Synchronicity Clock

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Project by DickB posted 06-18-2013 01:49 PM 4262 views 10 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Synchronicity is an exposed wood gear clock with a novel drive mechanism. Like one of my previous clocks, it uses an electromagnetic pendulum drive. A rare earth magnet is hidden in the back of the pendulum. As it swings past a coil hidden in the clock’s back, a battery-powered circuit detects this and injects a pulse of current, repelling the magnet and giving the pendulum a push. A microcontroller measures each and every swing of the pendulum, and slightly speeds up or slows down the pendulum as needed, so the clock keeps perfect time.

I used Baltic Birch for the wheels (large gears) in previous clocks, but this time I wanted to give the gears more character, so I used 7/16” oak. Blanks were made up from eight pieces of oak wedges. I glued together four wedges at a time to make halves of the blanks, then sanded the sides of the blank halves to be glued to each other together. This corrected a slight error in the angle of the wedge cuts. The blanks were then raster carved to produce the hub and spokes, and the teeth vector cut.

The clock was entered and won a recent Carvewright contest. All of the parts were designed using the Carvewright Designer software and machined using the Carvewright CNC machine. Only a 1/16” ball nose carving bit, a 1/8” straight cutting bit, and a 60 degree V bit were used.

Most of the gears ride on brass bushings made of hobby brass tubing, but key parts such as the ratchet wheel and second hand shaft, and pendulum, are on bearings (like RC car bearings). A cam at the pendulum pivot is used to drive the moving pawl. This limits the travel of the pawl, regardless of the angle of swing of the pendulum, the latter of which is varied to regulate timekeeping.

The clock was designed to be a wall clock, but Carvewright intends for the contest-winning projects to travel to trade shows and the like. So I built a stand for it for more convenient display. I also built a shipping box to ensure the clock could travel safely. And I made a video for the contest, to highlight features of the clock and illustrate some of the design and build process:

A variety of woods were used: mahogany back, oak wheels and pawls, maple frame and pinions, pine face and pendulum, hickory bob and stand, and walnut hands. No stains were used, just three coats of satin lacquer, the final coat out of a spray can.

I have a few tweaks to make to the design to make the clock a bit easier to build. Once I do that, I intend to put the design into the Carvewright Pattern Depot for others to build. (Sorry, Carveright files use a proprietary format, so it is not possible for me to convert to DXF for other machines.)

-- Dick,

14 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3011 days

#1 posted 06-18-2013 02:02 PM

This is great. I love these types of clocks. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3721 days

#2 posted 06-18-2013 02:07 PM

Very cool a wonderful and unique.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Sanding2day's profile


1014 posts in 1991 days

#3 posted 06-18-2013 02:10 PM

Incredible! Wish I could tell you I understood half of your posting but this would be a falsehood… Amazing work without a doubt… Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2436 days

#4 posted 06-18-2013 03:32 PM

Very nicely done!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3058 days

#5 posted 06-18-2013 05:04 PM

This has to be much fun to watch it operate!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3951 days

#6 posted 06-18-2013 05:27 PM

nice work. Where did you find the circuit that imparts the pulse? I have designed my own circuit but, I find that mine is an energy hog and will not survive several months of battery power without a change. The gears will be an issue as soon as you cross weather boundaries during your travel. I have some experience here! I’d be willing to share my own experiences with you. Your call. Well done!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3951 days

#7 posted 06-18-2013 05:28 PM

View Diggerjacks's profile


2270 posts in 3283 days

#8 posted 06-18-2013 06:38 PM

Hello Dick

Congratulations for the piece and the patience

A fantastic work

I love all these types of clocks (a project like this in the future for me perhaps !!!)

Thanks for sharing

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View DickB's profile


67 posts in 2463 days

#9 posted 06-18-2013 07:22 PM

Thanks all!

HorizontalMike, you can see it run in the video.

Max, your clocks are amazing! I design and build my own electronics. This clock is not as efficient as I would like. I think it will do better with a stronger magnet and a double coil. That is one of the tweaks I plan to try.

-- Dick,

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2318 days

#10 posted 06-18-2013 09:23 PM

This is truly a work of art! Jaw dropping gorgeous.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Tim's profile


273 posts in 2002 days

#11 posted 06-19-2013 01:01 PM

This is an awesome clock I love it.

-- No tree was harmed in the making of this project...... wait a minute, yes there was, uh oh

View majuvla's profile


13024 posts in 3012 days

#12 posted 06-19-2013 02:15 PM

It’s hard to say something clever. It’s so amaizing that I’m speachless.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View mcoyfrog's profile


4487 posts in 3738 days

#13 posted 06-19-2013 06:44 PM

Way cool!!! Very intense design, I dig it, and I love clocks…

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

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

391 posts in 3226 days

#14 posted 03-07-2017 05:06 AM

I like the design. Very nicely done. I like solid wood gears much more than Baltic birch.

-- Steve

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