Step 15: Building the Clock

Place the ball inside and attach the face to the backplate and tracks with screws.
<p>Neat! Very creative.</p><p>I want to make one :)</p>
What did you use to control the timing and the sweep arm? An existing clock mechanism? Microcontroller? <br> <br>Thanks
I used a 1RPH motor (I got mine here http://www.herbach.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&amp;Store_Code=HAR&amp;Product_Code=H1-33&amp;Category_Code=SYNCTIME).
Just plain neat I like it. Looks like fun. <br>Joe
First of all, nice job in implementing this device and showing how it works. Also, congrats on getting the &quot;pass&quot; to buy your laser cutter. ;-) <br> <br>I think that this is actually a Finite State Machine and NOT a CPU. A CPU fetches instructions from a memory and then takes actions based on those instructions. Actions include jumps within the program counter (PC) space, math operations in the ALU etc. <br> <br>Your machine includes a set of flip flops representing the &quot;current state&quot;. Every time a ball is dropped, the flip flops decide what the &quot;next state&quot; will be based on the &quot;current state&quot; of the machine. <br> <br>In your description, when you say that your machine is jumping to a line of code, I think you mean that it is jumping to a new binary encoded finite state. <br> <br>Here is a write up on the differences I found with a quick Google: <br>http://www.cs.utah.edu/~rajeev/cs3810/slides/3810-14.pdf <br> <br>
Thanks for you comment. <br>You might be right that its not a CPU, but not because its a Finite State Machine (because a CPU can be boiled down to a FSM). So first you must define what is a CPU (and there are a few), but the view I take is that a CPU is a Universal Turing Machine (UTM). Which state that a UTM is one that can simulate every possible Turing machine (or every possible FSM). There are one instruction set computers (see OSIC) which are able to simulate every possible FSM, and they don't need to fetch instructions, since they only have one. <br> <br>This clock can be shown to be a Turing Machine, and thus a computer (see fixed-program computers), however, where is its program memory? <br>I argue that the program memory is implemented in the paths the ball takes, and is burned in using the laser as well as the configurations of the flip-flops, so its similar to burning the program on a ROM. (although I agree this is a far fetch, but remember that the goal of this project was to help explain what's inside a CPU, and not create a CPU to solve various problems). Therefore, I could change the program of the clock (or change the FSM) by simply rotating one of the L levers or changing the T flip-flops to an L. I could also, remake the tracks of the C register, to check for a different number, or change the B register to increment instead of reset (by changing the L to flip-flops and reconfiguring the paths). Also see the Harvard Architecture CPU which has its instructions separated from the data. <br> <br>However, the main problem is in proving that the instruction set I provided are able to simulate every possible Turing Machine for it to be a CPU (which I don't believe it does). Note that its not that easy, since there are very simple machines which can be a UTM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfram%27s_2-state_3-symbol_Turing_machine) <br> <br>However, even if you don't buy the argument that the program is read from memory (and I agree this is hard to swallow, even for me) or that it can not emulate every possible Turing machine. I still stand by the fact that this is still useful in describing a CPU. <br>
Its really stretching it though to say that it is programed though. I can reprogram a finite state machine by slotting in new components too. I feel like the program really should be separated from the processing unit. Reading through it the first time I kept getting confused because you kept referencing lines of code that aren't really in the machine as lines of code. Its a super cool project it just feels like its a little misleading.
I think you have handled the religious discussion on what a CPU is quite well. You are not trying to model a Von Neumann computer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_architecture) that so many of us are used to. <br> <br>My thought is that your son and daughter will learn a lot from your device but are more likely to use their understanding of it to become Electrical Engineers with digital logic design skills (VHDL/Verilog on FPGA/ASICs) than Computer Scientists slinging C or assembly code ;-) <br> <br>Your implementation of a binary mechanical clock is wonderful.
Either my kids will end up in EE/CS or they will need years of therapy because dad insisted this clock is a computer, but they could never access facebook with it. <br> <br>In the mean time you can enjoy my 6 year old son trying to explain how to read the clock: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFKargQxN8k
Very c lever and well implemented. Bravo, sir!
Incredible! <br>Brilliant idea, very very nice execution. <br>Thanks for the detailed instructable!
This is a really great idea and build! <br> <br>Also it is a super clear i'ble. <br> <br>Congrats. This is definately a 5 star project.
Thanks. But remember that English isn't my mother tongue. It is only my 3th language (of the four that I read, write and speak if you don't count Latin and ancient Greek) and I do make a mistake from time to time. A lot of people aren't even able to write theire own mother tongue properly!<br> <br><br> <br>I wil <strike>definately definatly definantly definetly definently defiantly </strike>definitely remeber it.
what laser cutter did you buy?
Look on my website. www.liorelazary.com. I wrote a whole article of how I imported the laser cutter from china.
Wow, that's really clever! I understand most of it except how to read the minute hand during the first 25 minutes of the hour before it picks up the ball again. Is it visible through the side of the clock or something?
Sorry, on the video its a bit hard to see, but you can see the shadow of the arm (a bit better in real life). So it is hard to read the minutes from 0 to 25. For my first prototype I used clear acrylic so you saw the arm much better. However, it made the tracks very hard to see. Someone suggested using a semi-clear acrylic (like a fogy one) so you can see the tracks and the arm better.
While I like it, my interpretation leaves 7:15 as the maximum count before resetting to 0:00
+1 - Can't see how to read the minutes before the ball is picked up again.
This is brilliant. I am humbled and blown away. Not only for what this device does, but more so for helping me understand what a CPU does. You: &quot;One of the motivations for this project was to get people to understand how a CPU (the heart of a computer) works&quot; - done, beautifully, unexpectedly; thank you.
Just fabulous! People like you make people like me teach my kids that the evil professor in Cartoon Networks is somewhere out there in the real world! <br>Damn good job on a crazy idea! :) <br>
Probably the most amazing project I have seen to date, bravo!
While learning to read the time would be a little annoying, I think it's a GREAT demo of simple logic circuits in a very elegant design. This is the stuff of a great 'ible.
Awesome work! Love the idea of the 2nd track!
I can't even get my kids to eat dinner, let alone begin to comprehend how to read this.
Completely mad! And utter genius! I salute you sir!
It's a must for geeks. :) respect.
I have total admiration for the depth and persistence of geekery that can produce something like this. <br>Stunning!!
Frankly, I have no freakin' idea what you are talking about, but I have to say, even if I don't understand a bit, I think it's the best Instructable AND project I've seen in a while. <br> <br>I'd take my hat off if I'd wear one ;) <br> <br>
Reminds me of the joke we use around here - &quot;freaking smart guy, no context though; ask him the time, he'll explain how to build a clock&quot;
great!!! Now I want to make something like that and I have already so many projects waiting for me.
Your a freekin genius. Even thoughI don't understand it AT ALL.
It also reminds me of Dr. Nim. Was that made by Digicomp also? looking forward to a more thurough read through after this darn day job thing ;-)
Absolutely beautiful! Kind regards, tamberg
It is most ingenious, even reading the instructions I'm not completely sure I understand it, but it's really elegant.
A 5 million cubic meters graphing calculator: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgJfVRhotlQ
This is fantastic!
Can you implement this as a visual app in software so I can download it? Wait, let me figure out the layers of abstraction there...
I am blown away. I can not begin imagine how one can come up with something like this
very cool
Hats off, sir!
Simply genious !!!

About This Instructable




More by lelazary:Mechanical CPU Clock 
Add instructable to: