I recently moved (and out of my parents home) and among the huge amount of stuff missing, is a clock. Now I like quirky stuff, so a bought normal clock simply won't do. There are already a ton of DIY led clocks out there, but I wanted something mechanical.

The thing I wanted is a hand in hand clock. This clock type has the minute hand attached to the end of the hour hand (and optionally, the second hand to the end of the minute hand). It is a fairly unknown clock type, but I was introduced with it 5 years ago by an old classmate and have been thinking about building one for 3 years now. Finally, with a clock missing, it was time to build one. The clock is 3D printable and requires no support. It does require a printer 200x200mm for the minute hand, but otherwise, 150x150 will also work.

This clock is (or will be) entered in the 3D Printing Contest, Move It Contest and Mind For Design contest. A vote would be great, but only if you think this clock has deserved it. Thanks in advance.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

To make this clock you will need several things.For some of the screws, amounts may vary by a bit.


  • 200-300g of 3D printing filament in a colour of your choice.
  • 2x 608 bearing
  • 3x 624 bearing
  • 3x 683 bearing
  • 3x 684 bearing
  • 6x M3 washer
  • 3x M3 nut
  • 3x M3 screw, 6mm
  • 6x M3 screw, 10mm
  • 6x M3 washer, drilled to 4mm
  • 7x M4 washer
  • 7x M4 nut
  • 2x M4 screw, 20mm
  • 2x M4 screw, 40mm
  • 1x M4 thread, 75mm
  • 1x M8 nut
  • 1x M8 thread, 25mm
  • 1x Nema17 short stepper motor
  • Any arduino compatibel microcontroller with at least 5 I/O's
  • Stepper motor driver
  • 9V or 12V power supply, 250mA+
  • 16V 100uF electrolytic capacitor
  • 2x switches
  • 3x 10k resistor
  • Piece of prototype board
  • Thin cable or white wire


