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3D printed mechanical Clock with Anchor Escapement

by TheGoofy, published

3D printed mechanical Clock with Anchor Escapement by TheGoofy May 12, 2014

Description

This mechanical clock demonstrates that 3d-printing is not just for decoration. It's possible to create "intelligent" things with it's own life. Designed with Blender. Printed with Rapman 3.2
youtu.be/HgZBPYJ2Y-w

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I bet brass would be fine. It bends easier though so be careful. I bought mine from McmasterCarr. here are the part numbers.

5544T212 12L14 Carbon Steel Metric High-Tolerance Rod, 2MM Diameter, 1' Length $2.06
544T222 12L14 Carbon Steel Metric High-Tolerance Rod, 3MM Diameter, 1' Length $2.21
1265K14 Metric Miniature Type 316 Stainless Steel Drive Shaft, 1.5 mm OD, 200 mm Length $7.35
Hey great design - do you have a good source for the steel rods - and would brass work as well?
Really amazing clock. surely i'll make one when i have a 3d printer :(
which type of printer is the best and cheapest? and what is the best 3d object viewer for printing?

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Instructions

STL files cover 3 different winding versions:

- V1: Ratchet winding small transmission, runs 2-3 hours (weight moves -52.1 cm/h), clock stops while winding
- V2: Ratchet winding large transmission, runs 8-12 hours (weight moves -14.1 cm/h) very sensitive to friction, clock stops while winding
- V3: Planetary gear winding medium transmission, runs 3-4.5 hours (weight moves -37.2 cm/h), very sophisticated, extremely sensitive to inaccurate printing, clock continues running while winding
- The blender file illustrates the 3 versions
- Files optimized for extrusion printing

Blender File:

- Contains all the parts, which were exported as STL
- Has 3 groups to visualize the different versions of the winding
The file "Parts_with_Dummy.zip" contains STL files with a dummy piece: some pieces have a very thin top end, and it happens (at least on my printer) that the printed layers can't cool down quick enough, and finally the printed piece gets very inaccurate there. With the "dummy" the printer is forced to do some sort of "busy wait", and therefore the printing quality stays constant over the full height.

Rapman 3.2 print settings:

- PLA, 195C
- 0.125 mm layers
- 0.4 mm extrusion width (0.5 mm nozzle)
- 20% fill density (except balance wheel: 90%)
- 2 extra skins

Metal and other parts:

- 11 screws M3 (length: 10mm)
- 1.5 mm steel axis for balance wheel (length: 39mm)
- 2.0 mm steel axis for anchor and seconds wheel (length: 27mm, 59mm)
- 3.0 mm for all other axis (length: 59mm, 59mm, 29mm, 18mm)
- Axis should have a smooth surface in order to minimize friction
- Use a drill with 0.1 mm more diameter to adjust the gears bore
- Make sure you're drilling really centric and perpendicular
- Cord 2-3m

File Name

Downloads

Size

4 days ago - Modified 4 days ago
Hey great design - do you have a good source for the steel rods - and would brass work as well?
I bet brass would be fine. It bends easier though so be careful. I bought mine from McmasterCarr. here are the part numbers.

5544T212 12L14 Carbon Steel Metric High-Tolerance Rod, 2MM Diameter, 1' Length $2.06
544T222 12L14 Carbon Steel Metric High-Tolerance Rod, 3MM Diameter, 1' Length $2.21
1265K14 Metric Miniature Type 316 Stainless Steel Drive Shaft, 1.5 mm OD, 200 mm Length $7.35
Really amazing clock. surely i'll make one when i have a 3d printer :(
which type of printer is the best and cheapest? and what is the best 3d object viewer for printing?
Hey there, great clock! Do you think it would still work properly if printed at 50% size?
It potentially works, if your printer is accurate enough - e.g. gears will then have a module of 1.5mm and the teeth will be smaller than 0.3mm. Certainly you would need to adjust the balance wheel and the spring to get the right speed.
Hello Goofy!!

I have already printed the project and i think it's awesome!!! Anyway... II would like to perform some changes on my own and try to add some details in order to make it cooler... Would it be possible to have the original files in order to modify them? what software did you use?

thanks at advance

kind regards

Sebastian
Hi Sebastian. I did use Blender for the construction. The files are already downloadable. I do have a few additional temporary Blender-files for constructing various wheels (e.g. a single teeth, which is repeated n-times for building a gear). Not sure, if those files are useful for you.
Aug 5, 2014 - Modified Aug 5, 2014
What is the bed size required to print this at full scale?

