Clocks are intriguing. Each one is an intoxicating concoction of machinery, engineering, mathematics, geometry and social programming. They are complex in theory, yet effortless to interpret, and the ...
Round clocks are so 20th century! Here's something a bit more post modern and obtuse.
I'll be showing you here another full design project, from idea to design to prototype. The object of our desire today is a linear clock, that is, one that has numerals arranged in a line rather than in a circle, and it'll fit very nicely into many homes and workplaces.
This is a working design process and this instructable will document the whole of it from beginning to end. I hope one day to market and produce the clock, but all the plans and parts are available to download or take from here, in case you'd prefer to do it yourself, or you can make an improved version.
The actual build (starting at step 3) shows an easy to make version, that uses a set of simple parts, and this is my prototype clock. It's the clock I assembled as a proof of concept. It's simple enough that you can probably put it together in an evening if you have the right bits, and substantial and useful enough to be worth spending time on. It uses easy to find parts, doesn't destroy them in the process, and doesn't require anything that's special. It is also forgiving of sloppy production.
Step 15 introduces a few experiments with refinements, and settles on a design. This is really an instructable about design and prototyping. I think that's interesting, so maybe you do too!
Step 1: Design considerations and background
Clocks are intriguing. Each one is an intoxicating concoction of machinery, engineering, mathematics, geometry and social programming. They are complex in theory, yet effortless to interpret, and the various patterns and shapes made up by either the hands or the digits have significances that are personal to all of us.
I like an analogue clock. For telling the time (I mean, as opposed to seeing how long to boil an egg) I think an analogue face more satisfyingly describes the nature of time. The experience of time is such an elastic and personal thing, and an analogue face is more open to interpretation.
The are almost always round, however, and for designers, the clock is usually a fairly abstract graphical exercise in styling. I have always been interested in different analogues for time, other than the round face with the sweeping pointers erupting from a central spindle. I like the idea that time can be measured with another kind of metamorphosis is appealing. Maybe an object will change shape over the course of a day, or a balloon will be against the ceiling in the morning and gradually sink throughout the day. Make it fall past a scale drawn on the wall and you have a rather elaborate clock. Do without the scale on the wall, and the assembly still tells the time, but it is harder to be precise, and what metric exactly the device is showing becomes less obvious. Sand timers and water clocks are the most common non-conventional clocks. They suffer from a lack of precision in reading.