Introduction: Sun Inspired Clock (Orange)

About: Hi! I love engineering, 3D modeling, and 3D printing.

This instructable was inspired by a breathtaking sunset. I live by the beach so I am lucky enough to have seen some truly beautiful sunsets in my time. If you have never seen the sun set over an ocean, you are truly missing out. As the sun dips lower and lower it turns a beautiful shade of golden orange. The sky turns brilliant shades of purple, pink, orange, and many other colors while the ocean reflects this scene on top of its brilliant blue color.

For me, the most captivating part of this experience has always been the sun. The combination of the beautiful shade of orange and the rays reaching out is amazing. I looked to make something that could capture this brilliance, and eventually I came up with the idea for this clock. In addition to the image it evoked in my mind, I loved the idea of the sun-shaped clock telling the time because the sun is what determines the time of day in real life. This clock comes full circle in so many ways (literally) and I had a great time making it!

I have entered this clock under the Rainbow Contest in hopes to win a 3D printer. I have recently become very interested in 3D modeling and printing. It's just so cool! In fact, it's pretty obvious from this project! I designed all of the pieces used in this project in Autodesk Inventor and 3D printed them at my local community center. Unfortunately, I don't have very reliable access to this 3D printer, so it's difficult to experiment and learn about 3D printing. Because of this, winning this 3D printer would be incredible, and it would really help me pursue my passion! If you enjoy this instructable, please consider giving me a vote. I'd really appreciate it!


  • Sun base (STL file attached)
  • 12 ray pieces (STL file attached)
  • Screwdriver
  • Dremel
  • Sandpaper and/or sanding sponge
  • Hot glue
  • Clock kit (43/64 inch shaft length)
  • AA battery
  • Nail
  • Hammer

You will also need access to a 3D printer with orange filament.

Step 1: 3D Print Sun Base and 12 Rays

3D print the sun base and 12 ray pieces using orange filament. The pieces should be printed at a scale of 985%, (the overall diameter of the base must be about 5.7 inches) in order for the clock kit to fit into the base perfectly. You can print slightly bigger if you'd prefer but I would NOT recommend printing any smaller. Here is how I recommend printing each part:


  • Upward (dome should be upright)
  • Supports under dome and in peg holes
  • Infill 20%


  • Flat side down
  • Supports under peg
  • Infill 5%

Step 2: Remove All Supports From Parts

Using a screwdriver, pry the supports out of the holes in the base and those under the dome. Remove supports from the pegs of all 12 rays. If supports under the peg are too thin too be removed, remove them using a Dremel in the sanding step.

Step 3: Sand the Base

Using a Dremel, sand the insides of the holes, making sure to remove any residue from the supports. Then, use sandpaper or a sanding sponge to smooth out the clock face and remove any flaws. This will be the main thing you see when finished so make sure to get it as smooth as possible.

Step 4: Sand the Rays

Use a Dremel to grind off any residue left on the pegs from the printing process or supports. It is important to make sure that the pegs are as smooth as possible to ensure that they fit into the holes. Remove any other imperfections on the rays that you see.

Step 5: Test the Fit of Pieces

Once all pieces are smooth, insert each peg into a hole and ensure that there is a good fit. The pieces have been designed with very large clearances and should fit well. However, if some pieces aren't fitting, resand the peg and/or hole until the piece slides in easily. It is OK to take off a lot of plastic if necessary as the pegs are light enough that they do not require much to hold them in. When all pieces fit into their holes, you can move on to the next step.

Step 6: Glue in Rays

Plug in your hot glue gun and allow it to heat up for about 3-4 minutes. Once hot, squirt glue into the first hole until it is about 1/3 - 1/2 full. Quickly insert the peg of a ray about halfway into the hole. Then, squirt a small dollop of glue on top of the visible section of the peg (it should be between the ray and the clock.) Push the ray all the way into the clock and hold for 10-15 seconds or until glue is dry and hardened. Repeat this process with the 11 remaining rays.

Step 7: Attach Clock Kit

It's time to install the clock mechanism! Firstly, flip the clock over to its hollow side and center the plastic washer over the hole in the base. Insert the motor's shaft through the hole so that the washer is between the clock and the motor. Flip the clock over, making sure to hold the motor against the clock as you do. Slide the metal washer over the shaft, followed by the brass nut and tighten. Finally, press the hour hand, then minute hand, then second hand onto the shaft at the 12:00 position.

Step 8: Add Battery

Insert one AA battery into the motor. Watch the clock for a few minutes to ensure that it is moving correctly. The main problem I ran into with my clock had to do with the hands. Oftentimes they would cross over or under each other and the clock would stop ticking as a result. The second hand is especially prone to this as it can get caught on the pointer or the tail. To combat this, make sure that none of your hands are bent. Check every once in a while to see if anything is stuck. If this does occur, simply straighten whichever hand is stuck. Once you have ensured that your clock will turn continuously, set it to the correct time.

Step 9: Hang Your Clock

Using a hammer, drive a small nail into the wall until about half of it is sticking out. Place the clock onto the nail and check that it is balanced. If not, change the length of the nail until the clock sits correctly on the wall. Finally, turn the clock so that the ray representing the 12 is pointed straight up.

Step 10: Enjoy!

Once you have hung your clock, congratulations! Your sun clock is ready to go. I sure had a great time making this clock and I hope that you do too! It's easily customizable! You can print it a different color, paint it, add numbers, and more. Have fun with this project, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest