Texas Clock

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4

2

Introduction: Texas Clock

I manufactured a Texas Shaped Clock with a CNC along with an engraved Bluebonnet. The colors of the Texas Flag represent the numbers on the clock.

Supplies:

  • Inventor
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Engraving Machine
  • Universal Laser Systems Control Panel (CPU Program)
  • ShopBot Desktop MAX with Aluminum Deck 36” x 24” - $14,950
  • ShopBot Control Software
  • Exhaust
  • Computer
  • Safety Glasses
  • Vacuum
  • 2 pieces of 23” x 32” x ¾” Plywood (Pine Plywood Panel)
  • Scrap wooden blocks and Adhesive for DIY Sanding Blocks
  • P150 Multiisand – Sanding paper
  • Wood Glue
  • 3 Clamps
  • Professional Blue Painters Tape Blue Adhesive Tape
  • Art ‘N Glow Resin and Hardener
  • Mica Powder Pure 50 in the colors: Blueberry, Wine, and Pearl
  • Cups
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Measuring Cup
  • Gloves
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Heat Gun
  • Clock Mechanism and Hands
  • Router
  • Drill

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Step 1: Research

I started off with researching and looking at clocks and I found one exactly like I wanted online and I wanted to recreate it.

Step 2: Outline

I made an outline of the shape of Texas on Inventor 2018 and I also made the clock notches so I could see what it could look like. I really liked how it turned out.

Tip: If you don't have Inventor 2018 like I do, you can use Adobe Illustrator for this. Again this wasn't necessary but I like to see how my projects will end up.

Step 3: Carving the Outline

After I had exported it so that it would be ready to be on the CNC. At school I used the Shopbot Desktop MAX with aluminum deck with the ShopBot control software. Before I started my program, I clamped in my 23 x 32 x ¾ piece of plywood. As I did this, I made sure that everything was exactly where I wanted. Within the program I made sure that I calibrated the machine so that it knew the height of the wood. Once I did this, I made sure that my cut out had tabs so the center pieces wouldn’t fly out. My file was all ready to print, I double checked everything, and so I turned on the CNC and the exhaust so I could start the process. The MakerBot started carving out the holes first and then the Texas outline. Sadly, the first time it didn’t work the bit was cutting on the outside and the file wasn’t correct, so it cut out extra pieces that I didn’t want to show. That meant I had to rerun and recut the wood. At the time I was very frustrated because I had to get some more wood to cut out. Then, once I ran it again, it turned out way better than I had thought, and I was so happy!

The next thing I had to do was cut the base of my clock. It is the same file as before but without the holes, just the Texas outline.

Step 4: Top and Bottom Piece

The next thing I had to do was cut the base of my clock. It is the same file as before but without the holes, just the Texas outline.

Step 5: Sanding and Gluing

After that was done, I sanded them with p150 Grit Multisander and a finer one also which made it all very smooth. Then I glued both of the Texas pieces together with wood glue and then I clamped both pieces together. Once I finished clamping, I used a wet rag to clean out the glue that came out once I clamped it.

Step 6: Engraving the Bluebonnet

The next step was to engrave my blue bonnet. The way I did this was by finding a picture online so I could make a vector out of it. The way I did this was by opening Adobe Illustrator. After I opened Adobe Illustrator, I placed the image on my artboard and made a vector out of it. The way you do this is you go to “Window” then go down to “Image Trace”, after this you click on “Preview so you can see the outlines and how it’ll turn out. Then click on the view that you like best, I went with simply “Outlines”, and then I unclicked “Preview” and clicked “Trace”. This helps a lot when you try to outline something, but we are not done. After I did that, I opened the “Object” tab then go down to “Image Trace” then “Expand”. This is what makes your final outline. Next, you can go to the layers and delete what you don’t need. The next steps are getting the design ready to engrave on the laser engraver. To get it ready to engrave on the engraver you have to be sure you’re your design so, once I am happy with my design I went to “File Print”. From there, I can go to page set up, set up my power and material on there and then press print twice. After this you’ll go to a program called Universal Laser Systems Control Panel, where your drawing should appear as you open the program up. Before you start anything, you need to measure the thickness of the board, I did this by using a caliper so that I was as precise as could be. Then I double, even triple checked, that my settings were under natural, wood, medium wood (drop down). I clicked on those then “Apply” then “Okay” and your engraving file should be all ready for engraving. Turn on your engraving machine and the exhaust. After all of that I placed my Texas outline on the engraver the way I wanted it and then press the green button (start) and wait for my clock to be engraved. Once I know I’m done engraving I took my piece out and turned off the engraving machine and the exhaust.

Step 7: Preparing for Resin Pour

My next steps are covering my piece with painter tape so that when I pour my resin it doesn’t ruin my piece. So, I covered the whole face where I would pour and then I cut out the holes with a x-acto knife.

Step 8: Resin Pour

I started off by reading the instructions of the resin and made sure I knew how to pour them because every gallon of resin may vary by company. So, I looked into that to make sure I mixed right so that they would set correctly. Instructions said when you mixed it was 1:1 ratio which was a bit weird to me but if it works, it works. I started off by gathering my supplies I needed; gloves, my resin and hardener, pigments, molds, popsicle sticks, and my heat gun. In one of the kits I brought came with a silicone measuring cup so that’s what I used instead or ruining a plastic school beaker. It was very convenient. I started by putting my gloves on, laying cardboard down on the floor, and opening the resin containers so I wouldn’t have a problem with them later in the process. I poured 100mL of the resin and the hardener which came out to a total of 200ml of the mixture, which was later enough to fill my holes. Next, I put it all in a plastic disposable cup so that I can put in the pigments and mix them with my popsicle sticks. The colors I chose were pearl, wine, and blueberry which represented the colors of the Texas flag. I waited 24 hours for the resin to set but it ended up leaking out one of the sides which was very unfortunate, so I had to re-pour the next day.

Step 9: Routing a Hole for the Clock Mechanism

So, the next thing I had to do was drill the outline, once I made my outline, I used the router to make a big enough indention to fit the clock mechanism. Next I drilled a hole so that the clock mechanism could go through and attach to the hands. But before I inserted the hands, I wanted to make sure that the clock was as smooth as possible.

Step 10: Overpoured Resin

One of my holes overfilled while I was pouring so it created complications and I had to use a chisel and a heat gun to remove the excess resin but by doing this I messed up the wood around it so as a result, I chip away parts I couldn’t sand.

Step 11: Stain

Towards completion, I decided to topcoat my clock with Danish oil so that it would eliminate the imperfections it already had.

Step 12: Final Product

Lastly, I pieced the mechanism and hands together and here is my final product.

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