Tell Time Contest Winners: Clocks To Knock Your Socks Off

The results are in and the Tell Time Contest was a spectacular showing of creativity. Five winners and a number of runners-up have have been chosen based on craftsmanship, functionality, and creativity.

The one that’s going to steal your heart is Fetch: A Ferrofluid Display. Pitting the force of gravity against electromagnetism, this project manages to wrangle a liquid into the segments of a display and the animations used to change between numbers are fascinating. It’s a wickedly complicated system and the gang over at Applied Procrastination did a great job of documenting the research and development that went into building this open source marvel. Has anyone tried to replicate it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Mechanical movements date back to the transition away from sundials and hourglasses, but these two modern takes on “clockwork” prove there’s still plenty of room for creativity. The first is a plotter that uses two servo motors and a UV LED to draw hours and minutes on a phosphorescent material.

The second is both minimal and a stunning mastery of a traditional clock mechanism. TORLO uses the voice coil from a hard drive to move the gears. It’s 3D-printed and does it all in plain sight, superb!

Fans of the Alien franchise will immediately recognize this insect-like “facehugger”, the second stage of a developing Xenomorph. Embracing the tradition of the Cuckcoo clock, at the top of the hour a “Chestburster” pops through the chest of the bust to mark the passage of time. Creepy but well executed.

The flip-dot display uses a beautiful home-etched circuit board to keep things tidy inside of the case. Of course the question with these displays is always “where did you get the flip dots?”. This panel is on it’s second life after serving a tour of duty as a bus info sign.

Runners Up and Eight Score of Entries

Congratulations to all of our runners-up in the Tell Time contest. It was a tight field with 160 total entries, each of them a fascinating take on the simple, yet very complex practice of watching the seconds tick away. Add this to your weekend bucket list as you’ll certainly get lost in the details of many of these projects.

10 thoughts on “Tell Time Contest Winners: Clocks To Knock Your Socks Off

  1. Surprised the digital clock made of analog clocks didn’t get any love. Of all the entries I saw, that’s the only one I’d actually want to make a space for because it seemed more like a commentary art piece, which is all the use I have for a non-phone clock.

    Still, congrats to all the winners, if nothing else I got some neat ideas for displaying things other than time.

    1. I am the author of one of those project. The original maker of the type of clock goes after any type of copies (hobby or commercial) very aggressively over copyright claim. So the youtube video, etc has been removed. So that is a warning if you plan to make a clock like that, you can make it but not tell anyone about it.

      1. I recently came across a onlne laser-cutting service in Germany which had the exact same problem with the word clocks. The had a FAQ saying whatever the design is, if it resembles a word clock in any way they won’t produce it.

        It’s the QLOCKTWO License GmbH if anybody wants to know the name of the company sueing.

        Here’s the link to a translation:

        What a mess!

        1. hmm, clicked “report comment” by accident, pity you can’t undo your action. Anyway, i tried to buy one of those QlockTWO frontplates recently from a webshop who also sold the clocks. They send me an email that i would have to supply a photo of the registration number of my QlockTWO clock, otherwise they wouldn’t sell met the frontplate.
          But it’s cheaper (and more fun) to buy my own lasercutter and build a wordclock than to buy a QlockTWO ;)

  2. Hackaday should do an article on how the Chinese can make an LCD clock and ship it free of shipping charges to the US for less than $2.00. Shipping alone for anyone in the US would be more than that. Go to ebay and search for LCD clock and select lowest cost + shipping.

  3. The 7 segment display array clock was pretty neat. I wonder if choosing a different color would’ve helped it get farther. The cost would’ve skyrocketed though. Still, a very neat idea and execution.

  4. There is a bug with magnet ink clock, featured on the top as an animated gif video, since magnet ink movev up on every seconds digit changed, what may suggest, it is placed upside down, gravitation force making the trick

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