Modern Grandfather Clock

Introduction: Modern Grandfather Clock

About: I love to build things, everything and anything that involves robotics, woodworking, metal working, anything that involves mechatronics. My education plan is to go to sierra college get my General Ed. and get …

Hey guys. I built this Clock with my cousin Aaron over summer just for a project to pass time and learn somethings I didn't already know. This was a pretty difficult build, everything needs to be so exact and perfectly milled in order for everything to transfer with low friction. it was so sensitive infact, that my cousin Aaron got all the gears running flush with each other towards the end, but after I painted it, even that thin layer of paint made the gears bind.

This will be a simple Instructable with and overview of detail instead of every detail being said. I did this just to help out who ever wants to build one of these clocks because when I was building mine, there was No help from anywhere other than the blueprints on the website listed later, and those blueprints were not simple. It was a good thing I had my cousin Aaron with me, that guy is really smart.

This build was meant to be made entirely out of wood, however I wanted a more modern look and I didn't have access to all the tool I needed to make it out of wood. This Intractable is for my build specifically, however feel free to venture off for a customization.

Oh, and sorry for all the grammar errors. If you have any questions feel completely free to ask anything, I will try to answer any questions as soon as I can. :)

Well, lets dig in!


Drill Press



Measuring Tape

Scroll Saw

Full set of Drill Bits

Set of Spade Bits


Hack Saw

Sand paper of multiple grits

Assortment of files, needle to large woodworking

Razor Blade



1/2 Inch Hobby wood (front and back)

1 piece of Trim Running Board (Good for milling gears out of rather than wood)

1/2 ID inch Iron tube

1/2 inch aluminum rod

Basic Hardware

1/2 inch ID barrings ( easing friction)

Two 1/2 inch shaft coller

Super glue

Spray Paint

Five 1/2inch bolts

3/32 inch metal shaft (Pendulum)

1/4inch Plexyglass

Thick Sheet Metal

1/16th inch metal rope

1/16th inch rope clamp

wood glue


Step 1: Gears

So my cousin and I milled all these gears our selfs by hand, however we used a templet, you can find this templet Here, the templet cost some money but made it worth while. The process went like this:

We gathered materials, then we printed out the templates and glued them onto the running board. from here we roughly cut out each gear so that it was easier to work with. Then Aaron drilled out the space in-between the individual teeth. I then used the scroll saw to complete the gear cutting and to shape the gears.

After all the gears were cut out we then cut out the back plater and the front plate. Keep in mind these are different.

Step 2: Aligning Gears

Now were going to align all the gears. This was pretty easy, but took time ( a lot! over 4 hours). You just take a file to it to try to make them all run smoothy with as little friction as possible. I recommend filing with plenty or room to spare between the individual teeth of the gears. This leaves room of you want paint it later. Be careful though because I got my gears all running flush with each other, then I painted over them with a very thin layer of spray paint and this caused them to gears to bind. So i had to go mack and file them, and now they don't look as good as they did when they were a solid color.

Step 3: Milling the Other Parts

There is a ton of other pieces to the clock other then just the gears, the spreadsheets that you can buy on that website suggested earlier. It is time to build all these miscellaneous pieces. Ill post some pictures with the things that I modified from the original plans. The main thing I change was the ratchet system for winding the gears. I changed it because my version made more sense to me and because it was just the parts available to me.

Step 4: The Ratchet System

Just Some close ups on how we did the ratchet system. It is spring loaded and nice clicking noise when being loaded.

Step 5: Putting It Al Together

If all your parts are ready to be put together, go ahead and do that. There will be a few things you will have to do here, that may require you to go back and make another part or something. For example you put it all together just to realize that you forgot to drill a hole. Which then will cause you to go back to the front and back face to drill it. There may be multiple things like this for you. This is just part of piecing it together. For me it look me like 15 times to get it right. (Man do I wish I had this instructable to help me)

Step 6: The Faceplate

This is getting pretty close to finishing. This is the part where you can easily venture off to customize you clock. My faceplate is made of an old bike sprocket gear. backed with Plexiglas. I drilled 12 holed and just put black and blue bolts through them for the hour markers. I got this accurate by taking the face of a real clock and marking the individual notches. There were three dowels cut into segments that were glued onto the face of the clock. These dowels were what attached the faceplate were what mounted the faceplate to the front face. I drilled two holes through the Plexiglas, one for the dowels that transfer the rotational energy to the hands and one that comes out just to the left of it. This hole that comes out just to the left of it for the key that you use to ratchet the gears.

This key is where I got creative. Instead of a norman key, I used a socket wrench socket that fit on the end of perfectly after bringing down the rod so that it fits perfectly into the socket wrench. Now when ever I want to wind my clock i just take the wrench and it is super easy to wind.

Step 7: Wrapping Things Up

Well we have created out clock! good job guys :) However its not done yet! There are still things to do. There is much fine tuning to be done, you will need to adjust the needle like bar thing that keeps the pace of the clock, this piece comes in contact with the pendulum and the timing gear. The last thing to do is to glue on your hands. For mine I went to goodwill and bought a 4 dollar clock and took the hands off that. But I guess you could make your own if you would like. Adding the pendulum is easy. Finding a weight to move all my gears with the modern theme was a kinda hard. That is just something you will have to experiment with. Your weight should be enough to move your gears, but not so much that it causes them to bind and break the teeth. Another note is that after putting wight on the drum, it caused extra friction that didn't let it turn with ease. To fix this I wen track and installed some cheap bearings. This fixed the problem.

Thank you for reading my Instructable, and once again feel completely free to ask any queHave a good one!

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    8 years ago

    I think I'll need to try this!