Ikea Clock Gets Wanderlust

We always enjoy unique clocks, and a recent 3D print from [David Kingsman] caught our eye. It converts an Ikea clock into a very unusual-looking “wandering hour” clock that uses a Geneva drive to show a very dynamic view of the current time. The concept is based on an earlier wandering clock, but [David] utilized a different mechanism.

To read the clock, you note which hour numeral is in range of the “minute arc” and read the time directly. So if the 12 hour is over the 20-minute mark, the time is 12:20. Besides the clock, you need a fair number of printed parts, although they all look like relatively simple prints. You’ll also need 13 bearings and some metric hardware. A piece of cardboard used for the face rounds out the build.

Modifying the clock is more than just taking it apart. There is a template file to print, and you’ll need to align it and drill holes as indicated.

If you haven’t seen a Geneva drive before, it translates a continuous rotation into intermittent rotation. This isn’t the first clock we’ve seen use this kind of drive, although the last one we saw represented time differently. If you want something even more mechanical, try a chain-driven clock.

29 thoughts on “Ikea Clock Gets Wanderlust”

1. Chuck says:

Why? There could be just one drive wheel (bigger in the center) with three driven in geneva mechanism and no internal gears.

1. clockman says:

Well why don’t you design one like that?

2. m1ke says:

Why waste your time with gears? All you need it to cut a triangle out of your favorite material and point it north. Nuclear powered clock.

3. Paul says:

just one drive wheel (bigger in the center) with three driven in geneva mechanism
Might want to think that one through a bit…

1. Bob says:

As @Sobiguy say, why have the fancy gears if you don’t show them off?

All you need is a pin sticking up to flip the hour indicators a 1/4 turn before they reach the minutes scale. Add a little spring-loaded cam to lock it into place.

That didn’t take much thinking. When people talk about over-engineering, shown them this clock.

2. Bob says:

Ok, so I looked at the original design and it works as I described, but lacks something to lock the hands. Easy to add.

Locking is as simple as having a square shaft with a flat spring against it.

4. volt-k says:

I agree, it has way too many gears and bearings, it could be simplified a lot.
As clockman said, it would be a good idea to just make a remix/redesign, nothing is stopping you or anyone else from doing that. I’m actually quite tempted to do that now.

2. Danjovic says:

Absolutely awesome!

3. Blerik says:

I love this. My son is learning to read clocks and he’s having a hard time of it. Because of all the historic baggage*. This thing is clear and simple. I can read a normal clock, takes me maybe 5 seconds. This thing took me 5 seconds to understand, then less than a second to read. Brilliant.

* 12hr clock, 24hr day. Starts at midnight/noon. 2 scales (12h/60m) on one dial. Smaller hand is more important, etc…

1. I’m 39 and still can not read a clock with dials (at least not fast). The minute hand is never a problem for me. But hours, past the :40 or so minute I think “The hour hand is at 8, the minute hand is at 40, so it’s 8:40” instead of the 7:40 that it really is.
Funny thing is I have several clocks in my house that are deliberately off (my radio alarm clock is 7 minutes ahead, my wristwatch is (to the second) 10 minutes ahead) and when I see my wristwatch “9:03” I can directly convert that to “7 minutes to 9”.

1. Paul says:

Why would someone want to set a clock deliberately *wrong*?
Confuse a guest? Some kind of psychology trick to keep people off balance?
Timepieces are about the closest thing to absolute truth we have in life. What can you trust if your *clock* lies to you?
And what would I conclude about a person who deliberately makes a clock lie to me? Sicko.

1. They are my bedroom clock and my wristwatch. Both for my personal viewing only.

The bedside clock has a very practical reason: I often have to wake up at the top of the hour, and want to listen to the news, so to be awake at that time have the alarm clock a few minutes earlier. Setting the clock to 7:53 is a chore (61 presses), setting it to 8 only requires 9 presses.

