To say that I made a functional clock is a bit of an exaggeration, but I now have made a prototype clock that can at least keep some sort of time with a pendulum. Semi-accurate timekeeping only lasts for a few seconds, until the escapement gear goes haywire, but it’s at least similar to a clock. Check out the video to see what I mean:
Since this is my first try at building a clock, (besides some cool electronic Hard Drive Clocks) and I did almost no research beforehand, I’m not going to call this a failure. However, I think it might be time to “back up and punt” on this design using the lessons I’ve learned. Here’s a few things to remember for the next clock:
Gears Are Complicated
As mentioned in my first mechanical clock post, my gear design consisted of drawing a block on top of a circle and giving it some sort of corner radii. Given that the Machinery’s Handbook has many, many pages on their design, it might take some more thought. Honestly, I’ll probably just use this gear generator.
Friction is a huge enemy to a properly-working clock, and malformed gears certainly can contribute to this.
Driving Gear and Pulley Considerations
The gears that I have are capable of driving from the escapement to the hour hand, however it introduces a lot of friction going in the other direction. Better gears should take care of this, allowing me to mount my pulley on the minute or hour gear. Right now, it’s mounted to the second gear, meaning one revolution for every minute. That’s a lot of winding.
After a bit more poking around, and asking about this Trebuchet Clock on Youtube, I may actually add a separate driving gear to hang the pulley from. This should work better than trying to use one of the other gears.
As shown to the right, everything is currently attached to one board. The rods tend to flex, and seem to be slightly bent. This is a huge issue for the escapement, and I think the reason that it runs extremely fast during part of its rotation. Better rods (maybe brass) and a second, supporting frame should help this issue.
Proper Gear Attachment
Glue does not work to attach gears together, especially when Teflon washers are involved. Small nails work pretty well, and I’ll probably try to pre-drill the gears for this method in the next iteration. This should make things more precise.
Above is another video of my clock. I’m not sure if the rod is bent, throwing the escapement gear off, or the center hole is off, but either way it doesn’t quite work correctly.
I’ll probably return to clock-making at some point, however, I feel like I’ve gotten to a good stopping place for the time being. In the mean time, I’ve got some other really cool projects in the works or that are simply ideas now, so be sure to subscribe (upper-right sidebar) to see what comes next on JCOPro!