Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

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clockit
Posts: 319
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:05 pm
Location: California, MO

Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by clockit » Thu May 21, 2015 2:37 am

I'll start by saying that building wooden gear clocks is the most rewarding hobby that I have ever done. When I'm asked which one of my clocks is my favorite I always say "the next one". I get as excited about building the next clock as I did my first. Also, I will not claim to be an expert in clock building but I will pass along what I've learned, right, wrong, or indifferent...

I've learned and been mentored by whom I believe is the most knowledgable person in this hobby, Clayton Boyer. I still buy every new plan he puts on his site. If you haven't been there, here's a link http://www.lisaboyer.com/Claytonsite/Claytonsite1.htm. Clayton's plans are very good and provide you with multiple views of the clock assembly as well as very well written instructions. Also, all of his plans are available in DXF file format now, making it that much easier for us CNC'ers.

What I plan to do here is design and build a new clock and document the build as it's happening. I have a pretty organic design process so I'll try to make it as clear as possible, I can promise that there will be some design changes along the way. If nothing else you will hopefully become a little more familar and comfortable with the clock building process and want to build your own. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'll be posting all files related to this build here on the site as I create them. That way, if you want to build one while I'm building this one you could. If nothing else, you'll walk away with a free set of working clock gears that you can build your own frame and put these gears in it, that's how I started. The files will be layout in a manner that you will be able to easily modify virtually any aspect of the build and make it your own.

I will be detailing the programs that I use as well as give you my latest clock gear design spreadsheet. Not only does it have 13 different gear sets combinations identified, it has a form that you can add any one of those sets and it will give you all of the info need to put into most gear generating applications to produce your gear profiles. Not only does it give you the tooth counts, you can decide on the diameter of the largest gear and it will give you the size of all of the other gears as well as the required centerlines need to assemble a frame. Also, I give be highlighting multiple tips that will great enhancing not only your clock building success, things that you usually only learn about through trial and error.

From this point forward I will not longer use the term 'gear', in the clock building world we refer to the big gears as 'wheels' and the small gears as 'pinions'. This will help cut down on confusion as we move forward because each wheel assembly consists of two componets, a wheel and a pinion, so when I speak of the Great Wheel you will know that is different than the Great Wheel Pinion. Speaking of wheels and pinions, developing the moving parts of a wooden gear clock is the easy part, it's all well defined math and hasn't changed for 100's of years, building the frame and finding a place to put all of the stuff that goes into it, to me, is the hardest part, however, that's the part I love best. For this exercise I will be building a 3600 beat per hour (BPH), 43" long pendulum, 5 wheel clock with a Graham escapement. Not only will this clock have an hour chapter ring (normal clock dail face), it will also include a seperate seconds chapter ring. I think they are interesting looking and add something to a clock, however, you can use this same gear set and not have the seconds chapter ring. If you happened to check out the pics of a few of the clocks that I have built you might be surprised to know that 4 of them, although very different in outward appearance, have the same exact drive train.

In clock building your starting point is your pendulum length, it will dictate your BPH which will determine to a degree what tooth counts you can/will use. Within those gear sets you can scale the wheels up or down to your liking but the pendulum length will always stay the same for those gear sets. Gear diameter is only limited by mass and the amount of force needed to turn it, and more importantly, how high you have to mount your clock and the distance needed to have your weight driven clock to run at least 24 hours.

Just so you know, this is a new clock, not one that I have already built and just deconstructing for this build log. Decisions on the build will be happening as they are posted, your input will probably influnece this build. Since I have already decided on a pendulum length and a gear set I am going to start with frame design, however, I will be uploading all of the backup and my spreadsheet to create the gear set. Below is a pic of the chapter ring that I will be designing on and I'm going to start a new post and additional images related to the build as well as key elements that need to be considered in frame design...
S2.jpg
S2.jpg (26.23 KiB) Viewed 9926 times
Shapeoko 2, Full Kit #7071, Makita RT0701C Router, 1000 x 1000 upgrade, Acme Z Axis w/Nema 17 Belt Drive

Woodworker
Posts: 639
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:37 am
Location: 5 miles north of Benson, NC

Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by Woodworker » Thu May 21, 2015 12:30 pm

Ahh, an adventure. A few questions. Do you know up front the size of the Baltic birch needed for the clock parts and do you buy yours locally? Do you prefer to be addressed by clockit or some other name?

