Introduction: Speedometer Wall Clock

About: I like to make stuff for my home and garden from wood and metal..

I had this idea to make a clock from a car speedometer dial for quite a while. I had toyed with the idea of just using the speed dial and perhaps making a small table clock but in the end I thought it would be better to use all the dials and make a larger wall mounted clock. I came up with the idea to mount it in what looked like a steering wheel as I was driving one day and glanced down to check my speed.

It is quite an easy clock to make with a few power tools and it does not take a long time to complete. It would be a great project to gift to a car lover or to have a memento of that favourite car you used to have before it died!

The car I used to get the speedometer from was a 1997 VW polo and if you would like to see some other projects I made from the same car see here:

Shock absorber stools

Seat belt buckle key holder

Another car themed project:

Car tyre stool.

Step 1: Have a Look at the Video Below.

Have a look at the video above to see how I built the speedometer wall clock from start to finish or follow the pictures and written commentary below.

Step 2: Removing the Speedometer.

As I said in the intro the speedometer came from a 1997 Volkswagen polo which was gone well past its use by date. The speedometer was quite easy to remove, there was a combination of torc and cross head screws to unscrew and the whole unit comes right out. It is then easy to unclip all the wiring and the unit is then free!

Step 3: Marking Out the Steering Wheel Part 1

The steering wheel is made from two pieces of 18 mm Mdf. Rather than just using one piece I added a second around the rim to give it more depth.

I started out with the two pieces 410 mm square and marked the center by crossing the diagonals. I did not have a compass large enough to draw the 400 mm outer diameter and the 370 mm inner diameter of the circle so I made one using a piece of wood. I used a nail as the pivot point and then drilled two holes to accept a pencil at the correct positions to mark the circles on each piece.

Step 4: Marking Out the Steering Wheel Part 2.

After measuring the diameter of the 4 dials on the speedometer I set my smaller compass to approximately 5 mm smaller and marked them on one piece of the Mdf. This layout will differ for every speedometer so that is why I do not give any measurements. The reason for the 5 mm smaller diameter is so when the dials are cut out they will sit into the recess. To add the curves to the wheel I just played around with a flexible ruler until I was happy with how it appeared and I just used lid of a can of spray paint to to round off all the other corners.

Step 5: Cutting Out.

To cut out the steering wheel I first drilled a hole to let the blade of the jigsaw through and then carefully cut around the layout lines. Two of the smaller dials were quite small so these were trickier to cut out.

Step 6: Gluing, Sanding & Routing.

It was easy to glue the two pieces of Mdf together. I just spread some wood glue on one piece and placed it on top and then applied a weight until the glue had cured. Using a belt sander clamped to a bench I smoothed out the edges. To make the recess on the back to accept the dials I used a straight cutting router bit and removed some material. I did this freehand as it was at the back and would not be seen when finished.

To smooth over all the edges on the steering wheel I switched over to a round over bit and eased all the edges.

Step 7: Painting.

I applied a coat of a sealer to seal the Mdf and allowed it to dry before painting. I then applied three coats of a matt black paint giving a light sanding before the final coat. I think a Matt finish would look better than a gloss finish.

Step 8: Disassembling the Speedometer.

To remove the dials I firstly prised the needles off with a screwdriver. There was small tabs holding the dial in place so I bent these back and lifted off the dial. Take care when doing as its easily scratched. The dials on the 1997 VW were made from metal (possibly tin) but again this could be different on other cars.

Step 9: Assembly.

I used a tin snips to cut out the dials and using some super glue I tacked the dials in place. When that had dried I applied a bead of silicone to securely hold the dials in place. (not shown in video)

I had purchased two clock mechanisms and hands online. One was for the hour and minute side (speed dial) and the other just for the second side (rev counter) These mechanisms are very easy to install. Just insert the threaded section through the hole and tighten the nut to secure in place. Take care not to over tighten as they are only made from brass and the threads can be damaged easily. Its then just a matter of pushing the hands into place and the clock is then finished!

Step 10: The Finished Clock.

Here are a few shots of the finished clock.

I am very happy at how it turned out. I think the second hand (rev counter side) is what makes the clock. I think it would look well in any man cave, auto garage or any car fans house. Send me some pictures if you have a go at making your own, I would love to see how yours turns out or any changes you would make.

If you would like to see more projects from me you can have a look at my YouTube channel here:

Eamon Walsh on YouTube.

Thanks for looking!

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