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Series Name
Small Projects
Location
Florida
Over the past couple of years I've been making clocks. From your basic klockit.com and faceplate in a box:


Next was a laser cut LP with Rick & Morty and a 3D printed portal, and on to ever more complex electronic clocks, with weather station readouts. My first was:


That thing sticking up on the top is a storm glass. This was a basic unit with separate readouts for humidity and time/temp. The Storm Glass was supposed to be a barometer of sorts. Pretty enough, but not super accurate.

The next step went a little steam punk and added music:

Final assembly - notice the racing stripe inlay and the ornate dovetailed on the front.

Both of the above were built out of car (12V) modules with simple (but pretty lighted) on/off buttons. No brains.

I heard about this Arduino stuff and as an old industrial automation engineer the concept of low cost embedded computers was intriguing. My next was purely a prototype and development testbed. But to build it I bought my first 3D printer. This led to my first practical Arduino monster. It told time & temp/humidity but needed a barometer.


Yes, its grotesque, but I learned a lot (and had a lot of fun) making it. I learned important lessons in fab from that puppy.

Next was an attempt at a more practical design, shown here during design wiring:


But the wiring and fab had evolved that the first practical device was built:

Internals



This worked so well, I built a couple more, refining my fab techniques as I went. A power disturbution card was designed and more refinements made.

Central controller ready to mount and wire. 3D printed base and PDB complete the stack.

The result worked well but were beasts:


Nice, but costly to fab. Drilling the faceplate is my nemesis and try as I might I just can't drill 8 holes in a perfect circle to save my life:

Arrrgh!

So I bought a desktop CNC engraver (basically a Dremel) specifically to drill those pilot holes:


Now we're cooking with gas! The hold downs were 3D printed on my 2nd 3D printer -- I about beat the first entry level machine to death, it made a nice donation to a local teen. The new 3D machine:


The other new machine was the laser engraver/cutter:


Finally! All the tools and pieces come together into a presentation piece for a friend indeed. Ladies and gentlemen (you know which you are) I give you -- (drum roll please!) Cindy's Alarm Clock Unit #5! (Ta-dah!)


Laser engraved dedication on top. No glue, the case and all components are mounted with 4-40 stainless allen cap screws for that steampunk look (and to allow internal access).


The remote and holder are magnetically attached. Most all of the plastic items (the holder & feet in this picture) are 3D printed in glow-in-the-datk filament just to be cool.


Rear view shows component mounting. Plug is cover for SD card access (it logs the weather every 15 minutes). Again mounting holes are CNC'd.

Aside: The gcode to drill is automagically derived from .dxf files created in (free) NanoCAD. I had to rent server space ($11/mo ScrewballsRC.club - it'll throw a ssl,warning, but its ok, I'm just too cheap to pay for the certificate) and write some PHP to make it happen, but it's better than cutting gcode by hand!



The final product. Ready for presentation on Thanksgiving 2022.
Delivered over a huge banquet. It was well received. Chris is my neighbor and let us share his generator for nearly two weeks after hurricane Ian hit. This is why a weather station is so important here in Florida


It has battery backup, is remote controlled, incorporates a stop watch, alarm, and even an, occasionally rude, magic 8-ball.

The box is 1/2" jatoba and is 5-1/2" high (plus the 1/2" feet) by 8-1/2" wide and 4-1/4" deep. It is finished with several coats of Johnson's Paste Wax. Lots of little details, like all of the washers are rounded side up, etc. make it one of my best.

The design goal was to have something that I can read from across the room in the dark and that shows time (24 hr or am/pm), temp/humidity/barometric pressure (metric or imperial), has an alarm clock, and is remotely controlled (since I'm disabled).

The design is made with COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) components (mostly from Walmart) and requires no soldering for final fab. The drilling is done by CNC, the electronic module mounting hardware and cable shrouds are all 3D printed, and the engraving by laser. The system and software is fully documented, and can be produced identically in low to medium volumes, by a one man shop.

Lemme know if you wanna fund the production of the next batch! LOL

Comments

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Very cool and creative ideas, keep up the good work. Any good neighbor would love that.
 

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In another life close to 50 years ago, you would find me visiting Radio Shack several times a week. I really miss that store and all the project kits they had!!!!

Really like your projects!
 

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Takes a couple days to build, but a year to figure out!
Lots of fun learning, TinkerCAD, NanoCAD, Arduino, C++, gCode, CNC, 3D printing, laser engraving, all to tell time and temp! -- Oh did I mention the RUDE magic 8-ball? LOL

Had to design lots of stuff. Mounts, terminals, cable shrouds, knobs, buttons, modules, power distribution, fab techniques, materials, etc. Makes for good hobby.

It took a couple of grand $$$ in equipment and parts to get the design to where it is. Costs under $200 to fab all in now. Originals (units 1-4) were 3x that.

If anyone is interested I have the drawings, (my site throws a security cert error, but is safe, I'm too cheap to pay extra for the cert) software source, and CNC/3D print files, are all available for anyone for free. Most of the 3D parts I've created are online at Cults3d.com or at tinkercad.com -- Search for user name "MadMark!" (Note ! is required)
 
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