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Guy Marsden
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David Bruckenstein
Flames Clock

November 2019




This is my fourth collaborative project with Dave Bruckenstein aka "The Crazy Clock Guy".  We call this one the Flames Clock it is an extrapolation from the previous Light Guide Clock.  This one pushes the acrylic light guide rods out of the base and up into a spiral.  The time is shown by reading the blue lit rod as the hours, and the red one as the minutes - to the nearest 5.  So in the image above it is 10:10 with the shortest rod being 1:00 or 0 minutes if lit red.

We spent many weeks evolving the design and Dave rendered each iteration until we both had a design that we found pleasing. 
(click on any of  the images below to embiggen)
Below is the final design specification that I worked from, the dimensions were largely dictated by the 6" diameter acrylic tube and the 1/2" rods.  Dave trusted me to make judgment call on the fly, and I sent him progress pictures throughout the process so he could be fully invested.  (He lives in North Carolina, and I'm in Maine).
The first step of the fabrication process was to turn the walnut wood base.  I got a couple of "wood bowl blanks" from eBay - these are nicely prepared pieces of wood that are ideal for making wood bowls.
On my wood lathe I turned the wood to a clean cylinder, then cut a recess for the acrylic cylinder, and then opened up the bottom for the electronics.
We had decided to use the same electronics as we did in the last clock.  In fact we committed to 3 circuit boards to bring the cost down and also to create a "standardized format" for future designs.
I drilled holes for the acrylic rods through both the 1/2" black acrylic top and the wood base.
I then turned the ends of the rods to put a bevel on the end so that when it is viewed from the side the light would be more visible when it is lit up.  At one point we considered cutting rings into the edges - and even considered groups of 4 rings that would represent the hand position in binary but decided that was just too geeky!  In the picture below left the wide ring represents a "1" and the narrow ones a "0".
Final assembly involved screwing all the parts together and then dropping the rods in from the top so they slide down into the base where they touch the LEDs.  The final result is very pleasing to both of us!
I love it when a plan comes together!

Visit Dave's web site:
DAB's Clocks

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