Paddle Through Time



Introduction: Paddle Through Time

I had a vision in early January of a kayak and paddle within water, over a clock face. The top was acrylic and the bottom was wood, with the numbers etched in it. Perhaps it is a mix of my fascination with locks and love for kayaking that inspired the design… Nevertheless, I have been wanting to make that a reality. And so, I did, but I used a canoe instead of a kayak for aesthetic purposes. This clock tells time by minutes in hours. Due to the designed clock hands, I cannot include a second hand as the canoe blocks it.

Materials: plywood (.2 in), acrylic (.08 in), wood glue, acrylic glue that is waterproof/ water resistant (I used: 100% silicone sealant for plastic sheets and other plastics), disposable gloves to go with the glue, protective eyewear (or glasses), 1 AA battery,

clock face image and other image of your choice to go near the center (I used a loon- *not a type of duck*).

Clock kit:

Tools: Laser cutter computer, 3D printer, industrial glue gun, clamps (4), ruler, scissors, paper tape/ tape

Programs: Ultimaker Cura (for 3D printing), Inkscape (for laser cutting), Thingiverse (for canoe and paddle)

Canoe and paddle:

Note: You will want to do a miniature acrylic piece with your glue to make sure the water stays contained in the open top cube/ shape.

Step 1: 3D Print Clock Hands

So< I had wanted the minute hand to be the paddle and the canoe to be the hour hand. Therefore, the paddle is longer. The reality is, the canoe is too tall with this clock kit and would be in the way of the minute hand's movement. Therefore, I had to make the canoe the minute hand in the end. My minute hand is shorter than the hour hand. To change out the scenario, alternate the lengths of your clock hands accordingly.


Canoe: 4.2 in long x .75 in tall x .75 in wide

Paddle: 4.5 in long x 3/32 in tall x .5/16 in wide

I downloaded the file onto UltimakerCura and then 3D printed it. These prints totaled about 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: Design the Clock Face and Laser Cut

I found some images on Google of a square clock face with roman numerals and of loons. I converted the images of my choice to png files and uploaded them to Inkscape. Because my clock dimensions are 11x11 in, I did not scale them.

Instead, for the clock face, I found not a ll the roamn numerals were visible once I traced the bitmap, so I had to extend some of the points to make a seldner line. I only had to trace the bitmap with the loon.

From there, I exported the dxf files to the laser cutter program and edited the sizing accordingly.

Loon, etch: 5 x 3 in
Clock face, etch: 10.2 x 10.2in

Cut the wood: 11x11

Step 3: Laser Cut Acrylic and Plywood

In the laser cutter program, I used the square shape and made an 11x 11 in acrylic square.

The sizes for the acrylic: 2 sides- 11 wide x 1.75 in tall, 2 sides- 10.82 wide x 1.75 in tall

The sizes for the plywood: 2 sides- 11 wide x 1.75 in tall, 2 sides- 10.6 wide x 1.75 in tall, and another 11 by 11 in square backing.

I used all of the acrylic sides I cut, but I only glued the two 11 x 1.75in plywood sides. Do not include a back or do find an alternative backing method. A back glued to the design would have blocked battery access.

Step 4: Align the Center for the Clock Shaft ( to Go Through) and Drill 2 Holes

Using a ring from the clock shaft kit and aligning it with the circle that was already etched in the center of my clock face from laser cutting, I colored a hole for the size I needed.

2- Using a battery powered drill with the appropriate diameter drill bit, a wonderful individual did the drilling for me. It was better to allow someone with more experience in drilling to drill because there was a high risk of the acrylic cracking. He pulsed the drill to get a start before going ham. The acrylic was clamped to an edge with some scarp wood on top of it for clamps to rest on (so the acrylic was not scratched).

3- Drill through the wood with the etched clock face.

total of 2 holes, one in the center of the acrylic and one in the center of the plywood.

Step 5: Wood Glue the Plywood

I glue on the 2 11 x 1.75 in wood pieces on the backside of the wooden clock face. One was on the left, the other was on the right. I used the other 2 pieces to go across the back. These wooden pieces allowed me to clamp down each corner. I let it sit for around 35 minutes.

Step 6: Glue the Acrylic

Using the acrylic glue, I went in with thick layers of the glue on the bottom and sides of the acrylic pieces and in the joints created. It sat for about 20 minutes. I used a popsilcle stick and a skewer to try to get the glue closer.

Step 7: Glue the Acrylic Open Box to the Top of the Clock Face

I used industrial hot glue along the edges of the wood to glue the acrylic down. I should have lined it up with the center. I did not. Make sure to do that.

Becuase of my mistake, we had to drill out the wood that was in the way of the hole the acrylic had. The hole needed to remain centered and the proper diameter for the clock shaft to go through.

Step 8: Add Clock Movement and Hands

1- Put the clock movement beneath the wood and the clock shaft through the holes of the wood and acrylic. Do not include the battery at this point in time.

2- From there, use one of the rubber rings included in the kit. Glue this down with the acrylic glue. Include the hexagonal ring from the clock kit as well.

3- Use a minute and hour hand from the kit. Cut them accordingly and use the industrial hot glue gun to glue the canoe onto the minute hand and to glue the paddle onto the hour hand.

Step 9: Add More Acrylic Glue and Industrial Hot Glue

I added more acrylic glue to the edges and the sides for a stronger hold.

Step 10: Test Water Hold and Adjust Accordingly and Tape

It held water for a few minutes. I emptied it and carried on with my next task. I then found water was leaking from the center. I added a lot more acrylic glue to the center and to where the second hand was supposed to go. I also added the industrial hot glue.

Next, I taped the movement to the back of the clock face. I could not add more glue, so I could only hope it would hold. *Do not put in the battery at this step. You must ensure it is not leaking from the drill holes first.*

Step 11: Adjust Clock Hands and Place in Battery

Adjust your clock hands to the correct time and place in the battery. Add your water to the height of the bottom of the canoe. Do not allow your canoe to be submerged. Just keep an eye on it for leakage.

I found mine held for about 10 minutes before a side began to leak. I just have to add more glue, to both the inside and outside. However, that inner piece that had leaked before? It did not leak at all.

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