Author Dave DeWitt, Editor ManufacturingStories®
To make this clock project even more fun I printed the dial with “Glow in the Dark” filament. During the day the numbers are bright blue (or whatever color you choose to paint them). At night the numbers and hands appear black on the greenish glowing dial. (at least until the stored light energy runs out – a good STEM – PHYSICS discussion point with your kids or students)
Of course you can always customize the dial and the stand by adding text or other artwork either raised or engraved using your own CAD design software. The program I use routinely and really like is TinkerCAD. It’s FREE, cloud based, runs in any browser on any computer with internet access and is super easy for kids to learn and use.
I’ve placed the .stl files along with a fully itemized bill of materials with vendors and the assembly instructions in a dropbox folder HERE Have FUN!
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THE BACKSTORY on this project…
….This summer my son and grandson visited us here in Dublin, NH. My grandson is an avid LEGO builder, Millennium Falcon, Death Star etc.. So I thought it would be fun for us to build a working machine together. We built a PRUSA i3 MK2s 3D printer kit. (NOTE – the MK2s has been recently upgraded to the MK3). It took us about ten hours total in four two and one half hour sessions. The build and calibration went really well with only one minor hiccup along the way. We celebrated each night with ice cream sundaes and a movie!
So what does this have to do with clocks you are probably wondering…. Around 1980 I began a hobby making clocks out of tiles and selling them at craft fairs. On January 24 1984 Apple introduced the Macintosh computer. I decided to upgrade my Atari 800 to a Mac.
Using a Mac graphics program I designed custom clock dials, printed them in black and white, laminated the prints to foam core and finally added the clock components and a wooden frame. My son and I would go to craft fairs on the weekends where I sold the clocks and he sold baseball cards. (Often he sold more in cards than I did in clocks!) However, as Macs got bigger, more powerful and began supporting color the custom clock dials became more popular. I added pictures of local tourist attractions like covered bridges, light houses and historical New England buildings. In 1990 I left my last “Corporate” manufacturing job and started my own manufacturing company making and selling souvenir clocks and fridge magnets. The process of digitally designing, printing and die cutting full color products in small quantities with very fast turn around lent itself to many other product categories besides clock dials and the business grew. In 2012 I sold Time Frame and started ManufacturingStories® as a retirement project to promote manufacturing as a career option for high school students. One thing led to another and I soon added STEM Education to the promoted content. I also began volunteering in our local middle school with technology projects. The latest project was having students design items using TinkerCAD. I printed the designs out in my workshop on a FlashForge Finder and dropped them back off at the school once a week. (The Finder is a real workhorse, easy to transport and very reliable – However NO heated bed)
After my son returned home to North Carolina he set up a TinkerCAD account for the family. The grand kids began designing a whole bunch of items. I printed the items out and mailed them to NC once a week. This brings me to the present day and back to the original “Clock” story line. My son sent me a text message with a link to a TinkerCAD design he had worked up for me. “Dad I know you like clocks. How about this?” The dial he designed is the one I used for this project!!
About the Author:
I’ve been involved with manufacturing from an early age as my dad ran a manufacturing plant for a large toy company. My key interests are manufacturing, business and STEM education.
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