Three Part Clock




Introduction: Three Part Clock

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

A normal analog clock is an efficient way of piling three different bits of information on top of each other. The hours, minutes, and seconds can all be read with just one dial.

I like this system, but after a while I thought that each hand should get its own space. So for this I made the three part clock. Each hand has its own dial and reading the clock is just a matter of moving from left to right.

Step 1: Get Clock Parts

You can order clock movements and hands fairly cheaply online or, if you have an Ikea store nearby, you can buy three clocks for just $3 each.

Also needed, and not pictured, is a piece in which to put all the clocks. We had a scrap piece of wood 28"x10.5" so I just grabbed that. It's warped so this is just a prototype, but for a final version just get a better material and check the thickness so that the clock movements can stick through it.

Step 2: Mark Your Centers

The original clock faces were 7.5" wide so I planned to space them equally across the piece of wood and give a little extra margin on the left and right.

To prep for this, just find the right height and use your calculations from the last step to see how far left and right you need to mark the board.

Step 3: Drill!

Drill what? Drill the holes! On the dots!

Step 4: Glue in the Movements

A little bit of hot glue and the three movements are good and stuck to the board with their stems sticking out the front.

Step 5: Add the Hands

The first movement gets an hour hand. The second and third get the minute and second hands, respectively.

Below you can see the clock at 12:00, 3:30, and 10:08.

Step 6: Decorate the Clock

Add in the tick marks so it's easier to read the clock. These were done with two stencils. The same stencil was used for the minute and second hands.

Now add some varnish if you want or just put it up somewhere and wait for people to come by and try to see what it means.



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    73 Discussions

    you can build a very acurate clock with a GPS-Reciever, it's far better than a normal radio-controlled one.

    the right way to make the circuit.
    note: if u use a high wuality batts, its not necessary to use 3 batts

    1 reply

    This circuit is correct, but putting batteries in parallel is not good. They will self discarge through each other. You should only use one battery, but use a larger battery if necessary.

    This won't necessarily work, unfortunately. Depending on the circuits, you'll find they may only pass current when they are moving the motor and will not pass hardly anything at other times. hence the clocks will interact and not work properly. The correct way to do this is to wire the clocks in parallel to one battery. Connect all the clock positives together to the battery positive and all the clock negatives to the battery negative. This of course means any battery will only last a third of the time, but that's exactly the same as changing three batteries which last three times longer. The advantage is you don't get clocks failing indiscriminately. You could always use a bigger C or D type battery of course to compensate.

    I like this idea though, I wonder if it's possible to move the mechanisms around in order to get one mechanism driving three separated dials?

    2 replies

     do you have the stencils you used? or do you know where i could get some?

    That looks great, I love that you used wood! I agree with Kiteman, when the batteries start to lose the power each one will bet slower and they won't show the correct time... I looks like one of those boards that contain 3 scales, one that shows the moisture of the air, the other pressure and the third temperature, was that the inspiration for you? All in all a great project for the afternoon! I really love it and I think I am going to make one of these... rate:*****

    10 replies

    we got all this high tech in our clocks now, when have you ever seen ANY 2 clocks reading the same time

    I have. Probably wont surprise you that it was in Tokyo. I very carefully set my new digital watch to an atomic clock. A few weeks later I found myself in Tokyo and held my watch up against a clock on a train station. They were within a fraction of a second, which is as good as you can measure moving your eye between two clocks. I was impressed yet again with the Japanese way.

    hell yeah man, my grandmother sent me an atomic, solar powered casio watch from japan, and it is always on time. when i visited japan, every clock was the same as mine. :D i can sooo back you up on that.

    O.K. I would like to see someone post some kind of clock made with da kine clock parts that listens to WWV the atomic clock in Boulder, Co. Those clocks re-adjust themselves. They have a shortwave receiver in them. Lets see a 3 part clokc made with da kine!!!

    I asked you if you want to give me 1 000 000 000 ... and you said sure.... You can send the money directly to my home address... xD xD

    sure! send that along with your social security, credit card number, home and cell phone numbers, closest relatives full names and birth certificates, the closest relative that has a dog (yes, send them full, in express mail), your closest relative that owns a cat (them too), and your computer motherboard. just the motherboard. :D

    I don't think that is necessary for this transaction... I will just give you the address... :D