Quarantine Clock

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Introduction: Quarantine Clock

About: I am a recent graduate from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering currently looking to take the next step in my engineering career. From internship experience…

Have you had trouble keeping track of time lately? Are the days blending together? Are normal clocks no longer useful? If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, I have good news for you! A quarantine clock is the perfect time keeper for the modern day pandemic. When hours and minutes have little meaning, what you really need help with keeping track of are the days.

Since I've already gone and designed the clock face, this Instructable is actually pretty simple. For those curious to know how I did the design, so that anyone can potentially customize it themselves, I'll go through that in step 1. The other steps will follow the process for making it.

This Instructable is a part of "The 1000th Contest"... contest, and if you enjoy it, please consider voting for this project. Thanks!

Supplies

Consumables:

  • Plywood (for the clock face)
  • 7 Day Clock Mechanism (actually kinda hard to find)
  • Clock Hand
  • Wood Stain
  • Wood Finish

Software and Tools:

  • Laser Cutter
  • Vector Graphics Program (optional)

Step 1: Designing the Clock

To make the clock I used Inkscape to create the clock face, and a Word Cloud website as a starting point for the word cloud (if you are more artistically endowed, you could probably skip the word cloud generator and make one on your own).

For the word cloud, I spent a while keeping track of popular words and phrases (this was back at the beginning of the Pandemic, if the addition of "Toilet Paper" isn't a give away to that), then used the word cloud generator to get a rough draft of what I wanted. I played around with a couple, and though I didn't find any that were perfect for my needs, I ended up using https://www.wordclouds.com/ to make the draft. That website allows you to shape the cloud (a circle), and arbitrarily make some words/phrases larger than others.

Once I had the rough draft (3rd picture), I imported it into Inkscape as a PNG and manually duplicated the words and did some minor rearrangements to end up with the final word cloud (picture 1).

I included the basic instructions for making the clock using Inkscape in my video, so I recommend you definitely follow along on that part if you are interested. But key tools that I used in Inkscape are:

  • The text function to make the word cloud, and add the days
  • The "Put on Path" function that, you guessed it, puts text on a path. In this case on a circular path.
  • And the rotate tool. Which allows us to rotate pieces by specific amounts to properly form the clock face elements

Step 2: Laser Cutting

Attached here are the actual files to make the clock; the PNG for the rastering (it appears to be automatically added with the other images; download it to get full resolution), DXF for the cutting, and the original SVG that I made using Inkscape.

With the design done, the only part that needs to be made for the clock is the clock face, which is done in two parts. First rastering the design on the front, then cutting it out. I used 0.2" thick plywood for this.

If you want to color the text a different color than the stain applied next step, I recommend using a stencil film during the rastering. This will allow you to paint just the text a different color before taking the stencil off and staining.

Step 3: Staining and Finish

Next up is staining and finishing. I tried out two different wood finishes, one lighter (Danish oil), and one darker (I believe Minwax English Chestnut), to see how it would turn out. Personally I liked the darker one slightly better. And then after dried, I applied a layer of polycrylic finish.

Step 4: Clock Mechanism and Hand

The last part is adding the clock mechanism and hand. I had a rather hard time finding a clock mechanism that was made for telling the day of the week rather than the time of the day; it unsurprisingly appears to be a bit of a novelty item. My best luck on finding them has been on Ebay. Just make sure that what you are getting is a 7 day clock.

Alternatively, you can make your own with an Arduino or similar. The only reason that I went the route of using a pre-built clock mechanism is that they are quite a bit more energy efficient, and only need a battery to run.

Lastly, I got a different clock hand for the clock, because I didn't like the one that it came with. Fare warning, make sure that you get one that your clock can handle. I originally wanted to get a larger hand than I ended up getting, but after reading a bit into it, you need a "high torque" clock to handle the larger hands. And try as I might, I couldn't find a high torque 7 day clock, so I was stuck with what I got!

And that's basically it! I can't complicate it anymore than that. I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, and if you did, please consider voting for this in "The 1000th Contest"... contest. Thanks!

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