Introduction: Cyberpunk Clock

Picture of Cyberpunk Clock

Take an old yard sale-bound clock (or, in my case, an alarm clock I abused one too many times) and make it look...neat. It's also a good way to learn about digital electronics, and it gives people the impression you understand complex digital logic (when really all you have to do for this project is unscrew and glue things).

Step 1: Find Stuff

Picture of Find Stuff

Gather together your junk.

- You'll definitely want a clock of some sort to start with. Building a digital clock from scratch is a bit complicated for this instructable. I used a standard, 4-button alarm clock. The red LED displays look the coolest. Liquid-crystal just doesn't cut it for me.

- Find some other junk to embellish your clock, such as springs, cogs/gears, potentiometers, resistors, capacitors, transformers, LEDs, brass pipes, etc.

- Additionally, you may want to add extra functionality (or change the way it functions). Get some switches and buttons that work. I re-routed the wires for my "alarm-on" switch to a really nifty lever.

Step 2: Dissasemble

Picture of Dissasemble

Take apart your clock. The screws are usually on the bottom. Some of them may be hidden underneath the rubber "feet," or behind the battery case. If you can't get the thing apart, just break it open. This thing is going to look crazy anyways.

Rip open any other circuit-things you'll be using. I took a keyboard apart at this point. I used the clear plastic contact-layer (circuit board-looking thing) and used it to make my mounting plate look cooler. I also used the integrated-circuit board from the keyboard to make the clock look a bit more complex.

I mounted everything on the metal I found inside my keyboard, and some spare Plexiglas I had. I used tin-snips to cut up the metal. I can't offer any advice on cutting Plexiglas, though. Man, that was a nightmare....

Step 3: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Gather everything together, and place the components so they'll look purdy. This took the longest time for me. I knew I wanted the display to face outwards, and "float" on the support of its thick wires. But where should all the circuitry go? I tried to give the maximum visibility to the coolest-looking parts, while still being able to press the buttons easily.

Because I'm insanely lazy, I primarily used hot-glue. It's so quick! You place something where you want it, apply the glue, and you're done! The problem is, hot-glue is generally not meant for industrial-grade projects. Heavy things, (like my transformer) pull right off. And I had problems with my switch, because hot glue doesn't support jerky pulling motions. My advice: use hot glue where you can get away with it. Use superglue for everything else.

A really interesting advantage of hot glue is its spider-web appearance. Dab the end of your gun from one component to another, over and over again, and it'll have a creepy cobweb appearance.

Step 4: Hack

If you're modifying the electronics (adding switches and so-forth) then heed this advice: use a soldering iron. I know, it's all the way across the room, or in the basement, or whatever. It took me 45 minutes of trying to twist and glue wires down until I gave up and plugged in my iron. It's well-worth the effort.

If you have a multimeter, use it. I use the sound-activated continuity feature the most often.

If your clock plugs into an outlet, MAKE SURE that the high-voltage portion of the circuit is isolated somehow! In my clock, a transformer steps the voltage down from 120v to something like 9v. Luckily, the leads of the transformer are shielded with rubber. If this had not been the case, I would have taken my time coating them in electrical tape and glue. The beauty of the steam-punk clock comes from its exposed electronics. 120v running through exposed wires can be deadly.

Step 5: Mount

Picture of Mount

Screw that thing right into the wall! (That's what I did).

Actually, there are a multitude of ways to set this thing up. A desk version would be nice, with some brass pipes and such...


aleksei (author)2010-05-19

If the transformer steps down the voltage to 9VDC, can't you just use a battery?

devicemodder (author)aleksei2017-03-16

it gets the timebase frequency off the 60hz that comes from the transformer before its converted to DC. also the display is multiplexed using the 60hz as well.

