Introduction: Twelve Bird Clock

About: Bearded, bespectacled British bloke, born in the best bit of Birmingham, he blithely beavered to become a Bachelor in electronics, before boxing his bespoke belongings and boarding his bike to brave the border…

A clock with roots that occasionally hoots. The time it can tell without even a bell. Ask it nicely and it will tell you precisely, but if no one’s around it won’t make a sound. A dozen on their perch won’t leave you in the lurch, the assembled dawn chorus will sing something forus. To make time a pleasure – a real treasure – not just something to measure.

To Tell The Time
Push the button

  1. 6 birds sing 6 o’clock
  2. 5 birds tweet twenty-five past

See if you can tell what time it is in the video.

A bird sings a solo when showing the minutes. There is a different song for each bird, goldfinch, blackbird, duck and so on. The particular song will also reveal the minutes - if you can identify what type of bird is singing. I have also given in to tradition and added a single "cuckoo" at the top of each hour, without the need for the button to be pressed.

Step 1: Making the Birds

For each bird, take one egg 45 x 30 mm, one 30 mm ball, one 15 mm ball with a hole, 13 x 10 mm wooden strip, 8 mm brass tube, small free-moving hinge, 2 mm plywood, 1.2 mm brass rod, 2 mm brass rod

Step 2: Make 12 Birds

Make 12 birds. Be careful drilling eggs, use pilot holes to prevent the drill slipping. Use a strong glue to fix the hinges but make sure they still move easily. The 1.2 mm brass rod is used to push the beak open until it reaches 45°(ish) and is restrained by the comb when the whole head will move up, exposing the brass neck.

Step 3: A Prototype Bird

Simple lever on the servo pushes/pulls the brass rod in this prototype. The slot for the brass rod is large enough to accommodate its sideways movement. There is a cross piece soldered to top of rod keep head straight(ish)

Each bird’s comb stops beak from opening too far. With the beak fully open, further movement of the rod stretches its neck.

Step 4: The Base

My base was quite compact. It would be easier to make it larger and space things out. I used twelve cheap (€6.59) and cheerful servos.

Step 5: The Electronics

Assemble the Music Maker, fit it onto the Arduino, wire up the PWM driver board and RTC. The Music Maker uses the SPI bus. The RTC and the servo driver both use the I2C bus. The default addresses are fine.

Step 6: The Arduino Software

I would put the Arduino software in here, but it gets completely mangled when I try. Here's a link to the software on Github, if you are interested

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