Building a Wooden Clock

DIY

I found Clayton Boyer’s site with wooden clocks approximately eight years ago via videos on wooden clocks on YouTube. For a very long time I just looked at these clocks online thinking that it would be awesome to make one.

Here is the video of how I finally made one (it is currently ticking away in our living room):

In 2014 we moved from an apartment into a house and I started to set up a small workshop in the basement. One of the first tools I got was a scroll saw and very soon Carina bought me the plans for the “Number 6” clock from Clayton Boyer’s website. I was quite stressed about making it and getting it to work, but I started almost immediately in any case. After cutting two of the gears (the pinions) on the scroll saw, one (the wind wheel) on the band saw and a few other other parts I stopped. I was working during the day and during my spare time I started to make and sell wooden things that later became Induku Design. This was 3 years ago.

Recently, after just finishing the vivarium project, I was wondering what to make next I remember that I still had the clock to finish. Working from home and making wooden things as part of my day job, I was able to easily fit this into my regular work schedule. After starting almost 3 years ago I was able to finish the clock, most of the work being done in the last 3 weeks.

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Most of the parts completed.

My initial worries about making a wooden clock was completely unfounded. The plans by Claton Boyer is excellent and the Number 6 clock is extremely forgiving. All the gears was cut by hand, and even so, it runs extremely smoothly. I did make some small changes to the design. This included adding a face to the clock and changing some of the features in the bob and pendulum’s design. But I think Clayton will be OK with me adding a few personal touches 😉

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Customized pendulum bob.

I already had some people ask me why I did not use a laser cutter to make the clock and especially the gears. There are several reasons for this the first being that it is very satisfying making the gears by hand and seeing them work. I started this project making the gears by hand and wanted to finish it in the same way. It is quite relaxing putting on headphones while cutting and I actually enjoyed doing it. When I make a next one I will do it in the same way. The second reason is that the 12 mm wood is too thick to cut with a laser. Almost half the gears are 12 mm. I could potentially cut 4 or 6 mm wood and glue the gears together (there is a way to align them and actually not have glue on the edges) but I did not want to do this. The last reason is that I think the residue after laser cutting might be a bit sticky and interfere with the working. I do not mind the dark color of laser-cut edges (not the burnt edges when the laser has too much power), but removing it is quite a hassle. I did not want to construct the clock only to find out that I need to spend a lot of time on sanding the teeth (this may seem like a bit of a contradiction as I did sand the teeth after cutting by hand – BUT removing the whole brown edge is much more work than only shaping the profile and making it silky smooth).

In some cases I did use the laser cutter (but it is certainly not required for building this clock). The face made from 4 mm laser cut plywood. The picture on the bob is laser-cut with the most detail that I think I can cut into wood – this itself was a challenge since the leaves and their stems are very small and fragile. It took a lot of patience to sand and glue it without breaking it.

I used a laser engraver to draw outlines where to cut the parts on the wood. The normal method is to print the plans and glue the paper onto the wood. The way I did it is a bit quicker.

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Traced escape wheel.

I also used the laser cutter to make the weight tube. My first choice would be to hollow out a piece of wood on the lathe – but I do not have a large enough lathe. I thus tried to make a box with 8 sides and thus the hexagonal tube was made. I am very happy with the way it turned out mostly because from this I now know to design and make any polyhedron with finger joints, plywood and a laser cutter – soon I will make an icosahedron just for fun!

The videos that originally introduced me to wooden clock building was by Drew. More recently I have been watching videos on clock making by Chris from Clickspring.

Who knows, someday I might try my hand at metal gears…

 

R

Orrery

DIY

orrerydownload logo.jpg

An orrery is defined as a clockwork mechanism of the solar system (or part of the solar system). The clockwork mechanism is of course the part that I find intriguing and I wanted to make a model that I can sell as a kit. Currently the kit is for sale (buy one here).

This is the result of several weeks of work:

 

There is a discount of 20% to the first 20 subscribers who comment on the video (comment here to be eligible)

orrery

The assemble instructions are available for free download to anyone who are interested in how the mechanism is put together. The skill required to build this is advanced but very rewarding once done. It can be set for any year.

