you’re paying attention, you’ll realize we just saw the exact opposite of this project a few hours ago: a CNC tool (laser cutter) controlled by turning Etch-A-Sketch knobs.

[Read more...]


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