Hawkeye, The 3D-Printed Tourbillon Movement

As if building tiny mechanisms with dozens of moving parts that all need to mesh together perfectly to work weren’t enough, some clock and watchmakers like to put their horology on hard mode with tourbillon movements. Tourbillons add multiple axes to the typical gear trains in an attempt to eliminate errors caused by the influence of gravity — the movement essentially spins on gimbals while tick-tocking away.

It feels like tourbillons are too cool to lock inside timepieces meant for the ultra-rich. [Alduinien] agrees and democratized the mechanism with this 3D-printed tourbillon. Dubbed “Hawkeye,” [Alduinien]’s tourbillon is a masterpiece of 3D printing. Composed of over 70 pieces, the mechanism is mesmerizing to watch, almost like a three-axis mechanical gyroscope.

The tourbillon is designed to be powered either by the 3D-printed click spring or by a small electric motor. Intended mainly as a demonstration piece, [Alduinien]’s Thingiverse page still only has the files for the assembled mechanism, but he promises to get the files for the individual pieces posted soon. Amateur horologists, warm up your 3D-printers.

Tourbillons are no stranger to these pages, of course. We’ve done an in-depth look at tourbillons for watches, and we’ve even featured a 3D-printed tourbillon clock before. What we like about this one is that it encourages exploration of these remarkable instruments, and we’re looking forward to seeing what people do with this design. For those looking for more background on clock escapements in general, [Manuel] wrote a great article on how we turned repetitive motion into timekeeping.

Thanks for the tip, [Rob].

10 thoughts on “Hawkeye, The 3D-Printed Tourbillon Movement

  1. Hello all,
    the Hackaday explanatin of a Tourbillon is wrong!
    The 1st Torbillon, designed and invented by A.L. Breguet, rotates the Esacpewheel and the Balance around the 4th wheel in a cage. The intension was to elininate the gravitational error of the balance in pocket watches which are carried in one upright position.

    3D movenent, gimballs, etc. are later inventions, used in wrist watches, where the effect of the tourbillon is questionable anyway.


    Having sayed this, my nod to such a complex 3D printed device!


  2. This is really cool, but a single STL of the assembled machine is utterly worthless. I understand he says he’s working on a proper release of the files, but what’s the point of even posting them on Thingiverse in this state? Almost feel like he’s abusing the platform by putting effectively a non-printable design up there and using it to get attention.

    1. I think it’s great, he’s released the files in some form….those with the capability will be able to do something with them without asking obvious quesitons……Releasing files for the general public’s consumption however is a recipe for torrents of demands, abuse and general malfeasance from the general public….I can appreciate him making the time to make it ‘numpty proof’ or as close as to avoid future idiocy…..

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