Mechanical Clock Designed For a CNC Router Gets New Life Using a 3D Printer

3d printed clock

[Madis Kaasik] designed a clock a while back using Solid Edge (3D CAD) — but never got a chance to build it — until he became an exchange student at a university in Norway with access to a big industrial 3D printer!

He had originally intended for it to be cut out using a CNC router or with a laser cutter, but when discovered he could use the university’s 3D printer he decided to give it a shot — it’s actually the very first thing he’s ever printed! The designs had to be modified a little bit for 3D printing, but now that it’s done he’s also uploaded them to Thingiverse for anyone to use.

It took quite a bit of fine tuning with the pendulum, weights, and gears to get it ticking properly, but what [Madis] enjoyed most about this project was the realization of just how vast the possibilities of 3D printing are — he’s excited to begin his next big 3D printing endeavor!

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The Hour of the 3D Printed Clock Draws Nigh

clock_3d_printed_display_large

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!

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