In this Weekend Project, we build an "old" analog clock, designed by Instructables user gzumwalt. The 3D printed gadget corrects itself via software and an NTP clock server.
This “antique” auto-correcting analog clock was designed by Instructables user gzumwalt. Rest assured, it’s the real thing (kind of). That’s because the inspiration for the original design came from a real analog belonging to gzumwalt’s grandmother.
This DIY clock takes after grandma’s in a number of ways. For example, assuming you follow the instructions to the T, the case should be printed using wood and copper PLA. Apart from that, all of the inner workings are just like those found in grandma’s clock.
Naturally, there are some major differences, as well. While the former clock used a spring-driven mechanism, gzumwalt’s uses an Adafruit Feather ESP32 and a stepper motor.
How the Clock Works
This auto-correcting clock relies on software and an NTP clock server to keep time.
At regular intervals, the software will poll the NTP clock server, and the time received – from the NTP server – is recorded in the ESP32 clock. Whenever it’s 12:00 (either noon or midnight) and the clock happens to be off for any reason, the software will fast-forward the hands to the 12 o’clock position, from which point the clock will resume its operation.
All the STL files are available on the Instructables page.
Using an Ultimaker 2 Extended+ and an Ultimaker 3 Extended, gzumwalt 3D printed all parts using a layer height of .15 mm and didn’t require any supports. Most of the pieces were printed using a 20% infill. Bolts and standoffs were printed using 50% infill.
The DIYer designed the parts in Autodesk Fusion 360 and sliced them using Cura 3.5.1.
Before assembling the printed parts, test if they fit and file or sand them as much as you can to facilitate a smoother movement. Ensure all the edges that were in contact with the printer plate are well filed.
Pay special attention to moving surfaces, like the gear teeth, and eliminate any build plate “dirt”. For the threaded parts, a tap and die set may come handy, mainly because this clock relies on threaded components.
Once you’ve done those things, here is a general overview of the assembly steps:
In case you are using a battery, plug it into the Feather ESP32 battery connector. Then, while taking care not to break the reed switch, align the clock’s front assembly onto its rear assembly. Join the front assembly to the clock rear using 3D printed bolts (6 mm x 8 mm).
The hour gear will hold the hour hand while the minute gear will hold the minute hand.
Your clock is now ready: Power it up and watch it tell the time! (Unless you have something better to do…)
License: The text of "Weekend Project: Auto-Correcting Analog Clock" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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