  • A 3D printer
  • A drill with 2mm, 2.5, 3mm, 4mm and 4.5mm metal drill bits
  • Super glue
  • Locktite
  • Basic screwdivers, pliers and wrenches
  • files
<p>Where does the cap go? It's not in the schematic lol. I'm designing this on a pcb and I'm adding a few other things to it </p>
<p>The cap goes from 5V to ground and cancels the noise of the stepper motor. Closer to the stepper motor driver is better.</p>
<p>Very nice watch !</p>
<p>Did you use M8 Washers for the minute hand? If so then you missed it in the list of items.</p>
<p>Hi! Great Design! Well done instructable :)</p><p>One question:</p><p>Is this one </p><p><a href="http://www.exp-tech.de/stepper-motor-nema-17-200-steps-rev-12v-350ma" rel="nofollow">http://www.exp-tech.de/stepper-motor-nema-17-200-s...</a></p><p>the right stepper?</p>
<p>Looks like a pretty thin stack stepper. </p><p>The stack (the motor part) is around 1mm thicker than mine, but that should not be a massive problem.</p>
<p>Ok, thx for the quick reply :)</p>
<p>cool design! I did a variation on this once: </p><p><a href="http://www.coroflot.com/moses/Halo-Clock" rel="nofollow">http://www.coroflot.com/moses/Halo-Clock</a></p>
<p>can I use a smaller stepper motor </p>
<p>I love this project.<br>I love the description (although parts sources for bearings and motors would be great additions).<br>I love that people are suggesting interesting improvements.<br>And I love that people disagree here with so much respect and kindness.</p><p>This is my second favorite site, after Wikipedia.<br>Thank you for your contribution.</p>
<p>I have a small issue with adding parts sources. Most of the people here are from the US, I am from the Netherlands. Sadly for the internet, almost all of my sources are useless to anyone not from or around the Netherlands, not to mention the sites are in Dutch, so no one can read it. </p><p>I try to give full parts names so people can still find it, but I am not going to add part sources I didn't use, because that would just be pasting in google search results.</p>
<p>To solve the gear problem, why not make magnetic gears? Buy tiny rare-earth magnets, and embed these in the edge of your printed &quot;gears&quot;, with alternate poles pointing outward (you must use &quot;gears&quot; with only even numbers of &quot;teeth&quot;). (You will need tiny magnets, on the order of 1mm cubes or cylinders. They are inexpensive.) The &quot;gears&quot; will arrange themselves with attracting &quot;teeth&quot; opposite. Unlike mechanical gears, you can &quot;cheat&quot; and have the pitches of mating &quot;gears&quot; not exactly the same. Keep the &quot;gear&quot; clearance about 1mm so they don't pull together too hard. This low-torque, low speed application is a perfect one for magnetic gears.</p><p>You should be able to drive this with a conventional battery-powered clock mechanism, available inexpensively. Mount your hour hand on the hour shaft. Use a friction mount to allow for setting. First magnetic &quot;gear&quot; will be mounted on the minute hand shaft of the battery clock. You can synchronize the minute hand by &quot;slipping&quot; the magnetic &quot;gears&quot;.</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/skepticaljay/" rel="nofollow">skepticaljay </a>made a comment that the speed relation between the hour and minute hand didn't seem right. I checked the gear ratios, and they seem right. (The gear train in the housing is 12:1 (15:45 and 12:48), and the gear set to the minute hand is 1:1, correct?) I can not exactly figure out the gear arrangement in the motor housing. Motor is 12:48, to minute hand 12T gear/train, correct? Then 12:48 and 15:45 to the hour hand? What I do note is that in the video, when the minute hand rotates 3 times (from 12:00 to 3:00) the hour hand appears to have turned more than a quarter turn. (To really tell, I need a video of a complete hour hand turn).</p>
<p>I will see if I can make a simple video of the clock making a full 12 hours, but give me a few days, I am busy right now.</p><p>As for the magnetic gears. There is one assumption that is wrong here. They are low speed, yes, but not that low torque, this design actually has more torque than a normal clock, dut to weight and it being out of balance. Also, magnetic gears have an uneven force throughout the rotation, which would be noticable in the clocks motion. Therefore I would not use magnetic gears for this purpose myself, but please prove me wrong if you think it is possible, I do find the idea interesting.</p>
The torque is higher then an ordinary clock, but way lower than for most other geared applications. You have wisely used ball bearings, so static friction torque should be low. You can better balance it to lower torque further.<br>Magnetic gears do not have &quot;uneven force&quot;. There is an attraction force that will be dealt easily by your ball bearings. In fact, I would wager that magnetic gears will have smoother force then 3D printed gears, because the magnetic force is &quot;blurred&quot; by its spreading out with space. You have 1.5 module gears, right? That means the circular pitch is about 4.5mm. I would propose 1mm magnets, spaced 1mm apart, and double the number of teeth (module 0.75), and space the gears about 1mm apart. (You may need to reduce tooth counts on the large intervening gear to accommodate this spacing). If you use a battery-powered mechanism, all gears will be eliminated except the &quot;coupling&quot; gears to the minute hand.
<p>is there any way to make this without a 3D printer? I don't have one but I was wondering if I could go to the hardware store and buy the same pieces but just not 3d printed ones. Thanks</p>
<p>That is very nice. I've never seen this type of clock before. The only thing similar is the 60s clock with the glass disk face that rotates with hands that are geared.</p>
<p>I have a working pair of those!</p>
Nice. Maybe you could make one.
Love it i really wish i had a 3D printer now
<p>That ... is really cool!</p><p>and jumbuck68 has a point, make it a skeleton clock! </p>
<p>I actually really like the idea of a skeleton clock myself too. Maybe I will give it a go at some point.</p>