The wristwatch started because my first watch ran a little fast, then I became used to it. Last year, I though “this is childish” and put my clock back to normal time, but even after a few months I still wasn’t used to it so I went back to GMT+1:10.

I defy your notion that time is a “truth”, regularly working with people in different time zone that differ by how much they are apart throughout the year (Sidney is 8,9 or 10 hour apart, western Canada 9 save for the few weeks we are on DST and they aren’t).

1. Martin says:

I already thought of deliberately setting my bedside clock 5 minutes later, just to avoid the news beeing the first thing I hear in the morning. Especially from early 2020 on when we had to fear each day more restrictions because of the Corona virus. I found this really disturbing. Sometimes I had the impression, Austria used China as a bad example. I can’t bear being forced to wear that stupid mask. Finally this seems to come to an end now

2. Martin says:

As I use digital watches since the age of 12, I am also a little slow in reading clock hands. I like to say “time is a number, not an angle.” :-) I have an analog/echanical watch ( Rolex Replica) where the hour hand is a little off from manufacturing. So the error you describe is even more likely. Although my preference for digital watches, I used this one once, as it is beautiful – and have been late 1hr for my appointment :-(
I do not know, if I used this watch a second time :-)

2. Conor Stewart says:

Seems to be a problem with the majority of young people now, they seem to have a lot of trouble learning to read an analogue or analogue style clock. In the long run you are probably better pushing through with teaching them to read an analogue clock face.

1. Martin says:

Why? Time is a number, not an angle :-)
I am 51 and had a digital watch since the age of 12. You can imagine, that I am a little slow with reading clock hands. But does it matter? No. I have mostly digital clocks and use one when I want to know the time.

4. Unochepassa says:

Cool! The only thing that bothers me (but only a little) is the ’60’ on the right. I would have expected to find a”59″.

1. Rob Ward says:

It depends on whether we are measuring time, ie 0-59 minutes, or counting minutes ie 1-60, but 0-60 is wrong as they are the same “number or position” in the clock clock arithmetic. However in spite of that, it is a super fun clock!!!

1. It will show simultaneously 5:60 and 6:00.. which kind of makes sense :)

2. ka6cr says:

It is “wrong” only if it bothers you that the clock should display a time in two ways simultaneously: Xh 60min and (X+1)h 0min.

5. The Commenter Formerly Known As Ren says:

But can it play DOOM?

6. Glamar says:

Love it, but it is moving counter-clockwise. Maybe move the minutes to the top.

1. Dude says:

How do you define clockwise?

It’s turning this-clock-wise.

1. Bob says:

@Glamar is right, it’s moving widdershins (and yes, that’s a perfectly cromulent word).

7. rclark says:

A neat twist on the o’ clock. I like it. Looks like it was a fun project.

Growing up we always had a regular round clock, just like our wrist watches. Was never hard to read. Easy as 1, 2, 3…. Then the digital age hit… Anyway I like the old style, but digital seems to have taken over… That, of course, works too, but just doesn’t have the appeal of a pointers to numbers . I also prefer a 24 hour clock. But that’s just me.

8. Sobiguy says:

I agree there are easier ways then with this many gears. But, If you are going to be using Gears in a clock, WHY HIDE THEM?

1. rclark says:

Spray paint the gears copper or brass color and make it a steam punk style clock. Fit right in I think.

9. Bob says:

That is beautiful. I’ve seen this movement type before and was super impressed by it. Making it seems like an epic journey into clocks. I’m going to build this and hang it in the living room, if I can buy the clock. It’s a bestseller on the local Ikea site and sold out everywhere in the country. The only improvement I’d make is reverse the gears, as in, having the gear system face the viewer, to show off the technical side of it. But other than that, this is one of the most impressive clocks I’ve seen in a while. Not for the technicality of it, but because it’s also very easy to read.

10. Johnny says:

I’ve never seen such a collection of clock design critics not building their own clocks.

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