Working Mini Grandfather Clock Desktop/Sylvanian (3D Printed Tinkercad Project)




Introduction: Working Mini Grandfather Clock Desktop/Sylvanian (3D Printed Tinkercad Project)

Before we get started I just want to explain what I mean by 'working' as I couldn't really get into details in the title!! When I say this is working, I mean it keeps time - the pendulum doesn't move and it won't chime (unless you manage to find a watch that chimes)!

I find it really frustrating when I find a printing project I like and it turns out it's only 80% printed and you need nuts and bolts and hinges and all manner of tools to make it so I try to make my projects easy to print and make sure they use as few extra bits of hardware as possible so they're nice and accessible to hobby printers like myself!

In that vein, there is also a 'not working' version of this clock which is 100% 3D printed for anyone who doesn't want to be buying extra bits but I had a cheap old watch lying around anyway so I thought, why not make use of it?!

This clock was designed from scratch in Tinkercad and stands at about 30 x 40 x 100mm and is just right for Sylvanian Families/Calico Critters but would make an adorable desktop clock too!. They do use standard doll's house scale for the branded furniture I think buuut they're not always to scale with their furniture and this was built around the figures so you may need to make a few adjustments if you're printing for a doll's house or diorama etc. but we'll get into that later!


If you want it to tick:

  • Watch - This watch on Amazon is identical to the one I cannibalised for my project - there are similar ones available cheaper on eBay too if you can wait a few days for delivery!
    Whatever you use, the clock model itself has space for something at most 28mm across by 28mm tall so if you're not confident altering the model, try to ensure the watch case is no larger than that.
  • Dremel/Sandpaper/File (something to remove the fastenings from the watch case)

If you want to print the clock face:

Step 1: Prepare Your Watch

If you're printing the clock face rather than using a watch, you can skip this step and I'll see you in the next one! :)

If you're using a watch like I am then we need to get it looking less like a watch and more like a clock face!

I used a Dremel for this step just as I have one and it's much quicker than hand sanding but if you don't have access to a Dremel, you can use a file or sandpaper instead - I'd recommend picking a watch that doesn't need much altering if that's your plan though, sanding can take some time so you may as well save yourself some work by picking a watch that needs as little modification as possible!

  • First, remove the watch strap - how you do this will vary watch to watch but mine was just held on with some little rings so I just removed those as shown!
  • Now we need to make sure the watch will fit onto the mounting block we're going to print - I printed mine first to show you what I mean!
  • If, like mine, your watch case hassome ornamental extras that make it a bit too big/oddly shaped for the project, you'll need to remove these - I used my Dremel to grind these parts down but you may be able to just cut them away with snippers or sand them down!

If you can't cut yours down to fit but are comfortable altering the model, the Tinkercad project is linked in the next step for precisely that reason!

Once your clock face is ready, you're ready to move on to the next step!

Step 2: Customise Your Clock

As mentioned in the last step, the main reason I'm adding this step in is because I imagine it's quite likely some of you guys might need to alter the model a little. Whether you're using a different sized watch to me or you want to print this at a slightly different scale or even if you just want to add your own flair to the design, I just wanted to make sure I gave you a link to the Tinkercad project so you can play around with it and make any changes you want to make!

In the Tinkercad project, you'll find 2 copies of the clock

The dark brown clock has a circle cut out that will fit the printed clock face I designed already but feel free to make any changes you like before jumping ahead to the next step if that's the route you're taking :)

The light brown clock has a square cut out of it and a separate square block which we'll use to mount your clock face onto which should accommodate most watch faces similar to the one I used but again, feel free to make any changes you want/need to make before moving on to the next step!

If you wanted, you could try to emulate your clock face's shape in Tinkercad and make a cut-out similar to what I did for the printed clock face so it just slots straight into the clock but as we're all probably using different watches, I just went with the square mount as it was the simplest print that would work for the most use cases!
- Using a mount also enables you to slide it out and change the time when daylight savings comes about!

