I spent the past two days at the fab lab designing the clock backing, and I've learned a lot so far. My intention was to build a 12.53" outer diameter ring (1m in circumference) in 4 parts using the CNC machine, then laser cut a 13" diameter circle out of 1/8" plywood for the backplate.
However, the CNC machine seemed to be having issues because it kept skittering around on the wood. Since the only staff member who knew how it worked was away (it was originally an art installation), I decided to try something different.
Next, I tried using the laser engraver to cut the pattern out of plywood as a stencil to use on the router. But the router kept cracking the board so much that the pieces were unusable.
Lastly, I tried 3D printing the pieces. One of the staff members was nice enough to convert the SVG to a model and let it print overnight, so I'll see tomorrow how it turned out.
The one thing that did work on the first try was laser cutting the backplate. I had to do it in 2 pieces because the laser cutter couldn't handle such a big circle. Even though I would have preferred one piece, I like the Death Star-esque look.