Parts Shortage Forces Creativity For This Recursive Clock Of Clocks

We’ve been seeing a lot of metaclocks lately — a digital clock whose display is formed by the sweeping hands of an array of individual analog clocks. They can look fantastic, and we’ve certainly seen some great examples.

But in this time of supply pinches, it’s not always possible to gather the parts one needs for a full-scale build. Happily, that didn’t stop [Erich Styger] from executing this circular multi-metaclock with only thirteen of his custom dual-shaft stepper analog movements. Normally, his clocks use double that number of movements, which he arranges in a matrix so that the hands can be positioned to form virtual seven-segment displays. By arranging the movements in a circle, the light-pipe hands can mimic an analog clock face, or perform any of [Erich]’s signature “intermezzo” animations, each of which is graceful and engaging to watch. Check out a little of what this charmingly recursive clock has to offer in the video below.

[Erich] could easily have gotten stuck on the original design — he’s been at this metaclock game for a while, after all. The fact that the reduced part count forced him to get creative on the display is the best part of this build, at least to us.

9 thoughts on “Parts Shortage Forces Creativity For This Recursive Clock Of Clocks

  1. Is there a deeper point to this clock beyond “animations are cool”? I’m not trying to be sarcastic, or devalue the project, animations are cool. But is there some additional use for the readouts I’m missing?

    1. After writing that blog post, a few things have been added: there is an option to keep the middle clock always showing the time. Animations and frequency can be configured, and it has a BLE interface too to control it from a smartphone (or tablet, whatever you have). The outer clocks can be used to show the weather, similar to the previous MetaClockClock: sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowing (both with the colors (blue, white, yellow), plus hand position, plus a wind direction indication (the clock hands/faces indicate the wind direction). At the you can see this as a kind of weather display clock. Maybe someone has other ides?

  2. I think I wrote this with another “meta clock” article:
    It’s not true that this is a clock made of multiple smaller analog clocks.
    The individual “clocks” are not actual clocks.
    2 differences:
    1. The clock hands can move independently from each other, unlike real analog clocks. But that’s not a big problem.
    2. The clock hands have the same length, shape, color, etc. They are identical. So you are unable to know which is the minute hand and which is the hour hand.
    So the individual “clock” was never able to be used to tell time, so it is not a clock.

    It would be cool to make a metaclock out of actual, real clocks.
    Where the controller sends impulses to the clocks’ mechanism to make it move in 1s increments.

    Also, I still think that this project (or some others too) is cool.
    It’s just not correct to call it a clock made of clocks.

  3. I was hoping for more info on the clock stepper motors. It looks like they are just standard ones so not much use for battery power.

    I’ve been looking for a suitable lavet motor that can be modified and which allows you to detect the 12 o’clock position.

    1. I’m using the same dual-shaft stepper motors here as in the other builds (VID28.05). They are not very low power, so I’m using a high-side switch to turn them off. I did consider to modify the motors for zero detection, but at the end it was much easier to use small magnets on the back side of the clock faces and detect them with hall sensors. You can see the sensors in too.

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