I will thank you up front for this build log, I know it takes time but there will be many people that learn from it and some may even build their first clock. Appreciate your time.
BRuce - SO2 #4798 - IC's Z axis upgrade, customized Z rail and Z motor mount, spindle Dewalt 611

etxbkst
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:54 am

Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by etxbkst » Thu May 21, 2015 1:22 pm

This is exciting! Thank you for doing this. I'm hoping to be able to build along with you, and to learn a about both clock building and CNC.

cvoinescu
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Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by cvoinescu » Thu May 21, 2015 2:27 pm

Looking forward to the rest of your build. Thank you for sharing!
Proud owner of ShapeOko #709, eShapeOko #0, and of store.amberspyglass.co.uk

clockit
Posts: 319
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:05 pm
Location: California, MO

Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by clockit » Thu May 21, 2015 7:11 pm

Thx for the support guys! As far as addressing me, you can call me clockit or Rod, either one... I love clock building and I hope to infect others. Don't want to sound dramatic, but, clock building to me is an art, much like hand painted lettering, something that was at one time done all by hand but is being lost somewhat to modernization, anyway... Though it is a lot of work I hope others will take a project that they are near and dear to and share with us as well

As far as a material, I don't know exact material amounts yet but I have a pretty good idea as I've built several of these. One of the big factors, and this is probably a good place to put this, is that you do have a choice in a lot of areas related to wood choice. Some will build the entire clock out baltic birch, I generally build my wheels and pinions, connectors, spacers, clicks, pulley centers, and any part that I may decide to paint out of birch, and the rest of my parts out of a hard wood, such as red or white oak. Whether I'm scroll sawing a clock or CNCing, I nest my parts to minimize waste (I'm pretty tight, lol). The best part though, besides your hardwood of choice the rest of the materials on the list are relatively inexpensive. So with that, lets jump right into a materials and source list, but remember, at this point of the design that these we be estimates... Also, unless I specifically point out a material you can use the material of choice, even plexi if you want, OR, modify the design. You can take this gear set and put it on a uniframe design, basically a vertical stick, lol.

WHEELS/PINIONS/INTERNAL PARTS
1/8" Baltic Birch, 1 sheet, 12" x 12"
1/4" Baltic Birch, 1 sheet, 12" x 24"
1/2" Baltic Birch, 1 sheet 12" x 12"
FRAME AND CHAPTER RINGS
3/4" Hardwood or Hardwood Plywood, 1 sheet 24" x 24" (this is still an educated guess, the chapter ring is approximately 20" x 10")
BRASS ROD AND TUBES FOR ARBORS
1/8" Brass Rod 12" long, 2 each
3/16" Brass or Stainless Steel Rod, 12" long, 1 each ( this is the main weight bearing arbor, some use SS, I've never had a problem with brass)
5/32" Brass Tube, 12" long, 1 each
1/4" Brass Tube, 12" long, 1 each
7/32" Brass Tube, 12" long, 1 each
#8-32 threaded rod and nut, approx 6" long (this will be used to adjust your pendulum bob for fine tuning)
WOOD DOWELS
3/8" Dowel, this is to hang the pendulum from, you only need a couple of inches
3/4" Dowel, approx. 36", this will connenct the back frame to the front frame
1/2" Dowel, 48", for the pendelum rod
MISC HARDWARE
#8-32 x 3/16 Allen Screws (set screws)
a few #8 flat washers
WEIGHT SYSTEM
24' of weight cord ( I use a fishing line, actually 50# spider wire, spider wire is super strong, thin, and doesn't strecth) TIP: To 'fat' of line can be problematic when winding on the wind wheel and creates 'thickness' when fully wound and alters clock keeping accuracy. We'll speak to that more a little later
5 to 6 lbs of lead
2 weight shells of choice, approx 18" to make both, can be PVC, wood, brass... diameter? prob 1 1/2", however that varies with material used. You can wait until last for this because we'll be fine tuning the weight to use as little as possible to reduce force on the arbors and frame. I've used a plastic bottle to tune the clock and determine actual volume needed and then built the shell to accomodate. TIP: Every inch of weight fall you save you gain an hour of clock run time!

there may be a few plus or minus deals here but this will get us started, hopefully I got pretty close. Without it being designed completely, well... I build so many, I have a bulk supply of all of this stuff in the workshop....

