Posts Tagged ‘howto’

Silly Wal(l Cloc)k

2012.10.28 18:47 by Leo Antunes - 9 Comments

[UPDATE: I finally got around to doing a second version, with proper materials]

Inspired by this clock (UPDATE: now it earned a full-fledged blog), which made the rounds a few weeks back, and fueled by a bet to see who could make it first (hi Fabs!), ladies and gentleman, I’m honored to introduce to you, the Silly Wal(l Cloc)k:

The finished clock

This is a prototype version, done without any fancy precision tools and whatnot, so you can easily see that it’s not the most high quality product you’ll ever get your hands on. If anyone wants to reproduce this at home, here’s how it was done:

First get a hold of some cheap wall clock like this one:

The original cheap clock

Some things to think about when buying this beauty *cough*:

  • Cheap clocks seem to usually be built in a disassemble-friendly way, but just to be sure, check you won’t have to break anything to get to the clock face and the hands.
  • If possible, get a clock with the numbers printed to the glass. This isn’t that important, but saves you a bit of work.
  • Depending on how the hands are attached to the clock mechanism, it may be a good idea to get a clock with black hands. This is  important because of the little “tack” used in some models to cover the axis on which the hands are attached. Otherwise John Cleese will have to perform his silly walk with some randomly colored dot on his ass.

Disassembling this specific cheap model was pretty straightforward and didn’t take more than a minute to get to juicy parts:

Clock parts: actual clock, cover tack and hands

As a base image I used this and traced it to produce this SVG with the legs in different layers and a marker for the holes. For this prototype, it would probably have been ok to use the original photo directly, but having the vector version ready means it’s easy to use a 3d printer and laser-cutter to make the next version of the hands and face, which will definitely look and behave a lot better.

Next step is printing the three layers – body and two legs. Since this specific clock is wider than an A4 sheet, I had to use some white cardboard as background (the clock’s own box  – hurray for resourcefulness) and painstakingly cut the printed body’s outline, to avoid the slight tone difference between cardboard and paper. If you use the provided SVG and a laser-cutter, you’d hopefully avoid this sort of issue.

I didn’t have any black cardboard lying around, so I had to print the legs, cut the outline again and strengthen them with some thin cardboard from tea boxes (taken directly from the trash – hurray for resourcefulness again). Again something that 3d printing will hopefully side-step. It’s important to use light materials for the legs, since most clock mechanisms don’t have enough force to move heavy hands, which would cause the clock to quickly loose precision.

Depending on the width of the clock’s axis, a paper hole puncher might be the ideal tool to make holes in the legs. Since the prototype was largely made with paper, there was no point in going for precision when making the holes, as there’s no way to fit the legs tightly to the clock’s axis. For this, the original hands were cut in length and used as a base on which to super-glue the legs, so the original holes could be used.

After these few easy steps, it’s only a matter of reassembling the clock and voilà!

Silly Wal(l Clock)k