I made a steampunk clock using an old wooden telephone box, three analog gauges, switches, a viewport, and a wind-up mechanism. The clock displays the hours, minutes and seconds on the gauges and when you wind it up, it displays the month, date and day of the week as well as playing a video of the correct moon phase for the current date and time. The dials are electroluminescent and are activated and dimmed by touch. The clock plays audio including four selectable volume controllable clock sounds and random sound effects when the moon phase video is being played. The time is set using the chicken head knobs and the date is set via a usb port.
The code is written for the arduino platform (I'm using a mega) and the arduino IDE.

Check out the video,


And here's a link to the longer version of the video with closeups and more detail:


Step 1: A Few Words for Newbs

Picture of A Few Words for Newbs
I am a mechanical engineer by training and by practice. I like to hack around with electronics and know enough about them to be dangerous and to be able to build some fun stuff.   I am not a trained programmer but have written some pretty extensive programs over my career. Do not be intimidated by this project, please.
I firmly believe that anyone with gumption can take on some or even all of this project and be successful. Break it down into pieces. I'll try to give you as much info as possible to lead you in the right direction.
I think you should add "teacher" to the list of talents... you have tought me a lot here. Lovely clock, great application of technology and execution of ideas. Full pot!
gscsderby2 years ago
Just tumble into this great Instructable! Your work has inspired me to build a long time project idea using a 'knock-off' of your clock functions. I was wondering if you ever developed any wiring diagrams to go along with all the other great info you put into your 'ible?

Thanks for putting this up!
ka_jeri3 years ago
I've been a member for years and this is the first comment i posted. Outstanding work!!! Very inspiring.
longwinters3 years ago
If I am not mistaken that is a portrait of Van Gough you are standing by, I think after reading the engineering instructions I'll go cut off an ear too, what a fantastic idea and wonderfully executed.
T-Hawke3 years ago
AWESOME!!!!!!! Well Done!!
fatratmatt (author)  T-Hawke3 years ago

lphoenix3 years ago
How well does the battery backup for your clock chip work?

Would it be sufficient to maintain accuracy if this were hooked to a hand cranked dynamo for power and remained unpowered when not in use?
fatratmatt (author)  lphoenix3 years ago
The battery back-up works as well as power as far as accuracy is concerned. The question that I had when I read your question is how long will the battery last. As you can imagine, there is not a clear cut answer to that question, but I did browse the datasheet for the 3231 and found a reference to an application note that sheds some light on the subject (link below). It turns out that the current draw of the chip when not transmitting data or performing temperature compensation conversions is very, very low.
If I were you, I would give it a go. A Panasonic CR2032 coin cell has a capacity of 220 mAh and will last about 1000 hrs at 190 uA (microamp). The DS3231 (according to the app note below) draws just 3.0 uA. So you should be good for a long long time.



pawelski3 years ago
fatratmatt (author)  pawelski3 years ago
Much appreciated.

dmdsanchez3 years ago
Super awesome project man the wheels in my head are turning
fatratmatt (author)  dmdsanchez3 years ago
Good! That was my purpose in posting this project. Have fun.

So I decided I want to tackle this project. If you could help it would be greatly appreciated. Im currently scouting the parts and will get bak to you as soon as I have everything
fatratmatt (author)  dmdsanchez3 years ago
Cool. I'll do what I can to help you.
I got the watch crystal for the viewport from Esslinger by the way.

callipso3 years ago
That's totally warehouse 13 !
fatratmatt (author)  callipso3 years ago
Thanks for all the kind words!

I love the clock you have made, the mind boggles!! I would like to do same. Are the instructions here complete to make this without a lot of knowledge about electronics but able to follow clear instructions as long as there are no bugs in the programs you've written.

Superb workmanship!!!

I have voted for you.
fatratmatt (author)  bricabracwizard3 years ago
I encourage you to take what I have posted and use it to make your own clock. I will be adding more info in the days/weeks to come so check back for more. The steps that I have added so far will get you very close to making your clock. You will have to have some knowledge of programming and electronics to be successful. Go for it!

foxmcf3 years ago
This is very cool. I'm interested in doing this instructable, but it appears that starting with Step 10, the instructable is missing steps? Is it just me, or do other people see what I'm talking about?
fatratmatt (author)  foxmcf3 years ago
Thank you!
I have not finished adding the steps yet! I will continue to add them in the coming weeks. Please give me some time and check back.

Gotcha! Definitely will check back. Thanks for sharing!
bill20093 years ago
janw3 years ago
Awesome build!! I love the moon fase display. Thanks for sharing!
goldberie3 years ago
This is so amazing. Thanks for sharing.
kenbob3 years ago
Cool. i love it. i have some old gauges and have been wondering what to make. Please add some close up photos of the clock!
fatratmatt (author)  kenbob3 years ago
Thanks. I'll add some more photos. Anything in particular you want to see close up?

jtadelman3 years ago
wow, amazing, i would pay upwards of $200 for that little thing, I LOVE CLOCKS and that looks awesome.
wonderful work.... great idea with moon phases
fatratmatt (author)  tomasjindrich3 years ago
Thank you, appreciate it.

tneville3 years ago
This is amazing! I am so intrigued with building electronic devices, but I have NO idea where to start. I would love to do something like this!
fatratmatt (author)  tneville3 years ago

When I started with electronics, I found the books by Mims to be very helpflul. Here's a link to his website.


I bought mine from Radio Shack, you may still be able to get them there. Very easy to understand and practical.
Thanks! I really do love this piece. Do you have any other steampunk stuff?
fatratmatt (author)  tneville3 years ago
Workin' on it!
gettmanru3 years ago
wonderful work.... great idea with moon phases
tocsik3 years ago
Thank you.
fatratmatt (author)  tocsik3 years ago
Happy to do it! Any more questions, please ask. I will be adding to this in the coming weeks.