Introduction: Turn Kids' Drawing Cat Clock Into Reality (with Swinging Tail)

About: I love to make people laugh, and to get achievement by making stuff which is often useless. I aim to combine both, that is, to get people work on something and be happy with it.

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There is a little friend called Ethan who come to our home and play very often and he is so in loved with painting. Right now he is five, as he come to our home, he will grab the pen and draw things out piece by piece. One day as I examine every pictures little Ethan draw, I saw this kitty clock. Looking at its cute facial expression I suddenly got a idea, if I turn the kitty clock he draw into a real clock, what's his reaction, and I am so curious to know, that's the beginning of the project.

我們家有個愛畫畫的小孩 - Ethan,今年五歲的他,每到我們家,就會拿起紙筆,一張一張的畫。有天我在翻閱小Ethan的作品時看到了這張他畫的貓咪時鐘,看著他逗趣的表情,我突然有一個想法,如果把 Ethan 畫的貓咪時鐘變成真正的時鐘,嘗試給他一點啟發,並看看他會有甚麼樣的反應,這就是這個微專案的開始。

Step 1: Prerequisite and Materials

- Ability to access laser cutter, find a makerspace nearby, and join them, most of people in the space are super friendly and willing to help, and for this cat clock, I made at BigbangLab.

- You need to have some experience with vector editing software tool like illustrator or Inkscape, etc. If not, using these kind of mini project as a means to sharpen your skill!


- acrylic sheet

- 2 mm, matte black (for edge, eyes, numbers, mouth...) 30 * 60 cm^2

- 2 mm, matte brown (for the color spot) 30 * 60 cm^2

- 2 mm, matte white (for body) 30 * 60 cm^2

- 2 mm, normal black (as backbone) 30 * 60 cm^2

matte version acrylic are more expensive than ordinary acrylic, but the matte version doesn't reflect light, which make it looks more paper like, and 1 mm acrylic are more expensive than 2 mm acrylic, and 3 mm are too thick, so that's the reason I choose these material, I think I can also try mosaic wood version in the future.

- glue ( I think any kind of super glue would work )

I bought MEK from chemical shop, however I am just too nervous to try this organic chemicals, so I choose super glue (the exact name forgot I will add it on later)

- heat gun ( I think any heat gun would work )

for bending acrylic

- clock movement module: SUN12888-S7

I bought it from online store , to have a swinging tail, I choose the one with swing mechanism, I think the tail is the spirit of this mini project.

Step 2: Scan the Drawing and Save It to Computer.

首先你需要把畫存入你的電腦 (這不是廢話!?),好的照片處理會省去很多麻煩,我是用手機的App - " 掃描全能王 " 來照相並進行轉換,你可以在App裡拉伸調整邊框來減少因為照相視角造成的形變,並且銳相片,我相信一定有很多其他的軟體可以做到同樣的事情。

First of all, you need to get a copy of the picture, and a little process of photo could made the process easier, I use " CamScanner " to take photo and using its build in function to reduce corner distortion, and to some contrast amplification. I think there is a lot of software could doing this, choose any of them you like, then upload the photo to computer.

Step 3: Extract Vectors From Image

現在,需要從照片中取出貓咪時鐘的圖案,我使用的是 inkscape,一個佛系開源向量圖編輯軟體,下載並開啟後,將相片導入inkscape (與左上方點選 File -> import),並且使用Bitmap工具 (於上方尋找 Path -> Trace Bitmap),以Brightness 為cut off,便可以擷取向量圖,然而,你需要花些時間清除不必要結點。

Now, I need to extract vectors from picture, the tools I use is Inkscape, a powerful yet open source vector editing software. import photos from Inkscape ( at top left, File -> import), then use Bitmap tools ( at top, search for Path -> Trace Bitmap...), and then using Brightness as cut off, adjust the threshold and get the vector, however, I need to spend some time to eliminate some unnecessary node, using node editing tools.

Step 4: Prepare File for Laser Cut

接下來,我需要把檔案按照他所需要呈現的色塊做分離,我選擇將所有大小色塊都黏在一個背板上,這個背板由2 mm 厚的壓克力板製成,另外所有數字、眼睛、邊框我也希望可以用雷切切下來再黏到背板上,使用2 mm 厚的霧面壓克力,白色與黃色花紋使用2mm 的白色與棕色霧面壓克力,啊對了,別忘了尾巴! 尾巴我在上方預留了一個可以用來彎成尾巴的區塊。

Next, I need to isolate each block according to color, and I decide to stick all the color block to a backbone - made by 2 mm acrylic, and all the numbers, eyes, and edges are laser cutted and attach to backbone with 2 mm black acrylic, and white and yellow 2 mm acrylic for other blocks, and don't forget the tail!

Step 5: Laser Cut and Glue Them All


there are so many small parts, some of them are so easy to fall underneath, I need to clean the laser cutter each time to avoid lost any tiny parts.

Step 6: Clock Movement Intallation

我在網路上買了一個含有搖擺機制的時鐘機芯,型號為SUN 12888,在網路上的說明他本身就是設計給4 mm 厚的鐘面使用。剛好適合整個板材黏起來的厚度。

I bought a clock gear online, it's SUN 12888 with swing mechanism, according online store's manual it's design for 4 mm thick clock.

Step 7: Prepare the Hook of the Tail


Using heatgun to heat the upper part of the acrylic tail, and bend it into a hook shape, so that it can attach on swing mechanism.

Step 8: Mount It on the Wall and Surprise My Little Friend


Finally, mounted on the wall give little Ethan a surprise, and my little friend are super excited as he saw it, and constantly compare his drawing ( on his hand) with the one I made, said: Really it is the same!

Step 9: Few Days Later...

在我做完時鐘以後立刻出國了一個星期,回到家以後我看到這張畫擺在我桌上,逆小家伙是甚麼意思逆,貪心喔 XDDD 有誰想嘗試看看嗎 ?

A after I made the clock, I immediately go out of country for one week, and after I came back, I saw this picture laying on my desk... a rabbit clock??? Little Ethan is just so greedy XDDDD... anyone interested in building one LOL

I will edit the video and then upload it here later, thanks guys!

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