Galileo's Pendulum Clock

by ZombieCat, published

Galileo's Pendulum Clock by ZombieCat Sep 29, 2012


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This is a functional model of the pendulum clock said to have been designed by Galileo. This is designed to be used as a historical teaching model for hands-on student interaction but I make no claims of its historical accuracy. I simply made it based on his drawings. Students learn about gears and gearing, stored energy (through the rubber band), the escapement mechanism, and the properties of the pendulum. The pendulum in this clock is designed to enable students to explore how weight and length impact period by making it easy for students to move washers or large nuts along notches on the pendulum (full length and half-way up).


More detailed assembly instructions will be posted shortly. This is designed to be cut from 1/4" (5mm) plywood (I've found that Home Depot's new Purebond plywood works great). It is designed to work with 1/4" dowels but be warned the holes for the gears are very snug (on purpose). The frame is designed to use nylon washers to reduce friction with a 1/4" ID and a 3/8" OD.
I've included new pictures to help with the assembly. Look at the washer spacing for the pendulum and escapement mechanism. Also note that the escapement requires a piece to be glued to it above to enable it to work. It is the small rectangle in the plans.
Finally, I recommend playing a little with the exact placement of the two catches on the pendulum. This model is designed to fit very snugly around the 1/4" dowel and I would adjust it manually until I got it to work correctly and then I'd use a spot of super glue to hold it in place once it is working.

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Nice piece to study onto... I don't have a CNC so I prepared several .STL for those who want try to print in PLA.
If anyone interested to:
https://tinkercad.com/things/eSEenWzJ376 (complete plan, doesn't fit in 3d printer)
https://tinkercad.com/things/bRw4R6C4r52 (part 1, fits well)
https://tinkercad.com/things/bhoVgXsKGsq (part 2)
https://tinkercad.com/things/6FSN7o4EMoZ (part 3)
https://tinkercad.com/things/8ttx6dwPt1L (part 4)
https://tinkercad.com/things/1Z7sYFauSjK (part 5)
https://tinkercad.com/things/iUkZt8TGpne (part 6)
HTH someone, and now I'll begin to print it!

Cant wait to try this!! Thanks!!

Christiaan Huyghens invented the pendulum clock (Horologium Oscillatorium, 1658), not Galileu-Galilei.

Stay away from this project. It lacks hour needle and many other parts. Holes and dimensions in general are quite poor and no explanation about how it can work. There is a complete Galileo machine in Thingiverse but in a strange format. Oh well...

CamBam (registered version) is pretty good for gear design. It's one of the best cheap CAD/CAM programs for CNC mills (CAM for milling is tricky and needs more than a simple drawing program).
It's also quite a useful CAD program generally, with DXF export. Goes into Corel Draw OK for laser cutting.

What software did you use? I'm having trouble finding good software that will handle gears.

I used Inkscape to make the gears. I did need to go in and clean up the vectors though for the smaller gears... Wood gears are always challenging.

The wood I now swear by is 1/4" Purebond from Home Depot that I purchase in 4x8 sheets and cut down to my laser cutter. I have a 50W Epilog and cut it at 12/95/1300 and I get a nice amber cut with no burn residue on the edges (clean hands!) http://www.homedepot.com/p/1-4-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-PureBond-Birch-FSC-332164/202847918#.UZpNditBJQMhttp://www.homedepot.com/p/1-4...

Small gear doesn't look that good up close. Just tried this http://woodgears.ca/gear/index.htmlhttp://woodgears.ca/gear/index... seems good.
theres a workaround on youtube how to get rid of the wobly thing in the program.

What software did you use? I'm having trouble finding decent software that does gears.

I love this project but cannot get the dxf to open... anyone else have this problem?

We are students of Politecnico in Milan and we are writing you to ask you some informations about Galileo Pendulum's because we are doing a project for PLM course; so can you give us the shares and measures of each part of the pendulum?  

Thank You  for your attention.

I've uploaded more pictures that should help. If you'd prefer any other file formats I can try uploading those as well.

Great project. Ive cut all the pieces but like the others Im not quite sure how to put it together. Do the cogs on the escapement wheel stick out both sides? There appears to be a pawl on either side of this wheel. A video of the movement would be useful. Ive made a Pro Desktop version to check movements if anyone is interested in having it.

I'll upload some more pictures of the completed build and try to post instructions this weekend.  Thanks for your patience

I just cut out all the pieces! But I have no idea how to put all the pieces together. ZombieCat, can you help me? Can anyone help?

Sajna a CDR.file tényleg üres! 

This is awesome, I got the dwg file and I plan on laser cutting it soon. Can you provide more detailed assembly instructions? It would help along with the picture of the drawing you posted. I imagine other than the laser cut parts you would need some strings and some kind of weights. Thanks so much very cool clock, cant wait to build. 

 Great achievement, but I can not open the file. Cdr

I've uploaded a PDF and dxf version... let me know how if they work.

YES.......... that's ok
I'll try to cut out in colored PMMA 3mm
Soon for the test