Intro: Laser Cut Analog Clock
Inspired by the giant clock in the Crocker Galleria in San Francisco, I set out to create an 18" version for hanging at home. I loved the look of the Roman numerals, and the idea of combining an analog clock with the technology of lasers! I cut the all pieces on an Epilog laser cutter, but you can use the free files I included for you to make your own using whatever method you prefer. I made it at TechShop!
I know zero about proper clock making, but I happen to have an awesome Epilog laser cutter at my disposal, so I figured I could come up with some sort of plan that would be acceptable. Using acrylic, wood, and a pre-assembled clock mechanism, I set about to make my own laser cut mini-Crocker clock!
I spent a couple of days bumbling about in Adobe Illustrator to create the file. I created a separate layer for each of the different parts that would need to be cut. (Of course, then I discovered that our laser cutters use Corel, so then I spent an afternoon figuring out how to import all of my layers into that program.)
I didn't document my file-creation process because it would make no sense and just anger you that I would rather doodle around and make a mess instead of actually learning how to use the program correctly. To sum it up, I drew a bunch of circles, and then some lines. Then I merged the lines and circles that made up the numbers ring into one piece. Make sense? Right. Turns out all those little hash mark in the outer part of the number ring are supposed to correspond to minutes. Yeah, mine don't. Not exactly. But, I did include the final file I made, so you can tweak it to your heart's content!
I cut one large white circle of acrylic to make the base, with a hole in the center for the clock mechanism. Then I cut circles of black acrylic and wood to make the rings.
I adhered the layers of acrylic to each other with Weld-On 3. You have to be super quick about pressing the pieces together after applying the solvent, so work in small batches.
I adhered the wood rings to the acrylic with contact cement. As always with contact cement, I applied a thin layer to each surface and let them dry before pressing them together in place.
The clock mechanism was easy to install. I ordered a high-torque quartz movement and extra large hands to accommodate the size of the clock. The hands could also be designed and cut on the laser cutter for optimal customization.
All I forgot was a secure way to mount the clock to the wall! So for now, it rests on a shelf, looking darn sexy in its own right.