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Numechron digital clock

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Project by DickB posted 06-11-2014 08:37 PM 2478 views 15 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Numechron Digital Clock design was inspired by the Pennwood Model 1364 digital clock. Clocks of this type originated in the 1930s, and were built for many years by the Pennwood and Lawson companies in many different wood, metal, and plastic case styles.

I really liked the Art Deco style of the Model 1364 case and chose to emulate it, although my clock is considerably larger than the prototype. While mimicking the original style, I employed considerable open space in the case design so that the clock’s internals would be visible.

A Pennwood employee, F. Greenwalt, patented the mechanism for this type of clock in 1935. He developed an ingenious set of wheels, cams, and levers to flip the numerals and operate the clock. I consulted the original patent to design the mechanism for my clock.

All of the wooden parts were designed using Carvewright Designer 1.187 and machined with the Carvewright machine.

The hours and minutes numerals are made of 1/4” poplar sourced from Home Depot. The numeral segments were a two-sided carve, the mitered top and bottom edges of the numeral rectangles carved to the proper angles on the back side. (These could have been cut with my table saw, but the Carvewright makes an easier job of machining these relatively small parts that would be a challenge to hold safely while sawing.) Centerline text was used on the front. The seconds wheel segments were made of 1/2” poplar, also sourced from Home Depot. Again, the mitered edges were carved from the back. The Designer 3D tools were very useful to create the miters and the curved face of the seconds segments. Centerline Text and Conforming Vectors were used for the seconds numerals.

Red oak was used for the supports, motor mount, and other parts. Red oak was also used for the bottom of the case. Select pine was used for the clock’s base, and the ribs that make up the case sides and top. The front was made of 1/4” Baltic birch plywood. While it could have been cut in one piece, Model 1364 had an interesting arrangement of veneer, so I made the front of multiple pieces to emulate the original. The pieces were laid out in Designer and cut by the Carvewright with rabbets to make nice lap joints for easy and solid assembly.

In addition to the wooden parts, some brass tubing, springs, and a few ball bearings were used for the mechanism. A 1 RPM synchronous motor powers the clock and keeps accurate time. Motors of this type are used in time card machines and may be readily sourced as replacement parts for about $30.

I have seen photos of many different wood clocks, but I think it is safe to say that Numechron is unique.

Here are links to a couple of short videos:

Video - Numechron

Video - Designing and Making Numechron

-- Dick, http://www.carveshop.com





16 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

16572 posts in 1204 days


#1 posted 06-11-2014 08:46 PM

Very cool. Unique.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Todd's profile

Todd

284 posts in 542 days


#2 posted 06-11-2014 10:59 PM

That’s really cool!

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View neverenougftackle's profile

neverenougftackle

195 posts in 712 days


#3 posted 06-11-2014 11:28 PM

Hi Dick, My mind says there has to be a way to say this, Todd’s expression above is hits close to home,,,, but it seems as Monte put it “Very Cool, Unique” brings your efforts closser to what I have in mind,,,,,,I also am a fad of the 30’s Art Deco, along with the artist visions/designers in that era. That is for sure a conversation starter…..

View gepatino's profile

gepatino

168 posts in 990 days


#4 posted 06-11-2014 11:43 PM

awesome! I always dream of making some kind of clock using wood.

Thanks for the info, and for stealing my sleeping time by puting this ideas in my head. ;)

-- http://about.me/gepatino

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

2259 posts in 2013 days


#5 posted 06-12-2014 12:15 AM

Man that’s a cool looking clock! I love that the working parts are wood!

-- Dean

View Mork's profile

Mork

173 posts in 1641 days


#6 posted 06-12-2014 01:32 AM

I’m putting this at the top of my impressed scale. Very cool! Nice work.

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

624 posts in 770 days


#7 posted 06-12-2014 02:07 AM

Wow definitely cool. Really like the look of the clock and great job on the videos!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View stefang's profile

stefang

14088 posts in 2200 days


#8 posted 06-12-2014 01:33 PM

Love this!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

314 posts in 1933 days


#9 posted 06-12-2014 01:40 PM

Wonderful project. Absolutely outstanding.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA, http://www.MowryJournal.com

View 489tad's profile

489tad

2645 posts in 1877 days


#10 posted 06-12-2014 02:03 PM

That is an amazing job

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View mcoyfrog's profile

mcoyfrog

3683 posts in 2460 days


#11 posted 06-12-2014 06:42 PM

WOW thats way kewl I love it,,, I love clocks

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

418 posts in 818 days


#12 posted 06-12-2014 07:02 PM

Absolutely stunning! Great choice of woods, beautiful design, and excellent craftsmanship. Thanks for showing us how versatile wood can be.

-- Leafherder

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

4546 posts in 1733 days


#13 posted 06-14-2014 06:53 AM

Trully unconventional work! Real art!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1634 posts in 2327 days


#14 posted 06-15-2014 11:19 AM

I really like this. Classy, artistic, and functional. Well done!!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View KnBuzz's profile

KnBuzz

3 posts in 505 days


#15 posted 06-15-2014 05:12 PM

Very nice! I really like the 1930’s style.
Can I ask you for your source of the sync. motors?
Do you see a heat build up issue with the enclosed sync. motor?

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