Welcome to Brian Law’s wooden clocks
Free plans to help you build a wooden clock. The plans on this site are those of clocks designed by myself over the last few years. At present there are Twenty one sets of plans available, and it is intended to add to them as new designs become available.
Each clock design is illustrated with a series of rendered images, and a set of drawings, drawn to scale and presented as PDF files. The earlier clocks were originally drawn to scale so that the prints could be attached directly to the timber and a band saw or scroll saw used to cut around the profiles. Now it is more common to use some form of CNC machining to produce the gear profiles, so the DXF files for the clocks are available and in some cases the 3D model files as well.
The original clocks are still available for free but as the new clocks appear I will make a charge for the files.
I hope you find your visit to the site rewarding and if you have any comments or suggestions please contact me.
What do I need to build a clock
This question is looked at in detail in the latest article in the Woodenclocks Blog
The article focus’s on the tools and equipment needed from the minimum, on to the requirements of a well equipped workshop.
DXF files available
If you require the DXF files for any of the clocks on the site then go to the page for the clock that you require, where you will find the DXF files listed along with model files for the newer clocks. The files can be used to produce Gcode so that you can machine the profiles on CNC machine
Each bundle contains the Drawings as a PDF file and the DXF files for machining and they cost $25
It is difficult to get a sense of the actual size of the clocks just looking at the pictures of them on the clocks own page. To try to overcome this and give you a proper sense of their relative sizes I produced a graphic that shows them all lined up at the same scale over 4 separate pages. Click above to download the PDF file.
All Clocks together
Scrollsaw Woodworking Magazine
3 of the Woodenclocks designs have been reproduced in the Scroll Saw Woodworking magazine. Clock 11 was the first to appear and then Clock 2 in spring of 2014 and finally Clock 17 later the same year.
The patterns and instructions provided by the magazine are excellent and will be sufficient to enable you to cut out all of the components to build the clock.
Clock 21 really is intended to be snapped together, it has been design be to be cut out from a single sheet of MDF 4 mm thick and 600 mm x 400 mm in size with a CNC laser.
The design has been a collaboration with Loughborough University and Woodenclocks to produce a clock design suitable for use in STEM projects within schools to encourage an interest in Engineering.
The starting requirement was for a clock that could be built simply and within a very short time frame so that it could fit into a schools timetable. It also required that it could be made with limited resources and at a minimum cost. The University had already done some work with an escapement mechanism which used Laser cut 4 mm MDF for the parts and a novel shaft design that could be snapped together.
Woodenclocks contribution was to redesign Clock 19 to incorporate the laser cut MDF for the parts, and simplify the frame construction so that the whole clock could be snapped together. The result has been this design of Clock 21, it has taken several months to develop the prototype, but that is now complete and the plans and the files are available for anyone who has access to a laser CNC machine to build one for themselves. !NB Files have been added to allow you to cut the clock with a CNC router.
Its intended use for schools should not deflect from the fact that any one with a CNC laser can use this design to build the clock. The current design can be modified endlessly by yourself to build something quite unique , you can change the form of the parts and the materials and the finishes used to create something quite different.
You only need to keep the gear teeth, diameters and the gear spacing the same as this one, the rest is up to you.
If you are looking for a simple design for a first time project that can be completed in a couple of days, then this is it.
Clock 23 - I have wanted for a while now to do something more with the design of Clock 18, its non-circular gears were a challenge to design in the first place but when constructed for the prototype they worked really quite well. I decided what it needed was a bit more oddness, so the idea of using the melted dial shape inspired by the Salvador Dahli painting ‘The persistence of memory’ was the first step to achieving this .
More odd features followed, firstly the frame with its Shepherds Crook head, and the organic tree like spokes for the gears and finally the the offset Escapement hanging over to one side. The oddness in no way hampers the function of the clock, it is an excellent timekeeper and apart from the care need to align the gears on assembly it is relatively easy to build.
I also used MDF for the first time in this clock, making the frames as a single piece from 12 mm. I am normally somewhat restricted on the size of the parts that I can cut on my small CNC router, so this time I devised a technique for cutting half the profile and spinning the whole frame around to cut the other half. After a false start it worked out well so saved having to fabricate the frame as I normally would do.
I really enjoyed designing this fun clock, each part of the clock needed some different features to be incorporated, the dial with its melted look was a particular challenge to get the shape to work and to look somewhat realistic, and quite a bit of Photoshop work to create the distorted numerals. The suspension design was also new , having the Escapement and the Pendulum on the same pivot and pinned together so they moved in sync, this was similar to the arrangement in Clock 21 but a little simpler.
I hope you like this new design and if you decide to build it yourself I wish you luck and look forward to seeing your completed Clocks.