Is the frame back (152mm x 92mm) the largest piece?
Yes, the frame has the largest dimension (the clock face with a diameter of 14 cm requires the largest area). There is a remix from dxhacksaw, where the construction is tiled in smaller pieces: thingiverse.com/thing:390221
What size axes are used for what gears/positions?
I am bamboozled how this magnificent contribution is not featured, yet we promote kids putting writing on their tyres and messing up the pavement... bravo thingiverse!
A few questions... has anybody tried this in ABS? I saw somebody asked...but didn't see an answer.Also, goofy, have you considered trying a pendulum, rather than a balance spring? I know that the BPH for a pendulum is about a 1/3 less, so it would require some tinkering. but while it may not directly increase the amount of time per wind up, I don't see a pendulum clock wearing out as quickly.Another question is, have you tried some of the more 'advanced' materials? Specifically HDPE and nylon. Both are used in gears and bearings because they're self-lubricating (low friction). HDPE would be more rigid, but nylon tougher (though it can get fairly rigid with proper geometry.)By the way, the aesthetics on it are superb. I can't wait to start printing it out.
mine was printed in ABS...http://youtu.be/9-ISAFyFMag?list=UUPl7vCrz4mgsm-5BXrt4tZg
I didn't try other materials. Also curious, if somebody else has experience with printing gears.A construction with a pendulum would of course be simpler, and probably much more efficient (less friction, better conservation of energy compared to the spring. But a pendulum isn't as fancy as a balance wheel - there are several 3d-prinded pendulum clocks around.
how do you exactly assemble the clock? Right now I am having trouble with the pulley and I can't seem to get it right. Please, somebody help me!!!
This looks gray and I will start this project.
Thanks and a big compliment for keeping up your spirits while designing and redesigning and redesigning and....
Thomas
its really hard to get the geartrain working without too much friction. if I pull out the escapement mechanism, it still takes about 2kg to overcome static friction, but after that, a 1kg weight can keep it moving. Each gear part seems to turn very freely on the metal shafts and I have tried lithium grease to lubricate the shafts and to lessen any sliding friction on the gear teeth. even with 5kg, i cant get the escapement mechanism to maintain enough torque to make the clock tick.if I apply a moment by hand on the geartrain, I can get it ticking nicely, so I know the escapement is working. I just cant seem to get enough friction out of the system to make it work.how were you able to reduce the friction enough to make it work?
Maybe you also check friction with the anchor removed. I needed to sand
a bit at the location, where the printer nozzle started or stopped, in
order to have a smooth constant low friction at all angles
Can you check the tooth-play of the gears? A piece of paper should fit between. Depending on the slicing software, or the printer's characteristics, gears maybe are too large. Sometimes it's only the first printed layers, which is not as accurately printed. Also check the play along the axis: the frame shouldn't squeeze the gears.
The mesh between the gears was not a problem. I took everything apart again and went over every friction surface with a precision file. Every gear tooth, every point where the gears touch each other. I made sure that the first layer wasnt bulging. Made sure that every gear tooth has a nice smooth surface... That seemed to do the trick, because now the clock runs... sort of...now I am having some escapement issues. I think the anchor is not deflecting quite enough and sometimes the anchor doesnt quite catch, it slips back to the opposite side and then the wheel is out of sequence with the anchor. Here is a video showing what I mean:http://youtu.be/qzABfV0yUNMI have been watching your video over and over again. it looks like your anchor has more deflection than mine. does your anchor hit the stop on every tick? Mine only deflects about halfway before it stops on the wheel. I think if it deflected more it might be more reliable.Also, I havent added any screws to my wheel. Is it possible that if I added more mass to the wheel, it might kick the anchor out more on each tick and catch more reliably?
As I suspected, having more throw on the anchor helped with positive wheel engagement. I solved this by lengthening the anchor engagement point on the spring where it meets the anchor by 0.7mm. It doesn't get out of sync now, but I notice that it does seem to almost miss occasionally when the wheel is not moving quite fast enough. I might play with it a little more before I am done, but it runs a lot better now. here is a slightly out of focus movie with the new spring design.http://youtu.be/pyv9N_7sg3cIf you dont mind, once i am happy with it I might post it as a remix in case other have a similar issue. I am guessing that your wheel is probably a slightly different dimension than mine, but I found this to be an easier fix to design.
