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Build A Clock In One Hour for $1


The Clock Front And Back



Yes, it is true! This page describes how to build a neat little clock in about an hour with your CNC machine for about a buck. Interested? Read on!


You will need the following items:


        CNC Router or Mill

        Band Saw, Scroll Saw or similar

        Spiral Up Cut Router Bit (to pocket the back)

        Engraving cutter (to machine the numbers)

        11/32" Drill Bit(to drill clock shaft hole)

        thick chunk of wood at least 9 square

        Stain or Paint of your choice

        Varnish or Polyurethane

        Dollar Store Clock (for the mechanism)

        AA battery

        1 hour of your time ;-)


The process is very simple:


  1. Download the GCODES for the front and back. Modify them for feed rate and depth of cut (refer to the comments I have put in the GCODES). Once you are happy with the GCODES, select the stock you want to use for the clock. I used pine and was very happy with the result. The finished clock will be about 6 round, but you need some room to clamp, so probably 8 or 9 square would be ideal.
  2. Drill the clock mechanism shaft hole. Locate the best figure in the wood and drill a 11/32 hole in the centre.
  3. Machine the back pocket. Clamp the wood to the machine good side down, and load the ClockBack.txt GCODE file. Locate your spiral up cut cutter in the centre of the hole, one paper thickness above the stock.

  1. Machine the front numbers. Flip the stock over and locate the engraving cutter in the centre of the hole one paper thickness above the stock. Load the ClockFront.txt GCODE file. Engrave the letters.

  1. Cut out the clock. Decide on what you want the clock to look like. I used a compass and drew a circle around the numbers. I used a 3 radius, but I think a 3 radius would be better. Cut out the clock with a scroll saw, band saw or coping saw. Yes, you could also have the CNC Router cut out the clock as well - go for it!
  2. Sand the clock. Sand off the burrs around the edge of the back pocket, lightly sand the front (with the grain) and the edges.
  3. Stain or paint. If you stain, the numbers will show up darker. If you paint, you may want to paint the numbers a contrasting colour. Varnish or Polyurethane is a good idea if you stain.
  4. Remove mechanism from the dollar store clock. Carefully remove the hands and then unscrew the small nut holding the clock mechanism to the cheap clock. Remove any hot glue that they used to fasten the clock. It is now ready to be born again in your clock!
  5. Insert the mechanism. There should be about 1/8 of material between the front and the back of the pocket. This is just right to give the nut something to grab, without showing lots of threads. First put on the small washer, then the nut. Next the Hour hand, Minute hand and then the second hand. Insert the AA battery and set the time.
  6. Sit back and enjoy your new clock.


The Clock Front And Back



This clock design is released free of charge to the Internet CNC population by Steven Manzer October 2003. Note that the photo of the front looks like the clock is not centered - that is a due to holding the camera off to the side to reduce my shadow. The clock is in the center of the stock.If you have difficulty finding the clock drop me an email. I may still have some extras kicking around for a modest amount.

If more people share, we all win!




Viewed: times since October 1, 2003