Wooden gears, moving parts, clock...project design help...

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Forum topic by dakremer posted 10-21-2011 12:09 AM 6259 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2683 posts in 3177 days

10-21-2011 12:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: gears clock movie projector

Hey everyone. My 2nd cousin whom I’ve known my entire life (lived right next door to me growing up) just sent me an unexpected/amazing gift in the mail. The only way I can think to show my gratitude is to make him something really cool that I know he’ll love. He is big into movies…went to USC for a degree in film, and would like to be a producer some day.

I’m thinking about building him some sort of clock to hang on the wall. Possible a silhouette of a movie projector like pictured below….

Maybe not exactly this picture…but something simliar. Maybe not even just a silhouette but something with a little more depth to it. I would also like to make the movie reels spin (possibly even get a hold of some old film and wrap it around the reels. I’m not sure if I want to cut out the movie reels out of wood or actually go buy some used reels somewhere. I’m assuming I would need some sort of “step motor” for the spinning reels? Then some small gears to tie the two reels together (which I know how to make) I know nothing about motors, so am curious as to what type of motor would be best. I obviously wouldnt want it to spin very fast and the motor must be pretty flat (and quiet) as I dont want the clock sticking out from the wall too much. Would a motor like this be battery operated, or need to be plugged in? I would like the ability to be able to turn on or shut off the spinning reels completely separate to the functioning of the clock.

I’m also curious as to a good source of clock parts (motor, hands, numbers, etc)

Thanks for any advice you can give me. Maybe I’ll make a video blog of my process in making it! Should be interesting

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

14 replies so far

View dakremer's profile


2683 posts in 3177 days

#1 posted 10-21-2011 12:19 AM

or another idea would be something like this….

maybe have the reel spinning in the background with some sort of glass face for the numbers and clock??? I dont know how that’d work though because the step motor and the clock motor would have to be stacked on top of each other….

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2928 days

#2 posted 10-21-2011 12:25 AM

This was one of Matthias Wandel’s latest posts at . Good luck. -Jack

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3056 days

#3 posted 10-21-2011 12:28 AM

Perhaps a reel could be the “second” hand.

Or one reel for hours and he other for minutes. Would be moving very slow, however.

If you don’t mind having a plug-in clock, the motor you want is called a syncronus motor. They run at multiples of 60 hertz. Offers more flexability in what you can do because they have huge torque.

View SPalm's profile


5321 posts in 3967 days

#4 posted 10-21-2011 12:32 AM

You should just build a CNC first. Then who knows?


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View StumpyNubs's profile


7636 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 10-21-2011 12:54 AM

If you are going to have the three tripod legs (or at least the top of them as shown in the image) make the center one a pendulum. Then forget the spinning reels. Believe me, it would be a LOT simpler and the pendulum movement makes everyone giddy by itself.

If you can figure out how to make the reels spin at a slow speed without making the clock bulky and giving people seizures from all the movement, you better patent that sucker and go into business.

Plus, you’re a woodworker. Make the reels out of wood…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Brit's profile


7419 posts in 2928 days

#6 posted 10-21-2011 12:55 AM

Well good luck with that one Doug. :-)

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View sras's profile


4844 posts in 3215 days

#7 posted 10-21-2011 03:00 AM has lots of what you are looking for. You could use an extra clock motor to drive a reel. They have a heavy duty motor for driving really large hands. Most of their motors are battery powered

The esteemed Mr. Nubs has a point. The idea of the reels will have a big impact. Making them move will be cool, but the clock will be cool either way

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2649 days

#8 posted 10-21-2011 03:41 AM

good for you that with your upcoming wedding you have enough time to do humidors and now this…never made a clock so i can’t offer much advise other than a good luck

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20927 posts in 3191 days

#9 posted 10-21-2011 01:23 PM

Order a Clock Kit catalog and you will get them for ever. They are in Wisconsin and they have a complete supply of clock making parts. They can also make engraved name plates pretty cheap to attach to a nice gift like that!!

What might be cool is to have a clock movement stationary in the center and the reel moving slowly around it!!

Good luck…..........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View helluvawreck's profile


31994 posts in 2952 days

#10 posted 10-21-2011 05:57 PM

Take a look at Jameco Electronics and Radio Shack. They have small controllers called stamps that you could use to control such a device and they are not that expensive. Learning how to program them is easy. You can get a kit that has the stamp, the software, and even a small robot. I have also bought similar things from Hobby Engineering. You can get inexpensive plastic gears and brass bushings (bearings) from good old McMaster Carr#. You could make your reals out of 1/4 inch plywood with a router or scroll saw. Be careful, Dak. This thing is sort of habit forming. Believe me I know from experience. I lost 1-1/2 years of woodworking when I took it up and wasn’t able to think about anything else.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View thejaz's profile


40 posts in 2568 days

#11 posted 10-21-2011 06:37 PM

Hey Buddy,
How ‘bout something like this ? ;-)

-- Tom Snyder - theJaz

View dakremer's profile


2683 posts in 3177 days

#12 posted 10-21-2011 07:09 PM

now that is really cool, Jaz!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 3000 days

#13 posted 10-23-2011 08:09 PM

I think has info on making wooden gears and such…

-- Steven Davis - see me at

View dakremer's profile


2683 posts in 3177 days

#14 posted 10-23-2011 10:27 PM

Thanks Steve! – yeah I’ve been to that site – he is a smart smart man. I’ve got the gear part down – my confusion lies with what motor, wiring, etc…..

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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