Salvaging: an Old Wall Clock

Introduction: Salvaging: an Old Wall Clock

About: Hi, my name's Travis and I'm 13. I live in Canada and like to build stuff, take stuff apart, and grow food.

We live in a throw away society. Who it was that first noticed this, I don't know, but I dislike throwing things away.

So what will we salvage today? How about a clock?

I had a funny spongebob one that my grandma had gotten me for Christmas last year, but unfortunately, it had no alarm, so I couldn't use it for much. Plus, the ticking of my alarm clock and the wall clock was getting annoying, so today I finally put the poor thing on it's deathbed.

If you are interested in learning how I did it and what I salvaged, read on.

Step 1: Specs

I'm not going to need an equipment list. All you need is a screw driver and the clock itself.

Now, the specific details on the clock I'm taking apart:

- The casing was entirely plastic
- There was only one (1) screw
- The lens was plastic

These have been the specs for nearly every clock I've ever taken apart. I have never attempted one with a glass lens or wooden casing, and I really don't recommend trying it.

Step 2: The Outer Backing

Alright, so I'm assuming you have a screw driver right now and that you're ready and waiting with a clock.

It doesn't matter how big or small it is, but a glass lens is a big NO.

So, with the clock I disassembled at least, there was a backing which contained a single screw. You might not have one, depending on your clock.

Take the screw (Or screws) out of the back. Basically, go for any screws that you can find, and put them in your parts bin, toolkit, anything you like really, but save those screws!

Step 3: The Gearbox

Now it's time to go for the gears. Unfortunately, the people who design these things make them so easily breakable, yet nearly impenetrable to getting inside of the gears of the clock without breaking it. (Basically to prevent people from trying to fix it themselves) But that's okay, the gearbox and outer backing are both recyclable, so you don't really need to worry about how beat up they get.

Well this next part took a long time. I'd estimate about half an hour,of doing a lot of different things to get the gearbox open. I finally did pry it open, but unfortunately, I couldn't take pictures of this. However, I can show you the points that you will want to attempt to break to get the box free.

Before you start stabbing your screwdriver into the box, remove the battery. It's doubtable that you'll kill yourself if you don't, but it could prove to be an annoyance.

Note: Don't try to use dremels or penknives or anything of that sort, because you WILL stab some of the gears inside, and you also will likely ended up cutting your hand a bit. Penknives are especially a bad idea because the blades are thin enough that they can break (And believe me, they're designed to)

Step 4: Gears!

Oh this is definitely the best part, because it's so easy and you get a bunch of stuff for your parts box! (Oh err yeah and you're helping the environment) So crack open that gearbox and start taking it apart!

Below are some photos of the things you'll likely find inside the box.

Step 5: The Lens

This is the last step. The lens isn't hard to get out, but it may take a bit of prying.I didn't take any pictures of getting the lens out, but there should be two tabs on opposite sides of each other.

Just push at the tab with a screw driver until it comes out, then do the same thing on the other tab. You'll be left with a top of the line lens!

(Don't worry about breaking the tabs or anything. It's really hard to break the lens from the back, and a few scratches probably won't make that much of a difference)

Step 6: The End

Well there you have it, you now know how to salvage a wall clock!

If you have any questions, you can leave them here or give me a private message.



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    18 Discussions


    I use the lens for drying out wet tea leaves which I use for fertilizer. The gears I have yet to find a use for, but since nearly all clocks contain the same shapes and sizes of gears they are relatively easy to make something out of mixed parts. The copper I am planning to amass and sell.

    I see that you actually unwound the copper - keeping that unit together would have been a good idea (electromagnet, solenoid, relay) L

    Ehh not really. It's hard to find anyone who would want to buy a piece of a clock. Also considering that copper prices are shooting up I figured it would just be better to save that.

    Heh... That might be interesting, but I'm more for taking apart broken stuff rather than making it into something. I strip whatever it has that might be of value to other people and get rid of it. Another shameless plug: Soon I will be launching a store selling clock bits and other salvaged stuffs.

    This has a lot of potential, especially if you were to mod the clock rather then disassemble it completely. But at least you had uses for most of it. :-)

    lol dont take it personally. but this did help me take apart my old clock. but i was looking for metal gears and they were all plastic

    Haha, no I don't take it personally, I just thought it was ironic. If you're looking for metal gears, you can probably find them in older clocks (wooden generally, the ones that aren't cheap and are quite dangerous to take apart due to glass lenses). I'm starting a store soon, so if I find any I'll keep you postd.

    thanks. the one i took apart had a metal frame. (shaped just like yours. gearbox and all) and a glass lense. and the hands were shaped like a fork a knife and a spoon.

    "stabbing the box with screwdiver" sometimes i grab something and get angry and stab it while yelling: "DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!!!!!1!one"