Tag Archives: RTC

Time Weights 4 !Man clock

My latest project is the “Time Weights” Clock.

As it sounds, the time is presented as the height of three moving weights representing the current time hours, minutes and seconds. The twist is that each of the weights are connected on one long continuous loop that is reeled in and spooled out on demand. The software determines the correct position of each of the weights based on the time and the geometry of the design, and turns each of the three stepper motors accordingly. It takes into account that each weight much also pass on the additional belt required by the more significant time element(s). Additional consideration is given to account for the difference in belt length around the stepper drive pulley and the weight pulley based on the vertical height of each weight.

An interesting mathematical problem to model and solve, indeed!

Time Weights

Time Weights: In progress. The three steppers driving the single continuous belt show hours, minutes and seconds. The spooling system, seen on the right, allows the excess belt to be spooled up while also allowing it to be played out as needed.

Here’s a (crappy) video showing the work in progress and the successfully operating spooling mechanism that was cobbled together from an old tape measure.

The video shows the spooling mechanism reeling in belt slack as the seconds weight crosses the minute boundary.

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LightWriter Cricket

Hard on the heels of the LightWriter Clock project, comes my latest creation – LightWriter Cricket. This little critter writes the time with light onto a phosphorescent screen, and like the LightWriter, the displayed time just fades away until it is rewritten at the next minute. And, mirroring the ephemeral perception of time, each specific moment quickly fades into the past.

Here, LightWriter Cricket is seen writing out the time 14:13. Notice how quickly the display fades away such that the hours are almost totally invisible by the time the minutes are written.

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LightWriter Clock: Resurrected?

The original idea for the LightWriter Clock was to play with the ephemeral nature of time – in that each specific measurement of its passing quickly fades into the past. In a very literal way, this clock writes out digits of the time onto a phosphorescent media which then slowly fade away.

Here’s the latest and long awaited update of the LightWriter Clock project, and yes, I did paint the body a lurid shade of lime! (Why, because I can! or at least had a can?)

The final design is covered with a sheet of clear acrylic, the bottom section of which is painted with several coats of a phosphorescent spray paint. Every 3 minutes, the LightWriter bursts into life articulating the two arms to write out, using a UV laser, the four digits of the time, in 24 hour format, onto the phosphorescent coating.

LightWriter Clock

LightWriter Clock

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Continuing the theme of examining metaphors for the measurement of, and perception of, time, the ROUND ABOUT Clock makes concrete the response to “What time is it?” … which may be…  “it’s a round about eleven twenty five”.

Round About

Round About Clock: displaying 11:25 PM

A rotating face – the “round-about” – and a periphery of lights combine to replace the hands of a traditional analogue clock such that time is displayed both spatially and through continual movement. (I plan to design a new and larger top disc for the “round-about” to have the lights fully illuminate the numerals, but as a prototype, this is quite functional.)

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LightWriter Clock – reborn

The initial LightWriter Clock was designed to play with the notion of the ephemeral nature of time. The current time is “written” with light onto a phosphor-coated panel, such that the image of the time slowly fades away before the new time is written.

“Such are the metaphors we live with, Grasshopper!”

The original unit was designed and built almost a year ago yet has sat gathering dust for all that time (no pun intended). Now, with a new paint job (yes, really!) it is ready to be reborn.

LightWriter Clock

LightWriter Clock

Watch this space…
Video of the LightWriter Clock in action coming soon

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“Time Flies Like An Arrow
Fruit Flies Like A Banana”

This little ditty has always made me chuckle, and especially so when I see the penny drop and someone suddenly gets the joke. So, what better than to design another clock covered with fruit flies. In fact, they are so numerous and voracious that every minute they eat and fly away with the pixels of each of the clock digits. The more digits that change, the more flies arrive to eat them!

Time Flies Clock

Time Flies Clock


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