This clock both solves a problem for the visual and hearing impaired but also works as a beautiful timepiece for any home or office. For those with failing or limited eyesight, this clock displays brilliant, clear, large, easily readable time. For the hearing impaired, visual alarms allow for colorful, pleasant alerts. Different animations can correspond to different events. The web-interface saves settings, changes modes, adjusts colors, brightness, and speed.
The clock as it stands today has a host of features and is a fully finished and functioning product. We are very pleased with how it turned out both in terms of quality and functionality but also in terms of the feature set and stability. The clock syncs every minute with a timeserver ensuring that the time will always be perfect. Users need only set the timezone once, enable daylight savings mode and they will never need to worry about setting the clock again!
The clock will go live as a OPEN SOURCE kickstarter project on April 16th with the source code being published here!
52 different animations with adjustable color, speed and brightness give the user precise control and infinite variation.
Favorite modes are saved in memory. Light timers and daily events can be set which allow users to visually be notified at the selected time. Special holiday modes can add festivity to your house during Halloween, New Years or Christmas. We even have a special mode for pi day where the clock animates the digits of pi for 100 digits every hour.
The clock is powered by a web connected Node MCU ESP8266 and is programmed using the arduino language and popular c++libraries that come standard in the arduino platform. Want to make one? Check out the build log!
The construction work of the CNC machine is pressing go on your CNC machine. But as anyone knows, CNC work is 95% setup and 5% cutting! A few words on setup are important here.
First, getting a solid fixture is essential. I am choosing to hold down the wood blank with these cam clamps. They work amazing and are very strong! So that they do not damage the wood, I put some small pieces of rubber between the contact area and the wood (this will not reduce the clamping force). Beyond being incredibly strong, another major advantage of these clamps is the fact that the total height of the clamp is below the work surface so there is never any danger of collision. If you do not have these clamps available double-sided tape can work. Whatever your method, ensure strong hold-downs and proper grain alignment.
Important Note: You will have to flip the clock and CNC both side of the machine so make sure you index your piece of wood. Make sure you can flip it and be EXACTLY in the same place. This is essential for cutting a good clock!
Now for some notes on the CAD and CAM work.
The Cad File (ProductionClockMaster.3dm) is a Rhino3d file and has all the necessary CAD layers for the clock. If you need a more generic format, I've also included a *dxf export of the front and back layers of the clock. This should be all the information you need.
The CNC CAM work is broken down into 9 separate CNC Operations. The actual Mach3 gcode files are included in the GitHub repository as well as the VCarve Files that produced them (if you need to open them and export using a different post processor).
All files for the project are available on GItHub. Here is how to interpret the files. They are relatively self-explanatory but here's some additional help to clear up any possible confusion. The first five files are listed in order of cutting operation. The file name ends in parentheses with the size of the cutting tool. So for example - 01_Rear Pockets_v1.8_(1-2 inch)
This file name begins with 01 so it is the first operation.
It will cut out the rear pockets.
This is version 1.8 (I started with 0.0 so that tells you how many mistakes I made!)
Use a 1/2 inch cutting tool
In addition to these five wood-block operations, there are two stand operations, an acrylic element operation and a back cover plate operation.
One operation that is unique is the T-slot CNC operation. This provides a channel for the bolts on the desktop stand to slide into. You will need a T-slot bit like the one shown in the photograph above.
Again if you need something other than the standard Mach3 post processor open the VCarve files and export in your local format. The next step we will actually walk through cutting the core and illustrate step by step what the clock should look like at each stage.
Cut the Clock Core, Desktop Stand, Acrylic Tiles and Backing Material
Here are some photos of each of the completed pieces as they come off the machine.
The acrylic is the most challenging cut since acrylic has a tendency to melt if it gets too warm and it also chatters and lifts if not held down securely. A laser cutter would be ideal if you have one. As you can see in the photo, I made a special jig that holds down all four sides tightly.
Double sided tape would probably be the absolute best for this operation but would be a little more time consuming to remove.
Customize With Clock Face Art and Finish
The clock can be used just fine without this step but it's fun to customize it according to your needs or tastes. We've tried a lot of different designs and the sky is the limit here. We'd love to see examples of things you come up with!
In terms of finishing we have tried lots of different things but love the simplicity and ease of staining. We also love General Finishes topcoat as it is particularly easy to install, durable and looks great! Now's the time to do that before we start installing electronics.
Tip: Don't forget to also stain the desktop stand, backplate plug and backplate at the same time. It's easy to get carried away and forget these accessory pieces!