Intro: Vinyl Record Guitar Clock
Turn an old LP into a guitar clock. Using typical non professional tools.
With this project we involved the entire family! Took our time and had some fun planning designing and completing.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Clock Parts: (we purchased battery operated parts however you could remove the motor and arms from an old battery operated clock)
Vinyl Record: of your choice, however pick up a couple spares. We used one for practice cutting, this allowed me to understand the speed and pressure the vinyl could take without chunking or cracking.
Guitar Picks and Copper Wire: Optional, however it greatly improves reading the time.
Drill with 5/16 bit: adjust bit size according to the centre mount pin on your clock motor.
Jigsaw with Blade for Wood: used a clean cut wood blade with medium tooth spacing easier for control around corners, slow and steady wins the race here!
Work Bench with Towels: used a workbench that allowed for variable spacing between planks. Taped towels to bench planks to prevent scratching of the vinyl
Sand Paper: both 400 and 800 grit was used
Low Heat Glue Gun and Glue: This is important should you choose to mount guitar picks outside the reach of the vinyl for the purpose of time markers.
Computer and Printer: Locate a template and print it to expand to use as much of the paper as much as your printer will allow, without cutting edges off. Found plenty to choose from in a simple image search
Wax Crayon: We used a fat clear wax crayon designed for large marking
Cleaner and Lint free towels: We used an all purpose plastic and glass cleaner and shop towels.
Elbow Grease: Enlisted entire family to assist with steadying record to prevent vibration and sanding edges.
Step 2: Template Print, Cut and Outline
1. Prep your work table first by taping clean shop towels to your bench planks.
2. Find a guitar template on your favourite search engine.
3. Print it out reducing the margins as much as your printer will allow so that you can make as much use of the record surface as possible, we used US letter size for the template.
4. Cut the template out as careful as you can, the smoother the template edges are the better your vinyl cut will be.
5. Place the template on the record positioning it on the BACK side (this will be the side you will face against the wall) in an orientation that will give your guitar a straight label and an angle on the wall that you find pleasing. take your time getting this right, once you start cutting there's very little you can do, to correct.
6. With an assistant or possibly you could tape the template to keep it still and in position. Then use the wax crayon and liberally colour the edges overlapping the template and the record.
7. Once you are pleased with the coverage of your outline remove the template from the vinyl record.
Step 3: Cutting Out Vinyl Guitar
1. Practice cutting on one of the spare records you picked up. This will be invaluable in helping you understand the speed and pressure required for the cleanest cut.
2. Careful and slow cutting with an assistant to help steady the vibrations. Set the Jigsaw at a medium speed, pushing forward a small fraction at a time. Too fast and you will rip out chunks and cause cracking of the vinyl.
*Warning* This is also why you have drawn the outline of your template on the BACK side of your clock. You did draw the outline on the back right? The Jigsaw will mark the vinyl during cutting.
Step 4: Sanding and Cleaning
1. After demonstrating the desired pressure and how to sand, we handed most of this process off to our two children. Each of us took turns first with the 400 grit until all the rough and sharp corners were brought in line with the envisioned shape. Then with the 800 grit until the record edges were smooth enough to rub your bare finger along it.
2. Using a foam plastic and glass cleaner to polish up the Face of the record.
The goal here is to be gentle and to avoid marking the FRONT of the record (Clock Face) take your time and the results will speak for itself.
Step 5: Add Copper Arms With Guitar Picks and Clock Parts
1. Mount the clock to the record attaching only the shaft bolt to hold it in the correct orientation. Leave the hands off for now, you'll add them later so as to not cause bending of the arms.
2. Using a low heat glue gun we aligned a thick copper wire of equal lengths at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions for the purpose of easier reading of the time, they extend out from the plastic body of the clock shell. The glue can warp the vinyl so I advise that you take your time to not heat up one area of the vinyl too much at once. Leave an inch or so near the edge of the vinyl without glue so that you can make adjustments to the positions.
3. glue the guitar picks at the end of the copper wires, in keeping with the theme the picks added a useful purpose.
4. Finally attach the clock hands, rotate the clock setting to stop at each marked position 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock to make any final small adjustments to the position of the copper wires, by slightly bending them out of view behind the vinyl.
5. Mount your clock and enjoy!