This instructable will outline the construction of a customised clock. Whilst this is specifically the construction of the clock featured on Sesame Street; the Pinball Number Counting animation, the general procedures are the same and the instructions are as generic as possible. The clock is inexpensive and an easy way to create something out of the ordinary.
The author is located in Australia, as with all my intructables all my locations are Australian and currency is Australian dollars.
Step 1: Design Choice
YouTube video of the segment (not uploaded by myself)
After watching it numerous times, the idea to make a real clock from the image popped into my head.
Step 2: Clock Design.
The clock design can be literally be anything.
However, there are a number of factors you should consider with the design:
Firstly, there is a restricting to what a printer can print. The maximum size for most printers is A3. Secondly, the lengths of clock hands affect the diameter of the clock. If a specific hand length is desired, most likely they will be harder to source and more expensive. The length of the long hand should be long enough that it is overlapping the numbers. The clock hands that was sourced was approximately 12cm (5"), and was only used do to being the most inexpensive clock.
Depends o what is chosen as the main material to make the clock from. In this example wood ( MDF ) was chosen. Other materials that may be used are cardboard, sheet metal or Perspex. If the outer shape is quite complex it may be difficult cutting the shape out on a specific type of material. This example's design had only straight line segments which made things easier, however, filing was still required. A square/rectangle clock would be the easiest to manufacture, but then they would look the most plain. A circular clock will look nicer, but it would be difficult to make exactly circular.
Note about clock hands
Clock hands are always layered in this order hour (short) hand at the back, minute (long) hand at the top, and if it does exist; the second hand is the most outer. This order was the opposite of what was desired and if you did pick up on the slight difference in clock hands' shape it was due to this.
The design implies what program should be used. If your clock features photos, then Adobe Photoshop is fine. Being based on an animation vectors;which scale very nicely, were required hence, Adobe Illustrator was used.
Both the Adobe Illustrator file (Vintage Sesame Street - Pinball Counting.ai) and Adobe Acrobat file (Vintage Sesame Street - Pinball Counting.pdf) is attached. The PDF was printed on an A3 with a colour laser printer.
Step 3: Equipment
Mechanical clock movement
The mechanical clock movement is the part of the clock that keeps the time. Whilst these can be purchases from speciality stores, it is easier and cheaper to remove this from an old cheap clock. The clock was purchased from the local discount department store for $7.
Removal of the clock movement from the face is very straight forward. The hands are simple pulled away from the face. The clock movement is usually held in by plastic clips at the back.
- Wood - any scrap can be used, as long as one side is nice and flat.
- Sheet metal - this can be substituted for thin wood, Perspex, or anything else flat and strong. * This example used galvanised steel.
- Filler - Car body filler was used, but this can be substituted for glues.
- Adhesives - two where used in this example but only one is really needed. Spray contact adhesive was used to stick the print out to the wood, and epoxy was used to attach the clock mechanism and hands.
- Paints - Black, (primer) white and clear. Black was used for the edges, with the clear used as a finishing coat.
- Picture hanging kit - this consists of wire with some screws to.
The tools used were all standard items found around a workshop, listed are what was used to make this clock. However, they are not all needed.
- Scissors - cutting out the clock.
- Tin snips - if you chose to use sheet metal, else scissors are fine.
- Jigsaw - cuts the initial clock pattern.
- Files/sand paper - tiding up your work.
- Markers - definitely needed to mark before you cut.
- Drill bits and electric drill - a number of holes you will need to drill.
- Screwdrivers - needed to attach the picture hanging wire.
The following items were specifically bought for this project (all items purchased from Bunnings):
- Wire picture $2.47
- 3M picture hanger $4.86
- Selleys Kwikgrip 50ml $6.40
- Adhesive spay bond 350g $13.34
- All in one primer 1L oil based $21
Step 4: Construction - Cutting the Basic Shape.
Start by affixing a copy of the printed clock face on to the wood, masking tape was used. Begin jig-sawing the shape, making sure to stay outside the lines. Cutting on the outside of the lines allows for precise filing however, this doesn't work the other way.
With the basic shape cut, affix another copy of the printed clock face that has been cut out. This will give good practice on using the spray adhesive. The edges can then be filed.
Step 5: Construction - Hollowing the Interior.
After cutting the basic shape, it was realised that the clock mechanism wasn't designed to be mounted behind such thick wood (approximately half an inch thick), but rather designed for more thin material. The only way to mount the mechanism was if a thinner section existing in the centre.
There are a number of methods that can be used to achieve this, and it is advisable to use the method that is the easiest. If access is available to routers; use them, as this is by far the easiest method. However, I did not; so the next steps will outline an alternative method to achieve the same effect.
The idea is to make the interior section out of sheet metal, thin wood or plastic. The problem is the method to achieve this. The method used was to glue a circular piece of sheet metal into the bevel formed by slightly routing edges of the wood (the routing was all done with a hand router). Car body filler was used to fill any imperfections and make it all nice and smooth as though it were the one single piece. The reason for choosing a circle was that this was a feature of the clock face and could be easily hidden behind the printed clock face graphic if any imperfections arise.
Step 6: Construction - Painting and Applying the Printed Graphic.
Once the shape is prepared and finished the presentation can be worked on.
The edges need to be painted to match the clock design. If the wood is a fairly dark colour but the design is bright then the wood needs to painted white or a lighter colour.
A wood primer was used first (this is the white coat seen in the pictures) then followed by a black coat on the edges as this matched the outlines of the design.
To stick the printed paper to the wood, first cut it out. Practice placing the paper onto the wood trying to get the alignment as accurate as possible. Once ready, spray contact adhesive onto the back of both surfaces, wait till it becomes tacky and then apply the surfaces together. Use a rag to press the paper making sure there are no bubbles or creases.
Once dry, a final clear coat can be applied if desired.
Step 7: Construction: Hands and Wall Hanger.
The clock hands are quite straight forward. After being printed out the hands were glued to very thin aluminium with the contact spray adhesive. Cardboard or plastic could easily be substituted; it does however need to be light weight. The aluminium was thin enough to be cut out with scissors once the glue dried.
Prepare the original plastic clock hands by sanding the outer sides flat. Now it is simply a matter of gluing the hands to the aluminium with epoxy. Make sure they are in the centre. The little hand (being below the long hand) will need to be drilled; the existing hole can be used as a guideline.
Wire wall hanger
To hang the clock, a simple wire hanger was created with picture hanging wire and screws. The make the screws flush, the holes may be counter sunk. A 3M 2kg hook was used on the wall.
Step 8: Final Completed Pictures.
Final pictures of the clock hanging on my wall.