Introduction: Lighted Steampunk Portal Clock

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I made this box a few years ago as a Christmas present for a friend. Its a based off a companion cube from the Portal video game but done up in a steampunk style. Its made from a combination of wood and acrylic. The front face is actually a working clock. The clock has led lights under the acrylic to make it glow. I use battery powered LED lights to make it all glow. There are a lot of small detail pieces glued on for style. You could change these up and make it your own look.

Note: This was cut using a CNC machine and a laser cutter. The more skilled among you can probably do it without automation but I can't ;-).

If you don't want to go through the trouble of building I sell finished models on Etsy:

Step 1: Design and Materials


Clock Movement

1x 4ft x .5" wood board from Lowes or Home Depot; I used Poplar but Pine will do as well

1x 8"x10"x.08" Clear acrylic sheet from Lowes

1x 4 pack of dTim Holtz® Idea-ology® Foundations (decorative feet) form Michaels

1x pack of Antique Rhodium Bead Caps by Bead Landing from Michaels

24 small metal bead of your choice

Battery powered LED strip (I'm giving an example from Amazon but you can find these local at Michaels)

1x Tim Holtz® Idea-ology® Corners from Michaels

Brass Hinges from Lowes

The basic cutout of the box is the same. Its customized on the top by adding initials in a Steampunk font on a graphic. The graphic is attached and the font can be found here:

You can add one or two letter to customize. This graphic is then laser etched into the top acrylic in the center slot.

Step 2: Cutting the Wood

I'm attaching the layout for the pieces in a Sketchup file. I used Vectric Aspire to import and setup the CNC job. If anybody wants the actual Aspire file I can provide it. The six pieces are cut from the single 4ft 1/2 piece of wood.

It uses a 1/4", 1/8" and a vcarve bit split into three jobs.

Once the wood is CNC'd separate the pieces and sand them down.

Step 3: Cutting the Acrylic and Painting

The clock face is etched onto the acrylic. For this I have started using 1/4" acrylic because its more solid but your could still get away with the thinner acrylic. I've included the graphic for the clock face to be etched. You can add an appropriate size hole for your clock mechanism.

Also cut out the four acrylic side squares out of the .08 acrylic sheet. Sizes are included in the acrylic Sketchup file.

I used translucent green spray paint for the clock face and sides. Spray it on the back.

For the wood I used Rustoleum antique copper spray paint:(I'm show true vale but you can find it at a lot of local stores)

After you paint the acrylic mount the clock movement on the back. You will probably have to cut the included clock hands down a 1/2" or so to get them to fit in the circle.

Step 4: Assembly

Glue the acrylic pieces onto the insides of the cut box sides. I used super glue.

This is probably the best time to glue a small section of the LED lights to the bottom of the clock face. The rest of the LEDs should be coiled and placed inside the box when assembled. You want to make sure the LEDs are lighting the edge so the whole thing glows.

Then glue the box pieces together with wood glue. On the bottom I hammer in four 3/4" small nails in each corner for strength. Watch the placement to make sure they won't show through.

Then mount the decorative feet and screw on with small brass wood screws.

The rest is decoration:

-Glue the corner covers on the top lid

-Glue the small decorative bits on the four sides

-Screw in the two hinges on the back


Lights Contest 2017

Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017