Vinyl Record Wall Clock - Iron Man





Introduction: Vinyl Record Wall Clock - Iron Man

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Got some old vinyl record that's both losing its value and gathering dust? Don't worry, we're going to make it come to life again! This is what we'll need:

Supply list:

  • Vinyl record(s)
  • A suitable wall clock
  • Acrylic glass
  • Brass tube support sleeves
  • RGB LED-strip
  • LED controller
  • Shrinking tube
  • Quick drying epoxy
  • S-hook

Tools used:

  • Wood burning tool w/ scalpel tip
  • Hot glue
  • Nippers
  • Rotary sander
  • Scroll saw
  • Drill
  • Hole saw drill
  • File
  • Dremel
  • Blow torch

Step 1: Creating and Adjusting a Template

Full resolution of the template can be downloaded at the top.

We're using Photoshop to create a cutting template for the design. Not going to try and freehand this. As a regular LP vinyl record is 30 cm, we have to adjust the height before printing. We're going to flip the design as well, because the tool we'll use to cut it out will make some of the paper melt and stick to the vinyl. If we flip it first, we don't have to clean up the edges as much, and we can just flip it back and have a nice and smooth front.

Additionally, our pattern is wider than 30 cm, so we have to make two copies so that we can include the whole design. We'll just tape the two copies together after printing, and we have out whole design.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Pattern

Starting off here by cutting one edge from the print, aligning them perfectly and taping them together. Then we can cut around the whole circle and tape it to the record. We'll use a wood underlay, because the wood burning tool we're going to use will burn right through it. Also, we can nail the record to the wood so that it stays in place.

We'll use the wood burning tool with a scalpel tip to carefully cut out our design. Make sure to use an iron tip cleaner ball or something similar to clean and scrub the scalpel tip every now and then, as the vinyl might stick to it. And keep the room well ventilated. Anyway, when we've traced all the lines we can start removing piece by piece, making them smaller if we have to, and just break them off. Be a bit careful here, as it's easy to break off parts that's not supposed to.

Step 3: Removing Paper, Finishing Up the Record

Now we can remove all the paper, and maybe clean up the lines a bit with a regular scalpel where it's most needed. As we'll flip it, we only have to fix the worst spots. Now we're done with the vinyl!

Step 4: Study the Clock You'll Use

I bought this particular clock because the design is perfect for this project. It's easy to take apart, and there's a nut under the clock hands that will be able to keep the vinyl record in place. This way it will also be very easy to change the design later, and make the clock modular!

Step 5: Cutting Out an Acrylic Backpiece

Now we're making a backpiece that's going to light up behind the vinyl. For this we're using acrylic glass, as it's quite easy to modify. First we're using a vinyl record to trace out the outlines and the center. After that we can use a scroll saw to cut out a rough circular shape, and then a file, sandpaper or electrical sander to fix and smooth out the edges.

Step 6: Fixing Up and Adjusting the Acrylic

We've already traced the center, so now we can drill a hole in the middle. Centering the clock, we'll trace the outlines of it. Then we can attach a hole saw bit to the drill, and make a hole that is a little smaller than the clock itself. It's still kinda hard to reach the battery, and well, we kinda have to reach it at some point, so we have to expand the hole a bit around those corners (see picture). For this, we'll use the beloved Dremel tool (although any similar rotary tool will work).

Step 7: Final Finish on the Acrylic

The edges are stilla bit rough, so we can use a blow torch to really make them super smooth. As we'll add lights to the acrylic later, we have to sand down the surface with a rotary sander to make it nice and rough so that we'll be able to see the light.

In short; smooth edges, rough surface.

Step 8: Attaching the Clock

It's time to glue the clock to the acrylic! For this, we need some quick drying epoxy. It's a two component glue that is quite strong, and it's just perfect in this case.

What I should have shown in the pictures is that I put the vinyl record over the acrylic while centering the clock, so that I had a reference point for where the center was. Also, really important to align the battery input with the custom hole.

Step 9: Electronics

So, the electronics. Not too complicated, actually. We need an LED controller, an RGB LED-strip and shrinking tube. The signal wire on the LED controller has to be accessible from some angle, as we want to be able to change the colour of the lights every now and then. The power input is something we want to hide as well as we can.

We start by connecting the LED-strip to the other end of the LED controller. Make sure the two small arrows at the top of the two pieces align. We can then add a shrinking tube over it to keep it in place. We'll also add a shrinking tube over the end of the LED-strip to avoid any damage or other issues later. Lastly, to clean up the wire mess a bit, we can bend the signal and power cable and add another shrinking tube. This will just make it take up less space (which is kind of what we want since it's going to be hidden behind the clock).