Congratulations, you made it work. Actually I remember when I designed the anchor, I did a "proper" geometric solution, which theoretically should have worked. But in practice it didn't. The reason why it didn't work, wasn't a geometric construction mistake, it was the inaccurate printing process of my printer. To make it work, I had to stretch and bend the 3d-mesh of the anchor by 0.5 mm, and re-print it. Maybe your remix is now closer to the thing I originally designed. I'd like to encourage you to post it, because printers get better.(P.S. the background of your video appears very familiar with the things in my workshop)
ha! yep... lots of fun stuff in my workshop...the clock runs a little fast with the current setup. A minute on the clock is a about 3 seconds fast, probably because there seems to be a slight difference on one side of the wheel (or maybe i drilled it slightly off center). when it gets to that part of the wheel, it speeds up a little. I might need to reprint the wheel again to get it "prefect"http://youtu.be/C21lnu_enfQI am currently using about 3kg to get it working reliably. There is still some friction in there I need to get rid of...Thanks for posting this design. I really learned a lot building this. it really makes you appreciate the guys who used to build these things by hand back in the day!
hello I've just finished printing all but prurtroppo the clock does not work does not trigger the spring to the second count may depend on what you know .....? I'll explain the weight does not walk at all and therefore does not turn anything ....
OK, all built, but it wont run-it wants too.... How crucial are the screws in the balance wheel for the clock to run?
Oh, and what a design. Fantastic.
Also every piece printed wonderfully except the Gear for the seconds....ARRGH what bear...took me probably 6 tries on an Ultimaker 2. Printed it at 25mm/s 0.06mm. very slow....
What went wrong?
I noticed your escapement balance wheel has screws placed in to the outer edge. Can you comment on that? I have printed the clock and am having difficulty getting the escapement to work for longer than a few "seconds". Your clock motion is very smooth and consistent. Absolutely wonderful. please help....
The screws are for fine-tuning the speed - a single turn on these screws maybe influences the speed by 1/100 of a second per clock-tick. There can go many things wrong, if the clock stops after e few seconds. Can you share a video? Maybe I can "debug" it.
is it possible to alter the gear ratio, or rig the single pulley into a series of blocks to increase the mechanical advantage so it will run a week on a single winding. I'd love to try this project...but if it only runs for 2 hours on a winding...I think that would be an issue for a functional clock.
What would happen if you adjusted the size of the rods to 1/8th"?
Friction will increase a bit, but as long as the larger rod has also a very smooth surface, you probably won't notice it.
My father was a clockmaker all his life, I need to show him this next time I visit, he will be amazed at the craftmanship involved here, well done!!
Is there anyway that we can set this up to run for more then just a few hours?
You could add another pulley and double the weight for double runtime.
The V2 ratchet runs almost half a day (see instructions). Maybe newer printers can print with more accuracy and less friction - it wouldn't be too difficult to design an even larger transmission.
Can I print it by ABS ?
Errr. A bit of a problem, What is the length of the screws I need?
Printing currently!
If I were to print this at a smaller scale would it still work? If so I'm sure the weight would have to be adjusted accordingly.
"dxhacksaw" made one 10% smaller, and it works. The weight has basically no influence on the speed. The clock speed is defined by the spring and the balance-wheel. The weight needs only be heavy enough to overcome friction. If you make the clock much smaller, you have to re-design the escapement - a smaller balance wheel or a stringer spring make the clock run faster.
Awesome! I think I will build it at full size to learn how it works, then try smaller. Almost done printing now. What did you use for the axles for the gears? I'm having trouble finding any small rods smooth enough.
You deserve many bravo! tooooo much work.
I will make it ,but i have two question.
Should i wind up every two hours???
It loose 1/4 second eveyry one hour?? 1 second every 2 hours. 2 seconds every 4 hours.....Around 10 seconds per day?? if yes it is too much
Maybe you can design an extension for an automated electric rewind ... ;-)
16Soon to be leaving thingiverse because of Makerbot's behavior towards open source.Details: fabbaloo.com/blog/2014/5/25/has-makerbot-crossed-the-line-for-some-yes
U, sir, R a GENIUS.
Great job. Not only is the clock wonderful, but the video is very good, too.
Do you have an estimate of how much plastic is required?
The clock in total is approx. 150g of PLA. The garbage-box is almost 1kg. Nozzle is 0.5mm ... I've added some more printing details to the "instructions".
Sweet as, that's helpful thanks.
I read that your prints are getting too hot when printing smaller things.
