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Picture of Changing theme of neon light - Starbucks
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Today I bought a neon clock on ebay.  It was local collection only, so I got it dirt cheap.. £5. I was unsure whether or not to get it at first. Why? Welllllll it was a playboy clock and well...that's a little feminine for me.  I thought that since it was a neon clock there must be a way into the clock face in order to replace the bulb...and HOPEFULLY the face too!  If you're planning on completing this ible then remember to do what I did and ask what colour the lamp is when lit (it was not shown lit up on ebay).  

This ible will show you how to change the theme of most standard neon clocks.  I chose to make a starbucks one, but you could make anything.  Luckily the light in this one was a white light and not a pink or blue one..although it all depends on A) taste and B) the mood of your design..since pink would look great for an american diner feel, or the pink panther of course!

I like the fact that the white light on this clock follows the white stroke around the outside of the starbucks logo. It brings the logo to life.

- I know starbucks has a new logo, but I like this one best! Plus it matches my starbucks mugs.

Forgive me if I miss anything or break convention..this is my first ible. I am a design student so I know my way around photoshop, but for this ible it's all basic stuff.  Secondly I cannot be held responsible for any explosions, fires or health hazards. You should be in the room if your clock is lit up and you've modified it, who knows what may happen!

For this project you will need:

A neon clock
An A3 printer, paper and card (depending on size of clock face, could be A4)
A craft knife and cutting matt
Double sided sticky tape
A screw driver
A small adjustable spanner
A ruler to measure your current clock face dimensions
Photoshop of equiv. graphics software
Scissors
Tie wraps (perhaps, depending on the clock)

oh, And Attention to detail.

Let's get started.
 
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Step 1: Dismantle your clock

Picture of Dismantle your clock
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Every clock will differ so I won't spend long here.

1. You will most likely have to unscrew the back. (as an Industrial Design student i can tell you that sometimes these are hidden under stickers etc. Remove the battery and obviously don't have it plugged in at this point.

2. Once you have unscrewed the face cover, you will need to take the adj. spanner and turn anticlockwise on the clock mech. nut to loosen it.  Twist the mechanism at the back to apply opposite force.  Then, when loose enough unscrew with your fingers and pull off, (or pop off with a metal ruler of scissors).  The hands of some mechanisms unscrew, though most just pull off.  Mine was VV tight and I bent the hands meaning that after assembly i had to take it apart and unbend them so that they did not clash half way around. Remember or photograph the order in which the hands are assembled.

3. Most neon clocks will have tie wraps holding the light tube in place. Snip these.

Step 2: Measure & Test print

Picture of Measure & Test print
1. Remove the cardboard clock face, mine was stuck in with double sided tape.
2. Measure the size with a ruler
3. Go onto photoshop and create the logo or picture of your choice to the correct dimensions. (Image>mode>cmyk) is good practice for printing photos using 4 cartridge printers (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). RGB mode is only for onscreen digital images. Print borderless and do NOT rescale to fit page. I did a test print on A3 paper with the logo layer on photoshop at a reduced capacity to test the size and save me some ink. Then I printed the real one on A3 card, not paper, at high quality.

Step 3: Cutaways

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Cut any inserts etc for the tube light, use a craft knife and cutting board. This section will vary greatly depending on the clock but in most cases you will be able to use the old face as a template for your new one.

Step 4: Mounting your new clockface

Picture of Mounting your new clockface
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Stick double sided tape over the old clockface.  Overlap the tape over the edge, then turn over the face and scoring around it using a craft knife. This way you won't have any edges coming away. ew!

Mounting the new face on top, helps you use the old one as a fixed template for holes etc but also adds extra rigidity to your new card face.

Smoothen out the new face with your hand and make sure it's well stuck down.

Step 5: Making Mechanism hole

Now you need to make the hole for the mechanism to fit through.  Rather hilariously for the starbucks logo that means right through the mermaid's mouth! No rude jokes, we all know what this makes her look like...tee hee.

To make the hole, turn over the newly mounted clock face. now use the old hole to draw and slice your new one.  Make a cross slice first, then cut out little pizza slices from inside.  Very neatly.  Then turn it back over and shove a pen through the hole and twist to neaten it up.

Then push through the clock mechanism from the other side.

Step 6: Make the holes for tiewraps

Picture of Make the holes for tiewraps
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The tiewraps which hold the neon tube in place have to pass through two holes in the clock face.  In an identical way to the previous step make more holes by turning over the face and using the current holes to draw and cut out new holes, then neaten again from the front face by using a pen/pencil.

Step 7: Reassemble

Picture of Reassemble
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Just reassemble the clock.  Use new tie wraps of course and check that your clock hands have not bent, give the clock a whirl from the back to check there is enough space between the heights of the hands.  Check also that your face cover has not gained any new finger prints.  Then hang it on the wall and admire your hard work.

Now I want a whole collection! costa, lavazza, illy! To start off with, I  roughly mocked up some ideas so I could choose beforehand and not waste time if it looked disappointing. Maybe these will inspire others..see photos.
gottatinker made it!1 month ago

Made one today saw the clock advertised used on gumtree picked it up, got the design printed up & hey presto its a Glock clock

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Very nice! Looks very professional - much nicer than the original clock.
instructascott (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
Thanks jessy i'm glad you like it! The best thing is that you could make it into any theme!