A timepiece with a timeless look

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(ps, see the short video below fo rthe whole experience)
While traveling through time I got stranded in the year 2021 with no way to tell time. I had only a few old fashion tools to my avail. I had to do with so i just started.

A resin 3D printer was a very helpful tool to make the frame. The time piece is salvaged from a odd looking so called "USB fan clock" that I found in a toolbox (read this as AliExpress). I had to rewire the whole thing but a power source was still missing. I found 3 little tubes that had Alkaline 1.5V printed on them. Not sure what they where used for but I thought I just would give it a try.

To my delighted surprise the contraption fired up and I was able to set time and continue my voyage.

Here it me testing the device just before I went on to the year 2022
( )

Used tools

3D Resin printer

Laser cutter

Hand tools

Chemicals for patina

I used TinkerCAD to design the model. It took a few iterations until everything was correct. After that the model was painted to give it a patina look

MPEG-4 Video - 6.66 MB - 03/11/2022 at 17:11


  • 1
    Step 1

    About build instructions.

    Take the USB fan apart. Write down where each wire is connected too. Next disconnect the controle PCB from the motor. Remove the shinny cap from the fan and remove the plastic fan. Cut off one side with a scissor and put it back. Add some extra weight in the cap to balance the fan again. It should not vibrate much when running. Put the cap back on

    3D print the frame and other parts and paint it in the colors you want . (stl's available on request)

    I wanted to have a brass/patina look. Although i also made one from copper i wanted to get a patina look on a 3D printed object. For this i made my own paint by mixing very fine copper powder in some clear acrylic paint. I painted the frame with it and after drying i applied a natural patina to it with vinager/salt and ammonia vapor. The result can be seen on one of the images. The frame looks like it have been submersed in seawater for quiet some time. That frame is used a prop for an other time era.

    Cut a few wires to the right length so that they can be soldered to the motor and to the control pcb . Solder the wires to the motor, next insert the motor into the frame. Be aware of the right orientation. Feed the wires through the holes and into the space at the front side.

    Solder the extended wires to the controle pcb. Close the compartment wih the cover.

    Make 6 battery contacts from M3 brass screws and nuts. Solder to 3 of them a cut off balpoint spring to give the battery a little pressure and to keep it in place. Wire the batteries in serie to get 4.5V. While this is a bit on the low side the timepiece will start from about 4.2V. An alternative solution would be to use 2 3.7V lithium bateries in serie and place a DC-DC converter in the third compartment (7.2v to 5V)

    Next attach the transparent covers by pressing the pin in to lock these in place.

    The leather bracelet is cut and engraved on a laser cutter. 

View all instructions

Enjoy this project?



ele wrote 03/21/2022 at 16:50 point

Very cool looking display.

It would be nice to know what you used for the display, the driver(arduino?), a schematic, code, etc. The assembly instructions are a bit brief.

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Bram wrote 03/22/2022 at 08:51 point

Well, i can be short on this. I used a "USB fan clock" and took it apart. Nothing more then that. No added driver, arduino, code or schematics needed. 

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ele wrote 03/22/2022 at 13:20 point

Sorry, I thought you had built the "USB fan clock". Didn't realize it was a product I could purchase. Looks cool though, very Steam Punk.

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rbairos wrote 03/16/2022 at 18:01 point

Great project! Looks beautiful. One suggestion,  the displayed standard clock hands looks somewhat normal for such a great piece.
Seems like it should have a futuristic minority-report UI instead (or whatever's feasible in such a small resolution).

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Bram wrote 03/17/2022 at 08:51 point

Yeah, i know the display looks rather old fashion but that is how technology was back in 2021

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Maximus Panin wrote 03/16/2022 at 16:04 point

Awesome stuff! Where is the diagram and assembly details?

P.s. can he lift a person into the air ? ))

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Bram wrote 03/17/2022 at 09:51 point

I've added some assembly instructions.

To answer your other question.

Well yes, it depends. Lately i visited the astroid 12DG23-X and indeed i could be lifted by the watch but only a few centimeters since the atmosfer there is very thin.

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