If you are finding it hard to find Bearings , screws and Shafts in metric sizes and you live in the US you could try here
This the second 3D printed plastic clock to feature on the site, it makes use of the latest 3D printing technology to offer a technically exiting challenge to the many users of this equipment. It has been kept quite small to fit within the limited size envelop of many of these machines and is designed specifically to avoid the use of supports during the printing process.
The clock features a standard gearing arrangement to give 1:120 reduction required between the driving shaft and the escapement. It has the latest Woodenclocks gravity escapement which features reduced friction within the escapement to give you a more accurate timekeeper. It also uses a gravity ratchet arrangement to make winding easier, just pulling down on the counter weight will rewind the clock to run for another 12 hours.
The clock can be adjusted to keep it running to an accuracy of 1 min in 24 hours, and may be even better, but I gave up trying to improve on it at this point. Adjustment is by moving the pendulum Bob up or down to either speed up or slow down the clock.
Clock 24 - was designed to incorporate the 3rd version of the Woodenclocks Escapement which now has 30 teeth and revolves once per minute, this simplifies the gearing but requires a bigger version of the Escape Wheel to enable it to work as a wooden gear clock. Taking advantage of this increase in size the clock has been designed in inches from the ground up so all the shafts, bearings and materials use imperial dimensions. The clock is still dual dimensioned, so those wishing to build the clock can do so.The escapement is a modified version of the original using the intermediate spider to ensure positive locking.
A seconds dial has been incorporated into the Escape wheel with a hand formed as an integral part of the lifting arm.
The front frame has an inserted Barometer fitted, this is really only a suggestion as it in no way contributes to the clocks function, but it does offer ways of customising the clock. I have also used a proprietary winder normally used for winding Grandfather clocks, the reason was to enable the winding shaft to be incorporated below the drive train, which necessitated that the winder shaft pierced the dial.
Run time for this clock with a 4.5lbs (2.2Kg) weight and the centre of the dial 63”(1600 mm) above the floor, is 12.5 hours. This can be doubled by adding a simple pulley arrangement, see clock 23 for an example.
With the introduction of this new clock to the site, its has made me realise that
I have never really indicated before which clocks use metric and which use
imperial units, so to correct this ,I have introduced a set of icons that indicate what units are used in the design. Inches are in Blue and Metric units are in orange. If drawings are dual dimensioned as most of them are then they will appear with the major units at the bottom in bold with the secondary units at the top in brackets, much as they appear on the drawings themselves.
Most of the clocks on the site are dual dimensioned but some of the earlier clocks were not and these are indicated with an icon using a single unit.
Clock 21 was originally designed as a simple snap together clock suitable for building as a school project on a CNC laser.
It has become clear that restricting it to construction by laser, has prevented many would be clock builders from being able to make the clock.
The purpose of this update therefore is to provide you with a version of the files that can be can be used on a CNC router machine using a Ø1 mm or Ø1.1 mm router cutter.
The changes are fairly subtle, the addition of ‘Dog Bone fillets’ that allow the fitting of square corners into tight fitting slots, being the most significant change. The redesign of the hooks that hold together the parts once they are snapped into place is the only other real change.
The new profiles therefore can be used to to cut out the parts either by Laser or by CNC router cutting.
I have also arranged the profiles onto separate layers so that the internal profile cuts and the external profile cuts are separated in the DXF file so that you can more easily program the cuts in you CAM program. I wish I had thought before to do this as it does make the programming so much easier, so I shall try to do that in future.
Any way for any one wants to try a quick clock build with the minimum of time spent finding materials, then you should try this one.
It is worth noting that the original laser cut design actually sealed the cut faces whilst cutting. I found it best to clean up the edges with fine sandpaper and the use Liquid Super glue to seal the teeth and the pallets.
Clock 13 FDM was originally designed to be built by the SLA process, this version has be completely re-designed so that it can be be built using the more common 3D printers using the FDM process.
The design is simple and straight forward requiring only some additional nuts, bolts, shafts and bearings.
The clock will run for about 10 hours and is accurate to less than a minute over that time.
Unlike all the wooden clocks on the site this clock requires only the STL files to allow you to build the complete clock. These files have been generated with the more complex parts split into simple ones, that can be quickly solvent bonded together, instead of having to use to many supports. The clock was designed in mm but additional files are provided so that you can use inch components , such as the shafts and bearings.
The clock needs a couple of weights to drive it so I have supplied STL files for the two weight containers so that they can be filled either with lead shot or steel balls (shotgun ammo) The pendulum bob also requires some weight so it is made hollow so you can add some weight to it.
I have started a new website, specifically for 3D printed Clocks and other mechanical devices.
The first clock to feature will be Clock 13 FDM from this website, and it will continue to be available on both sites until the new site becomes established. Not a lot their at there at the moment apart from the single clock but there are a couple of free projects to try on your 3D printer if you have one. The teaching Clock and the Micropore tape dispenser with a novel roller arrangement to offer up the tape end for the user.