[Keenan Rebera] recently found himself with an old racing clock (a chronoix cc3000) left behind by a roommate. How the roommate obtained such a clock seems murky at best, but undeterred [Keenan] set to work bringing the clock to life with Bluetooth functionality. The mechanical nature of the digits provided a satisfying auditory click, making it a good candidate for some upgrading. The new brain transplant is the venerable ESP32 with an RTC for good measure. He created a custom PCB with QWIC connectors to daisy chain together the driver boards together. Each PCB has four TBD62083 for driving the digits, two MCP expanders to increase the address space. This allows the ESP32 to address all the various segments over I2C. By soldering different pads together, he can change the address of each MCP, giving a maximum of 16 digits (9 possible MCP’s each driving 2 digits).
A handsomely designed app accompanies the clock, making updating the RTC and setting the timezone a breeze. Currently, it is displaying a count down to the time when 2020 is officially over. While 2020 will certainly go down in the books as a tumultuous year, it was a great year for DIY clocks at Hackaday. Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen big LED workshop clocks, esoteric domino clocks, and beautiful clocks that double as works of art. Come 2021, we’re quite confident that [Keenan] will still have a gorgeous clock on his wall ticking and clicking away.
Continue reading “Racing The Old Clock”
[wyojustin] was trying to think of projects he could do that would take advantage of some of the fabrication tech that’s become available to the average hobbyist. Even though he doesn’t have any particular interest in clocks, [wyojustin] discovered that he could learn a lot about the tools he has access to by building a clock.
[wyojustin] first made a clock based off of a design by [Brian Wagner] that we featured a while back. The clock uses an idler wheel to move the hour ring so it doesn’t need a separate hour hand. After he built his first design, [wyojustin] realized he could add a planetary gear that could move an hour hand as well. After a bit of trial and error with gear ratios, he landed on a design that worked.
The clock’s movement is a stepper motor that’s driven by an Arduino. Although [wyojustin] isn’t too happy with the appearance of his electronics, the drive setup seems to work pretty well. Check out [wyojustin]’s site to see the other clock builds he’s done (including a version with a second hand), and you can peruse all of his design files on GitHub.
Looking for more clock-building inspiration? Check out some other awesome clock builds we’ve featured before.
As fun as micro-controllers and RTCs are, sometimes it’s truly fascinating to see a completely mechanical clock. Using only gravity this Pendulum Marble Clock (German version) by [Turnvater Janosch] runs for 12 hours at a time and has an accuracy error of less than one second per day!
It works by raising a 2.5kg weight which sinks approximately 1 meter during that 12 hours. A series of steel ball bearings count the minutes, 5 minute increments, and hours. Every minute one ball is released on the track — when the track fills up, trap doors open releasing the balls to the next level. The first level is minutes, the second, 5 minutes, and the third, hours.
The entire thing is made out of wood, plastic gears, brass and steel wire, and an old flat iron (although we’re really not too sure what that’s used for…)
Continue reading “Mechanical Clock Relies On Marbles To Tick”
Many have tried, but [Christoph Laimer] has succeeded in designing a working, (relatively) accurate clock nearly completely from 3D printed parts. Every gear, pulley, wheel and hand of [Christoph’s] clock is printed. Only a few screws, axles, a weight, and a string are non-printed. Even the crank to wind the clock is a 3D printed part.
[Christoph] designed his clock in Blender. It took quite a bit of design work to create parts that would work and be printable. Even more work was involved in printing over 100 failed prototype parts.
One might think that [Christoph] is using the latest printers from the likes of Makerbot or Utimaker to achieve this feat. It turns out he’s using a discontinued Rapman 3.2 printer. Further proof that even “older” printers are capable of great things! [Christoph] does run his printer rather slowly. Printing a single gear with 0.125 mm layers and a 0.4 mm nozzle takes him 2 or 3 hours.
Mechanically, the clock is gravity powered with an anchor escapement. Rather than a pendulum, [Christoph] chose to use a balance wheel and hairspring assembly to govern the escapement. Even the spring is printed from standard PLA. The weight is suspended from a pulley block. The clock isn’t particularly efficient. 70cm of height will run the clock for only 2 hours.
[Christoph’s] clock has proven to be accurate to within 1/4 second per hour. He hasn’t provided temperature stability data – but being PLA, we’d suggest not getting it too hot!
Continue reading “The Hour Of The 3D Printed Clock Draws Nigh”
Electronics are undoubtedly the basis for our modern society. Leaving out transistor-based devices, and a mechanical clock would be one of the most intricate devices man has come up with. As a Mechanical Engineer, I thought it would be a fun challenge to design and build my own gear-driven clock.
Because clocks have obviously been invented, I wouldn’t be starting from scratch, and I don’t think I could have figured out an escapement on my own. I explain my initial clock escapement and gear reduction design thoughts in this post, and originally getting the escapement to work was my biggest fear.
As seen in the first video after the break, the escapement gear is still a big problem, but not really for the reason I expected. The shaft that the gear sits on seems to be bent, so it allows the escapement to “go free” for part of it’s cycle, losing any sense of accurate timekeeping. Be sure to also check out the second video, especially around 1:50 when I show what happens when an escapement gear goes much faster than a normal clock. Continue reading “Designing And Building A Wooden Mechanical Clock”
If you’ve ever wondered why you’ve never seen a mechanical seven-segment display, now you know. They’re fairly complicated and most likely absurdly expensive, especially when a few light bulbs or LEDs would do the same job equally well. This didn’t stop [kiu] from completing his mechanical seven-segment clock he calls SevenBlocks, and for that we are thankful.
Each of the 28 segments in [kiu]’s clock is made of three layers of acrylic and a short section of a rack gear. Unlike every seven-segment display you’ve ever seen, tiny hobby servos provide the indication for each segment. For the electronics, An ATMega8 is used for the brains of the outfit with a 74HC595 shift register to expand the number of I/O lines. A DS1307 RTC module provides accurate timekeeping, and the dozens of servo outputs visible in the ‘guts shot’ makes you realize why you’ve never seen a mechanical seven segment display before – they’re really friggin’ complex.
If you want to build your own mechanical seven-segment clock, [kiu] put all the files up on Github. Everything is there, from the .DXF files ready to feed to a laser cutter to the schematic and board files for each of the three PCBs. A video showing this clock in action is sort of necessary, so you can check that out after the break.
Continue reading “A Glorious Mechanical Seven Segment Display”