Finally, we can cut the LED-strip to a proper length, and glue it to the inner edge of the acrylic, trying to center the LEDs as well as we can. We'll use hot glue for this. Then we can test and check that the red, green and blue all work properly.

Everything will be powered by a 12 V power cable.

Step 10: Disassembling, Reassembling

It is now time to disassemble the clock! On this one, we just have to remove a tiny knob at the top, then the two clock hands and a nut. The vinyl record fits perfectly, and the nut is all that holds it in place. As it's so easy to disassemble, it really makes it easier to change the designs every once in a while! Then we just have to reassemble it.

Step 11: Final Touches

The clock hands are a bit too long, so we can use some nippers to shorten them.

As the electronics do take up some space at the back, we'll use a couple of brass tube support sleeves as spacers between the clock and the wall. Not only do they function as spacers, but they also give it a more rigid look, as it seems like they are drilled in or attached to the wall in some way. They're easy to glue on without spilling too, as we can just fill them with hot glue and wait for it to dry.

Step 12: Hanging It on the Wall

Final step now! We're making the hanging solution quite simple with an S-hook on the wall. Yupp, that simple. To clean it up and make it look more finished we'll hide the cable properly. Aaaand... it's finished!

Step 13: Finished!

What's awesome is that it looks great both in the light and in the dark. Although it's kind of hard to tell the time in the dark, it still looks awesome as a decorative wall piece or night light.

I also love the fact that it's modular. I can make new designs whenever I feel like it, and then just stock up on different ones that I can change whenever. You could make different ones for all the seasons, or maybe for special occations? Tell me if you have any suggestions! Here is one other with the ring of power inscription on it.

Also, what do you think of this project? Let me know, and if you end up making it, I'd love to see it!

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    28 Discussions

    Hi there, I am just wondering if you have a template for the Lord of the Rings one? I love the Ironman one, it will be a perfect gift!

    One clock to rule them all... Very beautiful effect!

    That is really cool. How long did it take you to make it ?

    While the end result is very cool, personally, I would avoid this one using this method. Vinyl or PVC, is short for Poly Vinyl Chloride. Chloride is the villain here.

    Melting or burning PVC releases Chlorine Gas. A serious carcinogen as well as a corrosive. I know this because I have a friend who did this for a living using a laser. The Chlorine gas corroded her laser from the inside out! She did not know about the health risks to her or her family either.

    The only safe way to do this project is to hand-saw it or use a rotary cutter at a low enough speed to keep the record from heating up too much. You do not want it to smoke.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news since record clocks are a cool item!

    3 replies

    Thanks for your concern! I am already aware, and use adequate protection :)

    Good to hear. My friend Candice killed a $4000.00 laser doing this. She was told that she could not start her business back up without a clean air scrubber. An additional 40K!

    That sounds awful :( Also certain kinds of acrylic releases some toxic gas, isn't that right?

    cool idea. tnx for sharing

    Could you laser cut the record? I don't know if you can laser cut vynl.

    3 replies

    Because of the chlorine gas it releases, I think cutting it with a laser might cause damage to the equipment because of the enclosed area. Cutting this with hand tools enables you to control how much smoke you release by adjusting the speed you cut. I have been ventilating the room I am cutting in well, while using a respirator. Hence cutting it with a hot blade has given me no issues, even with longer sessions. Having that said, I wont say that it is a recipe for success, and I encourage you to show great care and take precautions when melting vinyl.

    Laser cutting vinyl is a very bad idea.


    1 year ago

    fabulous! love this! ???


    1 year ago

    This is so FABULOUS!!! I can't wait to make one and like you said make different face vinyls for different seasons. It'll be awesome in my kitchen, as my kitchen is hard to customise because of the house I'm in is a rental. This allows so much fun making it work since it's what I or should I say "we" like. THANKS!! I'll send you a picture when it's done and again 'THANKS'!!

    1 reply

    Thank you so much! So cool that you wanna make it. Really looking forward to see it when it's done!

    I know what I'm doing next week. Nice work.

    Really excellent realization! I love it. The only thing I would change is the led, making it something easier and supplied with the battery pack of the clock itself. great! standing ovation :-)

    2 replies

    Thank you!

    You are right, that would be a better solution, but the clock only uses a single 1.5v battery. Thus, it would be tricky to make a solution with any lights really, that wouldn't compromise both the size of the construction or the lifespan of the batteries. If anyone has any thoughts on how this can be achieved, I am all ears! Would make it slicker, and overall simpler.

    You are right. And what do you think about using a rechargeable power bank for smartphones?

    Or even something like this:

    I have one of this and it stands quite a lot. The cable can be detached once charged. You have to cannibalize it...

    However, at the end your solution is really elegant. The price to pay is just a small cable...


    1 year ago

    the lord of the rings one is AWESOME!!!!!!!