Time Goes Round and Round in a Bottle




Clock in a soft drink bottle

This is a project done a couple of years ago. Much earlier than another posted project from me, Keylendar . I submit this for the Clock Contest. Pls gimme a vote if you like it. Thx!

- unwanted Compact Discs x2
- 2L soda bottles x3
  (of different brands, if those bottles are from different manufacturer, size may varies a little.)
- clock movement x1
- clock hands x2
- 120gsm+ paper for printing
- Cardboard

- scissors
- cutter
- glue
- adhesive tape

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Step 1: Shape the Bottles

Cut the top part of the 3 bottles, leaving maximum of the straight part with the bottom. 

Step 2: Inner Tube

Compare the 3 bottles. Choose the smallest as the inner tube. Remove the curved bottom leaving only the straight part. Shape it into height of 90mm. Draw a red line (or whatever color you want) with a permanent marker. This will be the current time indicator.

Step 3: Shape the CDs

Shape 2 unwanted CDs into a diameter of about 110mm – 115mm. See how big your bottle is, just make it fit in the outer bottle but larger in diameter than the middle cylinder and  inner tube.

Step 4: Base Disc

Place one of the CDs into the biggest bottle. Let it rest above the curved bottom. It’s the base disc.

Step 5: Shape Outer Bottle

Place the inner tube on the base disc. Mark the top line of the tube on the biggest bottle. Trim the biggest bottle along the marked line. It will be the outer bottle.

Step 6: Shape Middle Bottle

Trim the last bottle with height 10mm higher than the outer bottle. It will be the middle bottle.

Step 7: Thickness of Clock Movement

Measure the thickness of the clock movement. Then make a small box and fix beneath it to increase its thickness to 45mm. Leaving the cell open to access for easy replacement.

Step 8: Compartment for the Clock Movement

Build compartment for the clock movement with cardboard. Fix it on the base disc. Make sure it’s in the center of the CD. And also check the surface of the clock movement is 45mm above the base disc.

Step 9: Hand Cylinders

Download the attached pdf file. Print out the hand discs and number strips. Fold and glue the strips and discs into two cylinders. They will be the hands of the clock showing the time. Beware that the hand disc should be glue to the RIGHT of the HOUR numbers and Left of the MINUTE numbers respectively. Don’t mix them up.

Step 10: Stick the Hands to Hand Cylinders

Stick the hands onto the discs. Again, don’t mix them up! Short hand for hours (You should know it!!) inside the cylinder while the long hand outside the minute cylinder. The center of the hand holes should be aligned with the X signs on the discs respectively. When the hands are fixed, gently poke a hole on the X sign.

Step 11: Assemble the Contents

Place the clock movement in its compartment. Attach the hand cylinders to the clock movement.

Step 12: Put Contents in Case

Place all the parts on the base disc inside outer bottle.
Adjust the time by directly moving the minute cylinder.
Place the inner tube in the outer bottle, rest it on the base disc. Rotate it until the red line indicates the current time.
Place the other CD on top of the inner tube. It will rest there as the top disc to cover up all the parts inside.
Place the middle bottle in between the inner tube and outer bottle. Let it rest on the base disc, too.

Step 13: Finished!!

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    14 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You could have as many time zones shown on the same clock as you want. Love it!

    Nice idea! I have a question though. Theoretically, how do I ensure that the print-outs would be in-sync with the clock itself? I haven't started the project yet, but this question has really tortured my brain when I think about it. lol!

    1 reply

    Step10 - Stick the printout cylinders on the original hands of the clock with adhesive tape. Then step11 - Attach the hands back to the clock movement. So the clock work as usual when the hands move. And they move the printout cylinders, too! In this point you cannot makes the cylinders with heavy or thick materials, paper is a perfect choice!


    7 years ago on Step 13

    Good idea and very well documented.
    I like it :-)


    7 years ago on Step 3

    "Shape" the CD's? How does one go about doing that? With a saw? With a grinder? ????

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    Sorry I missed this point. You can use a hot-wire cutter to do the job.
    pic: http://imgs.poksi.com.mo/big/15120.jpg
    I got some very crappy CDs that can easily snap into two layers when bend. then I shape then by scissors!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    That's really cool.

    You could make something similar in a glass bottle (complete, not with the bottom of another bottle on top), and sell it to a pub or restaurant as a themed clock!.

    4 replies
    KitemanThe Ideanator

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    A row of three wine-bottles on a wooden plinth, showing hours, minutes and second.

    To sell it to a pub, make it programmable to start flashing between "last" and "orders" at the right time...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, you inspired me to make one using a peanut butter jar. The design have to open up the cross-section or the clock movement cannot get through.