The Times They Are A-Chaining

If [Bob Dylan] had seen [Pgeschwi]’s bike chain clock, it might have influenced the famous song. The clock uses a stepper motor and a bike chain to create a clock that has a decidedly steampunk vibe. Despite the low-tech look, the build uses 3D printing and, of course, a bike chain.

A full view of the bike chain clock.

The clock doesn’t just show the time. There is a contraption to show the day of the week, and a pendulum shows the current phase of the moon. The visible wiring is all old-school brass wire on the wood base. [Pgeschwi] is considering changing out all the 3D printed parts for brass ones, so this may be just an early prototype of the final product, but it still looks great.

The design used common tools, including Tinkercad and an online gear generation tool. There are a lot of details you wouldn’t suspect until you tried to build something like this yourself. For example, making the chain reliably go in both directions required a timing belt to synchronize the top gears. Getting the numbers on the chain to pass by the gears.

It is hard to tell from the picture, but there’s an LED under the 10-minute marks that shows the unit’s digits of the time. There are no markings for it yet,  but in the picture, the time is actually 4:09.

We love unusual clocks, and we see plenty of them. From Fibonacci clocks to magnetic field line clocks, we love them all.

6 thoughts on “The Times They Are A-Chaining

    1. Just needs a longer chain? The main limitation is that since the numbers are attached to one side of the link the chain can only bend in one direction, but if they were attached to the front the chain could be stowed in a serpentine, though it would be harder to make it loop like it currently does.

        1. The digits are transparent and backlit.
          I’m not saying that it can’t be done, as this is hackaday, but I think it would be slightly more complicated than you suggest.

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