Upcycle Hubcaps Into Clocks




Introduction: Upcycle Hubcaps Into Clocks

About: Please note, some of my Instructables may contain affiliate links.

So why bother spending time to upcycle rusty old hubcaps from some vintage of 1960's Chevy truck? Hopefully the pictures in this instructable answer that question. I'm pretty happy with how the clocks turned out.

What inspired me? Well, I ended up with a bunch of random Chevy and Ford car parts when I helped clean out my Grandmother-in-law's garage. Some worth saving, some a bit past their prime. Couple that with the fact I have a really boring clock in my shop. Like it's so boring I don't even remember how it came to be part of my household... plus the fact I like taking things apart... and voila - Chevrolet hubcap clock.

Clocks made from hubcaps have been done before. But the ones I found while internetting were nice clean examples. I didn't find any crunchy, vintage type hubcap clocks with character and rust like we have here in this instructable.

Read on to see what happens when idle hands, power tools and random parts collide!

Update: Clock three is complete! New picture added with all three clocks!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials:

  1. Clock mechanism (or donor clock).
  2. Hubcap.
  3. Drill.
  4. Drill bit and Unibit.
  5. Cleaning supplies.
  6. Clear coat spray paint.
  7. Spray paint colors of your choice (if you want to paint the clock hands).
  8. Painters tape.
  9. Pencil.
  10. Ruler.
  11. Wrench (vice grips work too...).
  12. Hammer (come one, really, what project would be complete without a hammer?!).
  13. Center punch (or other pointy thing if your center punch has gone missing...).

You can get by with less, but this is what I used to make these hubcap clocks.

Thirteen tools and materials! It must be close to Halloween!

Step 2: Gut Old Boring Clock.

It was tempting to sawzall the clock mechanism out of my existing shop clock... but in the end I opted to just take it apart and salvage the parts I was after.

  1. Remove the glass retaining bezel.
  2. Remove the glass.
  3. Remove the clock hands.
  4. Remove the nut holding the clock mechanism on.
  5. Save boring clock for some future project.

(Alternately you can just buy the clock parts... I did end up buying a couple sets to make clocks for friends who wanted clocks for their garages after seeing mine. I found a cheap set here that's working well so far: CLOCK MECHANISM

Step 3: Cleaning? (Optional)

This step is pretty self explanatory! Grab your favorite cleaning solution. 40/60 Simple green to water worked well for me.

I ended up making three hubcap clocks. Two I cleaned up, one I left dented and just as dirty as I found it. I think the dirty one turned out the coolest looking, that's why this step is listed as optional.

Step 4: Using Power Tools!

We need to drill a hole for the clock mechanism to poke through.

I wanted the hole to be in the center of the Chevy emblem.

  1. Lay down a piece of painters tape over the area that will be worked on.
  2. Get your reference point. To do this I pushed the tape into the recess around the emblem.
  3. Mark where you want to drill. I found center by drawing an X inside the Chevy emblem.
  4. Support the back of the hubcap and center punch where you're going to drill.
  5. Get a drill bit slightly larger than the clock mechanism center section and get 'er done!
    • Tip - Using a Unibit to slightly chamfer the hole eliminates the need to debur the hole by hand.
      • Tip2 - Instead of just removing the painters tape, roll up the tape to capture the metal shavings.

Step 5: Making It Pretty.

Safety third! Be sure to paint in a well ventilated area.

To seal the hubcap I painted the front and back with three coats of enamel clear coat. We don't want the rust rubbing off on whatever it gets mounted too.

There's lots of opinions on the best way to preserve "patina" or rusty finishes. I chose enamel clear because I wanted a glossy finish that was easy to apply and would do OK in a garage/shop environment.

Optional: Painting the clock hands isn't required, but I think it added a nice touch to the project.

Step 6: The Home Stretch!

Once the paint is dry we can finish assembling the clock

(Pictured here is a hubcap I painted earlier, the one pictured in the previous step is drying right now).

  1. Slide the clock mechanism through the hole from the back of the hubcap.
  2. Tighten the nut down on the front to secure the clock mechanism.
  3. Carefully install the clock hands.
    • Make sure the clock hands are straight and don't hit each other when rotated.
  4. Using the wheel on the back, rotate the hands to the correct time.
  5. Insert the AA battery.
  6. Done!

Step 7: V2.0?

What's next?! - If I had an Epilog laser cutter I would have engraved the hours onto the face of my hubcap clock. I'm undecided if I'd engrave the numbers as roman numerals or just normal numbers though.

V2.0.1 - Sans Laser, I'm working on adding an Arduino to the clock to turn it into a sort of manly cuckoo clock that plays an engine revving to mark the number of hours instead of a bird chirping.

What's after V2.0? - Not sure yet, LED's? Everyone likes underglow right... I'd love to hear some more ideas in the comments!

Thanks for reading! If you liked this Instructable I would really appreciate it if you'd throw me a vote for the Time and/or Epilog contests!

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    4 years ago

    I like the idea of the engine sounds for the clock. Great idea!