WolfgangG3 (author)2016-05-16

Damn there Ahmed don't go bringing THIS one to school now or else you're gonna be in trouble

Fenwick (author)2011-01-20

This instructable makes me really want to disassemble a clock and put it on some fake sticks of dynamite, or make it look like the C4 from Counter-Strike.

cnash1303 (author)Fenwick2011-02-04

I am literally going to do that tomorrow.

chrizw123 (author)2010-12-20

Would look veeery suspicious in an airport... Nuff said

hikarudigi (author)chrizw1232011-01-15


Junkyard Dawg (author)2010-08-18

That makes sence with keeping time, but I've always been sort of a skeptic towards stuff like nuclear power (however, it would be cool to have that thing as a nuclear power plant hidden as a clock;)

Anthony312 (author)Junkyard Dawg2010-08-28

How can you be skeptic of nuclear power? Its already invented and working fine as a power source.

Junkyard Dawg (author)Anthony3122010-08-31

You would be suprized. I'm a skaptic of almost anything that doesn't run on gasoline, and needs a HAZ-MAT suit just to be close to it.....

adam 101 (author)2010-01-08

whats the 9 volt battery for?

Junkyard Dawg (author)adam 1012010-06-30

Good question. In my opinion, it looks cool. Or, it could be part of a super-secret prototype nuclear fusion reactor that powers his house (hidden as a clock) Eather way, Wallice the Sane, it is something I want to try. Mabe I out to sacrifice those 5 alarm clocks to make a 5-clock display or something like this....

J-Five (author)2010-06-14

IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!

FRABBAfrabbaFRABBA (author)2010-04-09

 random components=lol

lunchboxslayer27 (author)2008-10-01

strap one of these to ur chest, and make it count down..... then go to the airport....

hodari (author)lunchboxslayer272010-04-08


And make it beep! At every second interval :P

yeah and power the thing from big red d-cell batteries taped together ina battery pack

LOL! Nah, I an not going to do that... :-)

ReCreate (author)Plasmana2009-03-15

Ha yeah all you need a big red switch attached to your hand and a big backpack full of fire extinguishers! that will really get someones attention!

Power it with the battery from this instructable

(The battery looks like a bomb!)


Knerps (author)2010-04-08

 I couldn't agree more with isolating the high voltage part of the clock, as there is nothing worse than fiddling around half asleep trying to find the snooze button on your cyber clock and being electrocuted!

devicemodder (author)2009-12-13

if you have a tech class at school use their bansaw

lunchboxslayer27 (author)2008-11-16



Gjdj3 (author)the_mad_man2008-12-10

The Thread is officially dead. You sir, win.

ReCreate (author)Gjdj32009-03-15

ah im gonna bring it back to life and im gonna call it Frankenstein !

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-16

*ZAAPppppp* i shocked him back to life.....*suddenly instructables HQ power goes out.....*

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-16

I go and get the Click remote and make everything go back in time by 1 hour Next i zap the thread back to life with lightning We still have power,thanks to RECREATE!

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-16

...yesss....Disaster avoded...i think?

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-16

Yes if the power was out for longer than 25.069 seconds all of the robots would die,but they survived thanks to their capacitors!

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-16

and thanks in part to their battery being recharged 37 hours ago, which provided an extra 3.0875 seconds!

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-16

Ha Yeah All thanks to me

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-16

Why thank you kind sir. !

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-16

Good give me 5 bucks

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-17

*hands over forfited bill* Heres you go!

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-17

NO,5 dollars american

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-17

me sorriez, i iz no American... :(

fwjs28 (author)fwjs282009-03-17

I iz a lama!

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-17

me no speaks dat

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-18

no habla en es lama?

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-18

no/nein/no/mm mm

JohnJY (author)ReCreate2009-11-30
Check it out. 

ReCreate (author)JohnJY2009-11-30

Bringing an old thread back to life eh? What ya gonna name it now?

ReCreate (author)fwjs282009-03-17

Ok then,5 pounds of gold

fwjs28 (author)ReCreate2009-03-18

Gold? lama? ZEEEEhow!

the_mad_man (author)Gjdj32008-12-10


haha ive seen this before its cool! rofl

shveet (author)the_mad_man2008-12-09

lol nice

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