Introduction: Spooky Backwards Spinning Clock Made From Cassette Player Motor

This is a prop that I made for my daughter's elementary school haunted house, which I run with my husband. The clock is constructed from a cheapo thrift store clock and an old kid's cassette player. It shows thirteen o'clock and the minute hand spins backwards.

Step 1: Materials & Tools

The things I used for this project are:

An old clock (doesn't need to work)
A portable cassette tape player (not a micro cassette)
Enclosed battery holder ( I used Radio Shack #270-409)
Wood ( I used 3/4" thick poplar)
Electrical tape
Wood screws
White glue
Epoxy glue
Plastic spacer
A set of Fancy clock hands
Super 77 spray adhesive
Wooden finale
Small wood molding (I got this at Michaels Arts & Crafts)
Duct tape

Soldering iron
Miter box

Step 2: Disassemble the Cassette Player

1. Take apart the cassette player (I forgot to take a picture of the cassette player that I started with, but the one show is very similar).

2. You will not need any part of the green circuit board so just break it away until you get just the plastic housing holding the motor.

3. With the motor wires still attached to the original battery case, figure out which of the two wires actually run the motor. I did this by looking at the motor and guessing. In the process of making the project, one of the wires came loose from the motor connection point and I had replace the wire and solder it back on- so have a soldering iron and some wire on hand, just in case.

4. Connect the wires to a purchased battery pack, so that the motor turns the sprockets counter-clockwise. If the wires are spinning clock-wise, then reverse them to get a counter-clockwise spin. My battery pack has an "on/off" switch. The Motor in my cassette player was 6 volts, so I made sure that the battery pack was compatible.

5. Find the sprocket that spins slower than the other; that is the one that will spin the clock hand. I am pointing to the slow one in the picture.

Step 3: Disassemble the Old Clock and Build the New One

1. Take apart the old clock. You can discard the movement, or save it for something else if it works.

2. Build a bottom or other type of body for the clock. I used 3/4" poplar and just built a box on top of a slightly wider bottom piece.

3. Screw the old clock to the new body.

4. Paint everything. I used a glossy black.

Step 4: Make the Clock Face

1. Use the old cardboard clock face to make a new one. I used Adobe Illustrator to make mine with all the numbers except 13 falling to the bottom of the clock. I saw this somewhere on the Internet; I wish I could remember so I could give the Site credit. I think that the design may have been at one of the Disney Parks.

2. Print out the new clock face and use adhesive to glue it to the old one. Cut a hole in the middle. Make it slightly larger than the original one.

3. The hands that my clock came with were pretty boring, so I bought fancier ones at Michael's.

4. Glue the hour hand onto the clock with white glue. I put mine at thirteen o'clock.

5. Figure out how far above the cassette sprocket the minute hand has to be. If it is not far out enough, it will scrape along the clock face and get caught on the hour hand. If it is too far out, then it will scrape against the glass on the front of the clock. Seriously, this was the hardest part of the whole dang project for me! For next time, I have a better idea that I will explain in the final step.

6. Epoxy a plastic spacer or similar cylindrical thingy of the right height onto the cassette sprocket. Let dry.

7. Epoxy the minute hand onto the end of the spacer. Paint the whole top of it black (or the color of the clock hand). Let dry.

8. Maneuver the minute hand through the hole in the clock face. If it bends out of shape, just bend it back. You may need to enlarge the hole in the clock face.

Step 5: Secure the Face/Motor Assembly Into the Clock Body

OK, I totally ran out of time on this step.

I cut out a piece of styrofoam and duct-taped the motor and the battery pack in. I just made sure that the tape didn't hang up the belt driving the motor. It's not pretty, but it held the motor in place for the duration of our haunted house. Thank the gods for duct tape!

The plastic housing around the motor in my cassette player had screw holes in it. So, if I had time, I could have attached wood or metal strips to the back of the clock and secured the motor to them using the screw holes.

Step 6: Finish the Clock Body

1. I added small wooden molding (3/4" wide, from Michael's) to the front.

2. I wanted to make a Sculpey bat, but with no time, I printed one out and glued it on. It looked OK.

3. I added a wooden finial to the top.

Step 7: Notes

The idea of using a cassette tape motor came from this Website from HowlHaunter:
He used a lid from a five gallon plastic bucket, painted a 13 on it, and lit it from behind with green Christmas lights. It spun backward and looked OK (see picture), but I wanted mine to look like a real clock.

Next year, I will look for a really gothic clock like the one shown below, and use that for the body. To make things much easier, I will remove the front glass, then attach the motor securely inside the clock body. Then, I can easily adjust the height (projection) of the spinning hand before I epoxy it onto the cassette sprocket.