Introduction: Ticking Time (USA Time Zones Clock Pendulum)

Hi Mr. Marlowe or anyone else that sees this!

My AP Physics class required students to build a kinematic sculpture from what we learned throughout the year, so my partner and I decided to build a Pendulum. To make it a bit more interesting we implemented the use of clocks and the United States time zones. The inspiration of this pendulum came from those world clocks posted on many office walls displaying time zones from different places.

This pendulum is aided by a hand crank that will move and hit the clocks at different periods to represent that time around the world isn't same and is at different times. Information regarding the materials and how to build will be included in this instructable, although if two kids in high school can build this I am pretty sure you can too.

Take look at the steps below to make your own USA Time Zone Clock Pendulum.


  • Wood board
  • 6 PVC pipes
  • 6 Pencils
  • Black & White paint
  • Foam paint brushes
  • Wooden blocks (2 x 4)
  • Drill with various sizes of drill bits
  • Nail screws
  • 6 Wall clocks
  • Batteries (for the clocks)
  • Wooden laths
  • Wooden dowel
  • Zip ties


This option is completely optional, we wanted the audience to understand the idea of the different time zones in the United States by painting the whole map of USA. By painting the wooden board this will be displayed underneath the pendulum and each clock would be position on top of each time zone. There is a total of 6 time zones in the United States (Hawaiian, Alaskan, Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern).


To sketch the United States I simply googled an image of USA then started outlining where Hawaii, Alaska, and the rest of America would be located. It helps to look at many different references to get different angles.


Once you finished sketching the shape of the United States. Then paint the states in white and the surrounding background in black using a foam paintbrush.


Once you have gotten your PVC pipes, we need to get them to cross each other to create a tent-like frame. To do this, you simply drill a hole near the top of the 4 PVC pipes and stick a pen rod through two of them while they are in the tent angle, then repeat the steps to the other pair of PVC pipe.

Wooden Block Drilling

The idea of the wooden blocks is to position the PVC pipes in the correct stance. This is done by drilling a hole that is as the same circumference as the PVC pipe to the wooden block, but not completely through as it will be a pocket to hold the PVC pipe. Since the PVC pipe will be on the wooden board at an angle you have to measure the angle and drill the hole at the same angle. For our case, it was at 25 degrees. After drilling the pocket in all 4 wooden block attach the blocks to the wooden board where you want to place the frame and drill them down to the board.


Attach the wooden dowel right underneath the middle PVC pipe with a zip tie on both ends, this will hold all the wooden laths and clocks. With the wooden laths drill a nail near the bottom of the lath to hold the clocks, this should not be screwed all the way but have a little out to attach the clocks. Then drill another hole that is a bit bigger than the circumference of the dowel at the top to slide them on. The holes should be near the top and be the same in all the other laths. Once they are all put through the dowel, space them out at every 7 inches then attache a zip tie or a sturdy clamp on either side of the lath to hold it in place.


For the handle, we placed 2 smaller PVC pipes together with a connector piece that has a third hole to attach to the main middle PVC pipe. When turned this should allow the middle PVC pipe to also turn in circles. This will lay a base for adding the different short pieces of the laths to stagger the pendulum.


The pencils will be a base to place the smaller pieces of wooden laths on top of, to hit the bottom wooden laths. Measure the pencil to the main middle PVC pipe so that it hits the bottom wooden laths then getting a hand saw cut the pencil into the size you want.

Drilling Holes

To create the have the different period effect, we drilled a hole to fit the pencils and hit the wooden laths at a certain point. After the first hole, you want to drill the second hole by spinning the middle PVC pipe a little and lining it to the second wooden lath. Continued this process to the rest of the wooden laths. And attach the pencils into the holes. Drilling in the smaller wooden laths. Measure the wooden laths to the size of the pencil then cut it to the same size. Then cut the pieces with a hand saw, after that simply drill a nail connecting it to the middle PVC pipe


After everything is put into place you can turn the hand crank and watch the wooden laths move like a pendulum.


Put in batteries to each of the wall clocks and adjust the time to the right time zone. Then attach the clocks to the nail at the bottom of the wooden laths, so it should be hanging. I would recommend placing some tape at the back of the clocks as backup to prevent them from falling off.

Ta Da!

Everything should be done, It isn't the best pendulum but it was fun making it for my AP physics project. You can always add your own touches and make things more sturdy and professional.