Mantle Clock With Handmade Gears/Movement

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Project by afnid posted 05-26-2010 08:26 AM 3391 views 7 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just finished this yesterday and took these pictures today before dropping this off at the Del Mar Fair. I don’t get to see it again until June 11th when the fair starts, and another month before I can bring it home again. Looking back the pictures show every finger print, speck of dust and odd reflections that show imaginary defects.

This was my final project from my first woodworking class at Palomar College in San Marcos CA. I wanted to do something unique and one thing led to another..

Primary Wood: Bloodwood
Secondary Wood: Spalted Birdseye Maple
Wooden Gears: Baltic Birch
Hands: Ebony
Dial Plates: Aluminum
Arbors: Brass, Mounted With Bearings
Finish: Equal parts Varnish/Mineral Spirits/BLO sanded in.

I made every part of this other than the handmade glass I ordered, the motors, bearings, and electronic components. I did design several electronic circuits and write the control software. I spent a little over 20 hours working with a metal lathe cutting the arbors. I did the clock design with google sketchup and wrote a program to create the gear templates.

I had to complete the movement to make sure the case dimensions were adequate, and then order the hand-made beveled glass, so it made the schedule pretty tight. The last two pictures show the clock with the front door off. The door sits on a cleat on the bottom and secures with a magnet at the top so there is no visible hardware.

The clock is driven by two stepper motors, one for the main dial-train and one for the second hand. There is a false bottom with a hidden shelf that slides out the back to house an Arduino micro-controller for the motors, an Atomic clock receiver, LED lighting and a couple other techie features you will just have to see in person. I did not have time to completely dial in the motor driver and dial train so I submitted it without the electronics and hope to slip the micro-controller in on the first day of the fair.

I built a second clock with the same case design in African Mahogany/Maple but with a smaller size and a production movement that I may post later. It was my backup project in case I ran into a dead-end on this one. Each step was an open question whether it was within my realm of capability .. and I am extremely pleased with the results.

27 comments so far

View John Fleming's profile

John Fleming

29 posts in 2218 days

#1 posted 05-26-2010 08:34 AM

This is an awesome clock. I saw it today at the Palomar College Open House/Awards event. I built mine in the fall semester but this is just so different. I cannot beiieve you took the time and effort to to do this wonderful creative work.

I had my router table posted yesterday and just like you I was finishing last minute details. Look at yesterdays post in projects.

Best of Luck at the fair.

Woodworker in Training
Palomar College

-- Woodworker in Progress, Oceanside CA

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16729 posts in 2763 days

#2 posted 05-26-2010 08:37 AM

Marvelous project :=) Welcome to Lj!! Good luck at the fair.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View AKWoody's profile


56 posts in 2250 days

#3 posted 05-26-2010 08:38 AM

Amazing… great work!!

View Ken90712's profile


16034 posts in 2276 days

#4 posted 05-26-2010 11:34 AM

Perfect! Very Nice!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Maveric777's profile


2692 posts in 2164 days

#5 posted 05-26-2010 12:19 PM

Now this is way to cool. Outstanding work!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View toyguy's profile


1458 posts in 2924 days

#6 posted 05-26-2010 01:05 PM

Way cool…......... Love it.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View toxicoval56's profile


158 posts in 2590 days

#7 posted 05-26-2010 02:16 PM

This is amazing. I really like everything about it. It is one of my favorites for sure.

-- The view only changes for the leading dog.

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1585 posts in 2339 days

#8 posted 05-26-2010 02:19 PM

Awesome job i love the case.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Yekrub's profile


47 posts in 2088 days

#9 posted 05-26-2010 03:00 PM

That is one awesome clock. The added engineering aspect is unbelievable. Great work!

View OttoH's profile


885 posts in 2097 days

#10 posted 05-26-2010 03:01 PM

I am glad you pushed your realm of capability, it is a fantastic project that you can be very proud of forever! Good luck at the fair.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 2296 days

#11 posted 05-26-2010 03:35 PM

You have every reason to be pleased! Beautiful piece of craftsmanship. I can imagine those woods shimmering together in the sunlight.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3306 days

#12 posted 05-26-2010 03:46 PM


-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View sras's profile


4266 posts in 2216 days

#13 posted 05-26-2010 04:48 PM

Impressive! The motor drive and wooden gears is a great idea! You get the look of a wooden movement without the need to rewind a purely mechanical movement. This turned out great!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View a1Jim's profile


113822 posts in 2664 days

#14 posted 05-26-2010 04:59 PM

Fantastic clock a outstanding project

-- Custom furniture

View isetegija's profile


762 posts in 2602 days

#15 posted 05-26-2010 05:06 PM

Most excellent work.
Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.

-- Not my woodworking

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