Paper Clock

Sat 25 February 2012

I always need something to keep me busy during the long dark winter evenings after my brain shuts down from a full day of reading technical papers and writing thesis snippets. This year it was building a clock out of paper. It's all in this book, just cut out the patterns right from the pages and glue it together. And then fuss with the gears that slip and rubber bands that break and friction in all the wrong places. But amazingly the thing actually ticks. As for keeping accurate time, that's another matter.


The finished clock (without cover) actually runs!

If you're feeling masochistic and wish to undertake such a project, here's my suggestions:

  1. Get a self-healing cutting mat (such as the green one in my photos)
  2. Be liberal with X-acto blades. Get a knife with a nice ergonomic handle.
  3. Use Elmer's Craftbond Memory Glue pen for light weight glue jobs and places where warping must be minimal (such as on the gears). Use Aleen's Tacky Glue for stronger glue joints, or ones that need to cure quickly (e.g. making tubes).
  4. I used a piece of white Magic Rub eraser instead of trying to find and cut a piece of cork to hold the hour/minute axel.
  5. Make sure the escapement anchor is rigid. If it has any flex, the pendulum's energy will be lost to friction and not transfer into the gears.
  6. Don't glue on the wall mount piece. Instead, insert some pins through the frame and wall mount on each side so it stays level yet is removable.
  7. Take your time and have fun! The process of creating this thing, and figuring out how everything is supposed to work together, was even more enjoyable than looking up at the finished clock hanging on the wall.