Once you've made any changes you needed to make, you're ready to start printing!!

Step 3: Print!

What you need to print will vary a little depending on whether you're using a watch or not!

If you're printing your clock face you will need to print:

  • 1 clock (printed clock face)
  • 1 door
  • 1 clock face
  • 1 pendulum

If you're using a watch as the clock face you'll need to print:

  • 1 clock (watch)
  • 1 watch mount
  • 1 door
  • 1 pendulum

Printing Tips:

If you've looked at any of my other instructables you'll know I'm not about to tell you what settings to use etc. - I think that's a dangerous practice when we're all using different machines, materials, slicers etc. and I don't fancy being responsible for any damage to your printers :(

I'll always give some general guidance relating to the specific model though:

  • Firstly, you should be able to print all parts of this model with no supports if you just lay them on their backs when slicing - this is something I strive for in all of my designs because I hate the plastic waste and the imperfections they leave!
  • If you have any trouble with the pendulum not sticking to the bed due to its small footprint, I first suggest cleaning and levelling the bed but if you continue to have problems you can either add a brim or raft or, as a last resort, consider jumping into the Tinkercad project I linked earlier, grouping it with the clock, printing as one object and painting it afterwards!
  • If you're making this for a young child, consider printing in PETg and using at least 20% infill so it's more robust and can be cleaned properly with hot water.
  • To achieve the black on white effect for the clock face you'll need to do a filament change when the numbers start printing, check out this tutorial if you haven't done that before!

Once you have all your printed parts we can start assembling!

Step 4: Assembly! 1/2

Great, you have all of your pieces, now it's time to put them together!

First, we'll insert the pendulum:

  • Nice and easy, just pop a small amount of glue on the back of the pendulum and place it inside the clock!

I used tweezers so I wouldn't get glue on myself and a cotton bud to clean up any excess glue!

Next, we'll add the door:
To avoid using extra hardware and to keep the print simple, we'll use filament for the hinge! There's a picture above showing your piece of filament in yellow with the clock transparent so you can see where it needs to go and there's also a pic of the end result :)

  • Take your filament and pass it through the hole in the bottom of your clock
    If the filament won't pass through easily, consider using a hand drill like this to clean up the holes.
  • Next, pass it all the way through your door
  • Finally, push the filament through/into the holeinthetop of the clock
  • Trim any excess filament
  • If the filament feels very loose or you just want things extra secure, you may want to just pop a drop of glue in the holes in the clockto secure the filament but be careful not to glue the door in place!

Step 5: Assembly! 2/2

Finally, let's add your clock face:

If using the printed clock face:

  • Place some glue on the back of your clock face
  • Insert the clock face into the hollow in the front of your clock - make sure you get it the right way up!!

If using a watch:

  • Dab some glue onto the back of your watch case - you might consider using something less permanent like tape if you want to be sure you can remove it to replace batteries etc.
  • Place the watch onto the mount and centre it as best you can
  • Once the glue is dry, slot the mount into place in the clock, it should be a nice, snug fit!
    • You can glue the mount in placeif you like, but the idea behind the mount was that you can remove it to correct the time etc. when you need to so I haven't glued mine.

That's it! You should have a fully built clock at this point!

Step 6: Have Fun!

I hope you enjoyed reading/following this instructable :)

If you do have a go at making this, I'd love it if you shared your make with me if you're comfortable doing that - especially if you made any changes to the design! I'm really interested to see what you all come up with and what you do with the model once you've made it!

You may have spotted a few other printed bits in some of the pictures - if you're interested, I shared both the STLs and design process for the dining table, chairs and dishes in my dining set instructable and all of the kitchen pieces and assembly instructions are available here too.

Also, if you want a breakdown of how I actually designedthe clock, let me know in the comments and I'll start writing it up as its own instructable!

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    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    4 weeks ago

    Really nice job using Tinkercad for this! The watch looks great in it :)