Instructables
Picture of Tidal Clock
This is a tutorial for making the Tidal Clock. The clock shows the ebb and flow between high and low tide by a rising and falling water level. It consists of an airtight acrylic container that has a front visible chamber and a back hidden chamber. A volume rotates through the back chamber, displacing the water in the front and causing the water level to rise and fall. The rotation is controlled by an Arduino controlled stepper motor.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
TideClock Supplies-7763.jpg
TideClock Supplies-7765.jpg
First, you need to collect your materials. For my project I used the following:

Liquid acrylic glue - I use this one http://www.interstateplastics.com/Scigrip-Weld-on...
Clear waterproof silicone caulk
2 part Epoxy glue
Large Acrylic tube - I used 10in diameter, with 1/8 in thickness
Small acrylic tube - I used tube with a 5mm inner diameter
Acrylic rod - I used 5mm
Acrylic sheet - 1/8 in thickness
Scrap wood pieces
Stepper motor - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9238
Stepper driver - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10267
Shaft collar with mounting screw or a universal mounting hub like this https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10267
Ardunio Uno
Solderable breadboard
12 v battery pack Batteries
Adhesive backed vinyl
Dye - I used iDye for Natural Fabrics, food coloring would work too
Rubbing Alcohol

Tools:
Power drill
Plastics drill bits
A laser cutter
Table saw
Plastics blade for table saw
Miter saw box and saw
Sandpaper
Protective glasses
Rubber Gloves
Soldering iron




that's a cool idea.

aristocob9 months ago
Very cool and this is such a clever idea. Good luck!
Alderin9 months ago
Wow, very cool idea. Reading through the comments, BrianJewett is right that the speed will be off with the slotted disk+circular chamber. You might be able to adjust this with a wedge shape that gets fatter then thinner as it enters the water to match the change in volume to the change in width of the circle, but I don't want to do the math on that. :-)  However, with a stepper motor you do have much more control than just acting like a clock motor, so you could compensate with motor timing.  You could also use motor timing and position to show different high/low tide levels as they change through the month, since the stepper doesn't have to go only one direction, thus doesn't have to use full displacement before retreating, and doesn't need to withdraw the displacer completely before reversing again.

I love the idea of including a dock and other ocean graphics.

zEroRush15's idea of multiple locations could make for a very interesting "World Tide Clock", that could actually illustrate the global nature of tides, which would be much easier to do with non-circular display chambers. Would be very cool to see the tide level in Sydney, Tokyo, San Francisco, Houston, New York, London, Capetown, and Rome in a group on the wall. Each "tidezone" would need a displacement chamber of its own and displacing mass and motor. Would be easier to use Servos, but I'm guessing louder, and possibly less efficient.

Of course, that ends up much more complex and challenging than your original idea. It is a great start on a very cool concept!
gumby_kevbo9 months ago
One addition that would be nice would be an indication of rising or falling tide. Perhaps just an arrow on the displacer rotor with a window in the partition. It would point either up or down at mid-tide, left at low tide, and right at high tide...assuming rotor turns clockwise.
wthit569 months ago
Interesting project... I was wondering, though. (Maybe I'm being dumb here, but...) As the tides are basically dictated by how water reacts to the subtle shifts in gravity, could you not just have a thin layer of water sitting vertically? Would that not simply be affected by the same changes in gravity?
The tides are generated by shifts in gravity over fairly large scales. Like the Coriolis effect, a small amount of water will not accurately reflect the tides, especially when weather conditions and local geography come into play.
BrianJewett9 months ago
Nice idea! I think the portrayal of the tide levels might be more accurate with a square reservoir though. The round shape is going to make the speed of change faster at the peaks and troughs instead of moving faster at the mid point as it would in nature. Making your displacement volume an offset circle instead of a notched disc would also make the action more representational of true tidal motion. A second disc timed to the lunar cycle could even help represent the daily variations in high and low tides.

It might also be fun to add some graphics like a small dock on pilings, and a sloped bottom with starfish etc.
myarnall9 months ago
This is a fantastic! Thanks for sharing. Do you have a source for the acrylics you'd be willing to share? Thanks!
Porda9 months ago
Brilliant idea. I'd love to see the ability to display multiple locations tides.
EthanKincaid9 months ago
I wonder if a jewler's saw would work in place of a laser cutter ... easier to get my hands on.
wavesounds9 months ago
Great idea but it'd be cool if there was a way to do this without the laser cutter.
cheekybabies9 months ago
Absolutely fantastic! You should put together kits to sell.
ClareBS9 months ago
Elegant and beautiful.
kjlpdx9 months ago
an exploded view of parts would be nice to help understand how things relate, especially the stepper mount. I have a cnc router if you need parts made. kevinlane55@gmail.com
duncan_a9 months ago
Wow!!!

So simple, but oh, so very, very clever...

Add my vote for a time-lapse video please.
askjerry duncan_a9 months ago
I agree... totally need a time-lapse... an animated GIF would be cool.
lolson19 months ago
Beautifully done and so visually intriguing!!
Gomex199 months ago
wow, perfect. well done.
fasaxc9 months ago
Great, very creative.
bigatmosphere9 months ago
simply magickal.
mooseo9 months ago
very nice! I would love to have something like that in my wall. rather than pull tides off the internet, you can have the Arduino calculate them in real time. someone posted code to do so here: http://lukemiller.org/index.php/2012/09/tide-height-prediction-with-the-arduino/
bertus52x119 months ago
Impressive and cool! And yes, we would love a time lapse movie!
jcopping9 months ago
I have no need for tide level although I insist on having it on my watch. this looks very modern and would bring a nice dynamic looking element to a room. as a concept I love it. it would be awesome to move the idea forward and have varoius chambers within for time and date etc. 5 star for design and innovation.
utest_569 months ago
very good
Woshishui9 months ago
Looks good
very clever! you should do a time lapse of it running!
Phil Cyr9 months ago
Very cool design. The idea of using a block to displace water is ingenious.
very nice