SOURCES:
Baltic Birch, I get this from either Wood Craft or Sloan's Woodshop, I perfer Sloan's, for whatever reason the color of their wood is brighter and has less streaks in it than the birch I get from Woodcraft. Here's a link to Sloan's: http://www.sloanswoodshop.com/plywoods.htm Note: I also picked up my brad point bits here, however, those become less important since we are milling our parts.

Brass tubes and rods, luckily I have a local 'mom and pop' hardware store that stocks it for me, but I use to get mine from Westlakes Hardware, either on line or at the store, or on line from this place http://www.hobbylinc.com/brass-hobby-an ... -wire-rods

Hardwood/Hardwood Plywood, currently buying that from either Lowes or Menards, both suck for hardwood, ultra high and usually bent like a tree limb, but it's the only place I have for now to hand pick my wood. If any of you have an online source that will send NICE wood I'd be crazy happy to know. Also, I use whole pieces, or pieces that I buy are glued and planed to final dimensions as I hate to glue them myself (I didn't have a place until I got my S2) Also, because I'm tight, I buy hardwood plywood, which is A LOT more reasonably priced and I veneer the edges. To be honest, this clock https://justclockit.files.wordpress.com ... lock1.jpeg was supposed to be a prototype, I got the idea for it on a Thursday night, designed Thursday/Friday, cut it on Saturday, and assemble and had it running Sunday (very rare), but, since it was supposed to be a proto the entire body is particle board that I had laying around and I covered the entire thing in veneer, inside and out, worked fine...

Ok, I'm off for a while, I'm off line finishing up installment 2 which will cover gear generation and placement... until then...
Shapeoko 2, Full Kit #7071, Makita RT0701C Router, 1000 x 1000 upgrade, Acme Z Axis w/Nema 17 Belt Drive

bharbour
Posts: 413
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Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by bharbour » Thu May 21, 2015 8:21 pm

Looking forward to this Rod!!!
No longer have a Shapeoko, but use a machine of my own design...
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Woodworker
Posts: 639
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:37 am
Location: 5 miles north of Benson, NC

Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by Woodworker » Fri May 22, 2015 12:36 am

Perfect, I will start gathering parts and pieces on Tuesday. I have a woodcraft locally so I will go there and pick thru their birch ply stock. There should be a woodworking association within a 100 miles of you and they should have a list of the places they buy their stock. Most times that stock is rough sawn but the price is better. They should also know where to buy decent hardwood ply. I use the hardware store of nc for all my hardwoods and hardwood ply. They do ship but I don't know if the cost would be prohibitive for you. I just make the 75 mile one way trip evry 2 - 4 months.
BRuce - SO2 #4798 - IC's Z axis upgrade, customized Z rail and Z motor mount, spindle Dewalt 611

etxbkst
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:54 am

Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by etxbkst » Fri May 22, 2015 1:58 am

Looks like my local big box stores don't carry baltic birch. Guess I'll be getting that online. Thanks for the detailed BOM.

Woodworker
Posts: 639
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:37 am
Location: 5 miles north of Benson, NC

Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by Woodworker » Fri May 22, 2015 2:25 am

No they don't and you would not want it for a project like this. What part of the country are you in?
BRuce - SO2 #4798 - IC's Z axis upgrade, customized Z rail and Z motor mount, spindle Dewalt 611

halfnormal
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:44 am
Location: Flagstaff AZ

Re: Wooden Gear Clock Build Log

Post by halfnormal » Fri May 22, 2015 3:22 am

Thanks Rod for starting this thread. I actually purchased my S2 to make clocks and motion art. I am looking forward to learning the art of clock making.

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