I use Slic3r to print my things and put these commands in the "layer change G-code" under the "Printer Settings" tab in the "Custom G-code" section.It makes it wait 5 seconds in between layers to give it time to cool:G91 ;go to relative mode
G1 E-10 ;retract 10mm on extruder to prevent oozing
G1 Z1 ;move up 1mm
G4 P5000 ;pause for 5 seconds
G1 Z-1 ;move down 1mm
G1 E10 ;extrude 10mm
G4 P500 ;give the filament some time, otherwise the slight latency makes it print nothing for the next 1mm
G90 ;go back to absolute modeAlso, if you're using PLA you might want to look into mounting a fan on your print head to help with the cooling. It makes a big difference.
Wow! THIS is awesome. I myself have made a wooden clock, all pieces (including all the gears) by hand with a jigsaw and appreciate the workmanship you have put into this. Very inspirational!
<3<3<3
I've cleaned up the thing, added all the STL files, and even some building instructions. Hopefully this helps to really successfully print the thing. Have fun!
Cool project! Do you use the drum assembly thats in the blender files? it looks different than the video. I dont see the smaller planetary gears etc.
The planetary-drum visible in the blender file is a newer, more sophisticated version. The old rachet-drum is also in the blender file, but invisible. It's named "trommel...", and it also contains some more invisible temporary objects. I'm currently creating a clean version of the blender file, matching to the video.
Thanks TheGoofy, awaiting this with much anticipation. Great Work!
could it be possible to adjust the ratio on the weight gear so that it can run for 24 hours without rewind it? or as some old clocks have 2 of them?
This clock will run for a full week, if you hang it on top of a church tower with the weight on a long fishing line ;-) ... It's a problem of friction and robustness. With increasing the gear ratio by a factor of 4, you would need to increase the weight also by a factor of 4. The weight would then be 5-6 kg. I expect that the PLA structure would start to bend and friction in the main bearings would further increase so the theoretically calculated weight wouldn't be heavy enough. Definitely a construction change is needed. But instead of making the main structures more robust, I'd guess there is more potential in designing the escapement and the seconds-hand much lighter, and with less friction.
Yep, i'd had a 10lbs driving a clock that ran for 24 hours with about 4' of drop, after about a week the ABS had deformed enough the gears were binding and it wouldn't run reliably after that.
http://fe2.net/projects/printableclock_v1/index.htmlBtw, good work. Nice to see someone else picking up the mantle of 3d printable gravity clocks.
A great resource for escapment mechanics and their respective efficiencies: nawcc-index.net/Articles/Headrick-EscMechanics.pdfIt has fully drawn optimized escapment mechanisms and the theory behind it all in there. Interesting read :)
what is you had 2 weights like some old clocs had ? would it still put the combined weight at the same point?
The second weight of old clocks is usually for the striking mechanism. Not sure, if you mix that up. I don't expect that two weights for driving the same gears has an advantage over a single weight.
oh yes you are right.. the 2nd was for the bell / striker :-DSo they clock as is can run for 24 hours or so, but at what height above the floor?
In the video, he says ~2 hours per 70cm of travel. 70x12=840cm.
The height for 24 hours is exactly 1250.023 cm - with the gear ratio and the drum diameter well defined, and knowing that the Minutes gear rotates "approximately" with 1 revolution per hour, it's simple mathematics (in the video I did only an estimation). Winding version 2 would only need 340 cm (see instructions).
nice... this now got a top place in projects to print
Brilliant! Blender FTW!
This is an extraordinary piece of work. And I really like that you've colour coded the parts to indicate their function. Just one question: how long will that spring last?I've covered this on my blog, 3DGeni.us here:http://www.3dgeni.us/3d-printed-clock/Thanks for creating such an inspired design.
Nice blog. ... how long will the spring last? ... good question. My clock is now 9 months hanging at the wall, and I let it run very rarely (the ticking makes my family nervous). But it still works as on the first days. I'd guess it did run in total maybe for 100 hours until now. I had expected that the ageing and deformation of the PLA makes the clock die after a couple of months.
What a great piece of work!
please please please can someone make STL's for this!!!
I added a remix with the STL´s.
Have fun with it! ;)
Great, printing the Cyclone mill at the moment, this will be the next project! - Thanks very much!!!
Absolutely Awesome design, I'd start printing it now if I knew Blender. Thanks for sharing this design.
Bravo!
What is the weight you're using with this?
1.2 kg nuts and bolts and other metal scrap
Great design!
Can you please offer us the parts as STLs ?
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