<p>A brilliant and quirky idea. Love it. An alternate way to do it would be to use two synchronous or stepper motors,with the motor/stepper for the minute hand mounted on the hour hand. Naturally you would want the minute motor/stepper as small as possible, perhaps mounted to the back of the hour hand and connecting to the minute hand through a hole in the hour hand.</p><p> I wonder if it might be better if the hour hand were longer making it more of a pointer in it's own right? I guess if it were only a little longer then the clock markings could be concentric rings of tick points, with the hours being inside the tick marks for the minutes. Still, I'm having a hard time visualizing how the minute tick marks would be done. A spiral of repeating numbers? Or maybe a moving disk of numbers and marks attached to the hour hand that go around with it. The disk would also have to rotate in a synchronous manner to remain upright as the hour hand moves around. Gravity could do that if it sort of had an oval in the middle of the disk so that it just laid on the minute hand shaft, slipping on it as the hands went around. Perhaps a weight on the bottom of the back of the disk to insure it stayed upright. Or maybe with the disk mounted on a bearing that allowed the disk to rotate freely on the minute hand shaft, gravity and the weight still keeping it upright, like the seats on a ferris wheel.</p><p> The hour numbers and tick marks would be around the circumference of the clock just like normal but the hour hand would need to be long enough to show up outside the sweep of the minute disk (the minute hand mounted at the same place from the center as it is now). Making the minute hand shorter could help to keep the disk size down diameter-wise. Though a narrower minute hand would allow it to sweep the disk in such a way that the minute hand can extend way beyond the disk yet still show up such that it can be easily seen and understood. Come to think of it, if the disk were transparent such that the hours could be seen through it, the hour numbers could be inside the sweep of the disk and the hour hand need not be so long. Another variation would be to just put a view hole in the disk such that the hour numbers show up in the hole as the disk goes around. Some interesting possibilities and variations in any event.</p>
<p>Anyway of making this without a 3d printer?</p>
<p>Do you have a circuit board machine? You could make it (with modifications) with that. Otherwise, you could use old-fashioned hand tools, especially if you used the magnetic &quot;gears&quot; I propose trying.</p>
<p>Depends on how hand you are with a fretsaw or laser cutter. I personally wouldn't try it because I lack the tools, but in theory it should be possible. It all depends on what tools you can use and how much time you have.</p>
<p>How Large do you think this could be Made?</p><p>I want one!!</p>
<p>Very nice,</p><p>What are the gear ratios?</p>
<p>If you sourced generic gears from somewhere and then designed the clock around the gears, you could eliminate some of your binding/backlash problems. You could even design it to use a standard gear motor instead of a stepper. You would just have to calculate the gear set based on the gear motor's RPM. Might be a good idea to add some kind of speed adjustment though in order to calibrate the clock.</p>
<p>super design - got my vote - now I have to make :) </p>
<p>Very cool and one I've never seen. At least 5 yrs and no one has put it out yet? I'd buy it if I couldn't make it myself... You get my vote... :)</p>
<p>I really like this one,steampunk it up,a little copper,and a little brass with gears exposed,and who knows how bitchin it would be.Of course as is it is pretty awesome as is,great job!</p>
<p>Very cool. I'm a clock nut and this takes the cake!</p>
Wonderful concept<br><br>Having had to calculate all that gearing, it seems a shame to hide it. This would look wicked as a skeleton clock in siome kind of metallic finish
<p>This is awesome, great job. I'm even having all the needed parts here, but a microcontroller. Can you tell me the name of the one you used?</p>
<p>That looks like a Trinket - excessively/obsessively fancy breakout board for ATTiny85. Since this clock only uses 5 pins - you can use pretty much any controller (Tiny13A, Tiny2313A, Tiny85 etc.)</p>
<p>You are absolutely correct, but I didn't have anything else, plus I do not have the programming tools to program bare ATTinys. Also, the fancy breakouts do have power regulation. Not impossible to add, but nice that it is already there.</p><p>Anyone else can indeed do it with those.</p>
<p>&gt;&gt; I do not have the programming tools to program bare ATTinys</p><p>There is an easy way of doing that even in Arduino IDE: all you need is to download board modules for ATTiny, set up an environment and start coding the way you are used to with Arduino.</p><p><a href="http://highlowtech.org/?p=1695" rel="nofollow">http://highlowtech.org/?p=1695</a></p><p>Initially I was using my old Nano as an AVR ISP, but few weeks of jumper/breadboard nightmare forced me to obtain used USBASP 2 clone - best $3 I've ever spent. </p>
<p>Love your design, it is awesome.</p><p>Thanks for sharing. </p>
The video looks like the hour hand was over rotating. Counting from 12 o'clock at the top, by the time it it made for revolution it was almost all the way at the bottom. Is there a video of it rotating 12 times and going back to top dead center? I think this is an excellent clock and I really want to make one.
<p>I probably could, but I can guarantee you, I checked and double checked when designing, and when it was printed, I check it some more. It was the intricate gearbox that also made me worry. If you are really that worried of it not making the right movement, give me a few days.</p>
Tr&egrave;s bonne id&eacute;e. Bravo !
<p>That's very creative! </p><p>I've always wanted to make a cool-looking clock, so now I'll jst have to make this one =)</p><p>Thx, dragonator</p>
<p>This is insane. I would vote without hesitation! But I can't as the contests must have ended, which is a shame! I'm sure you will do well!</p>
<p>wow! thats one of the best clocks i have ever seen!</p>
verry nice idea! i like it a lot. good instructable, my compliments .

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