A video with some instructions to make assembly easier is available HERE:

A few interesting notes on this Orrery: 

The gear ratios for the orrery are very interesting. The bottom gear train (T39:T8:T39), rotates the Earth around its own axis once per year. The ratio is 1:1 and has the effect that the Earth is not tidally locked with the Sun (as the Moon is with the Earth). This simulates the seasons as the poles turns towards and away from the Sun at different stages of the year. The place where the tilt is at maximum, is indicated on the disk (these are the solstices in June and December). When the Sun is directly above the equator, is also indicated on the disk (the equinoxes in March and September). Note that the equinoxes and solstices are not on the exact same date each year and averages were calculated and used on this orrery. It is also interesting to note that the solstices and equinoxes are not equally far apart (i.e. the seasons are not equal in length). This is due to the slightly elliptical orbit of the Earth (definitely not simulated in this orrery).

There is a full Moon every 29.53 days (called the synodic month). Note that a full rotation of the Moon actually takes 27.322 (sidereal month – takes the rotation of the Earth into account) but for the orrery we are interested in predicting the Moon phases and this value is not used here. A full Moon every 29.53 days means there are 12.368 rotations of the Moon every year. This is the value that we need to simulate to predict the Moon phases. The following gear ratios were selected: 39:8 and 33:13. The combined gear ratio is 1:12.375. This means that one full rotation (i.e. one year) there will be 12.375 full Moon rotations. The simulated value is close to the real value and the error is less than 0.06% which means the accuracy is 99.94% over the course of one year.

The inclusion of the additional 13 teeth gear is also important. Having two 13 teeth gears in line does not affect the ratio but it does affect the direction of rotation. I called it the inverter gear (T13B) since it changes the Moon’s rotation from clockwise to counterclockwise when the Earth is moved in a counterclockwise direction (i.e. the direction the Earth rotates around the Sun when viewed from the North Pole).

The drive gears (T12RA and T48RA), does not affect the accuracy of the orrery. It is however interesting to note that the gear ratios for these gears are 1:4. This means with each full turn of the crank the orrery moves by 13 weeks. There are 13 radial lines on the shaft disk (BHS). There is also a line on the crank axel (D83). Turning the crank so that the line on the crank axel moves one segment on the shaft disk will thus advance the orrery by one week.

It is important to note that this orrery is made from wood with some limitations in accuracy. The “slop” between the gears means that the arrow can move 3-5 days without turning the gears (tighter gears will mean the mechanism will be hard to move). This means that the resolution is not accurate on a day basis but rather that is accurate within a 5 day interval. However, if the slop is taken into account and the midpoint of the arrow is taken, each time, when the Moon phase is set/read the accuracy is 99.94% per year (see below). I.e. the orrery will be within the correct 5 day interval for 64 years and start to deviate by one day after subsequent rotations.

In the future I want to make a much larger model with and include celestial items. I want to make it out of nice hardwood and and much much larger. But this is just one of the many things I want to make – if I do it it will definitely be documented!

R

Box and Hinge

DIY

I recently made Scrabble box and had several requests for the files (full post on how to make it here). I thus make them available for download here:

FILES

box.pdf

hinge.pdf

board.pdf (just a square board with 15×15 grid)

A few notes on the files.

  • The files are uncompressed PDF’s and it should be possible to import it into most drawing programs and get the vector lines.
  • The board has scoring lines in blue and I usually engrave these at 15% power on a 40 Watt laser.
  • The hinge parts fits onto a 4 mm dowel. The octagon parts will make the hinge a bit more stiff. I glue 3 octagon parts onto the dowel in place and use 2 round parts to pivot on for a loose hinge. For a stiffer hinge use 5 octagon parts with 3 glued to the dowel.
  • There is this awesome site to generate custom boxes: http://www.makercase.com/. The boxes I made here and here was made by editing designs from this site.
  • I do not share any games that might be copyrighted but check out Wikipedia for any rules that you may want to know and pieces that are required for any game. Some are just simple squares with some writing on.

Here is a few photos of the hinges and boxes I refer to (or you can watch the full build videos here  – I would love it if you subscribe to my you-tube channel 🙂  boxes (1)boxes (4)boxes (2)boxes (3)

More projects and maybe some other plans soon…

R