Hacked Gadgets Forum

March 31, 2007

Ball Bearing Clock

at 2:52 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, Insane Equipment

I could think of about a hundred ways to make a simpler clock, but this Ball Bearing Clock looks fantastic. Video after the jump.

 

"I though about building a clock with a pendulum activated by the fall of bearing balls. The first thing to design was the engine which was to sustain the pendulum’s oscillation: how to get enough energy from a ball to make this possible? The balls had to be heavy enough to run a stable course but their size obviously determines the clock’s size. As a trade-off between weight and size I arbitrarily picked a 19.8 millimetre diameter for the balls. I could picture the running clock in my mind, and I believed I could complete it in three months… The engine’s first prototypes were just unbelievable, at that time I thought that I needed as much gain as possible to achieve the largest possible amplitude: after a month of effort I had achieved a 60 centimetre swing with a 1 meter pendulum. That’s when I stumbled across an old physics book from 1894 which explained that the isochronism of oscillations is only true for small amplitudes, not large ones. A month of work for nothing. I was now left with the reverse problem to solve: achieving the smallest possible amplitude with 20-millimetre balls. It took me another month to design the final version of the engine. "

 

This article is sponsored by Shanghai Lily Bearing Manufacturing a Ball Bearing supplier.

 

 

 


 

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23 Responses to “Ball Bearing Clock”

  1. gromeo Says:

    OMG!

  2. Elbarfo Says:

    OK, that is cool in the oldest-school way possible! Absolutely amazing!

  3. Dan Says:

    cool but why do you need somthing that big to tell you what time it is wht you can have a wristwatch that tells you what time it is to the exact billasecond and never goes off? its called a watch hooked up to the atomic clock? well anyways, very interesting and great job!

  4. Daz Says:

    that is so stupid its amazing what a kwl idea … shame about the noise and huge size ! but its still COOL !

  5. Jack Says:

    Fantastic. This clock is really amazing.

  6. MAKE: Blog Says:

    Malevoz (rolling balls clock)

    Marcel writes – In November 1997, I though about building a clock with a pendulum activated by the fall of bearing balls. The first thing to design was the engine which was to sustain the pendulum’s oscillation: how to…

  7. Mike Says:

    Very cool! Those look like pinball sized bearings (1.125″) or so. I have a pinball machine and just getting six of those banging around makes quite the racket. I can’t imagine how loud this clock would be with them all slamming around on the brass bars/etc.

  8. Deadly Computer Blog » Ball Bearing Clock Says:

    [...] Hacked Gadgets has this is an interesting clock, it used 19 mm diameter ball bearings to tell the time.  I’m sure it’s overly complicated, and overly expensive, but it is interesting nonetheless. video and another picture after the click: [...]

  9. Mizzouse.com » Amazing Ball Bearing Clock Says:

    [...] This is by far the coolest clock you’ll see today (or this year, for that matter).  A DIY guru at hackedgadets.com has put together this massive work of machinery that keeps itself ticking using ball bearings.  It’s not available commercially, but it really ought to be (not that I could ever afford it, though). [...]

  10. Gizmodo Says:

    L’Anchrone: Amazing Clock Has Balls

    This is one amazing clock. Called L’Anchrone, its pendulum is activated by the weight of falling ball bearings. The guy took well over 18 months to design and build this intricate masterpiece, going through multiple design convolutions and even…

  11. My Geek News: All the latest news, just for Geeks! Says:

    [...] With all of the clinking and clanking noises this thing makes, it’s certainly not the kind of clock you’d want in your bedroom, but it’s just the kind of fascinating Rube Goldberg machine that becomes even more rare and exceptional as technology marches on. It’s all mechanical, consisting of 1,600 parts weighing a total of 660 pounds. It’s a beautiful work of art in motion. – Charlie White galleryPost(’ball_clock’, 4, ‘Ball Bearing Clock’); L’Anchrone [Betrisey.ch, via Hacked Gadgets] [...]

  12. point Says:

    thats great. thanks for info.

  13. Gizmodo Japan(ギズモード・ジャパン) Says:

    ピタゴラそうちのような時計『L’Anchrone』とマルセル君(動画)

    「なんて不器用な子なんだ」 先生もサジを投げる落第生だった、フランスのシオンに住…

  14. Clark Hummell Says:

    Is anyone else reminded of the game “Mousetrap?”

  15. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hey Clark, I didn’t think of mousetrap. But now that you mention it I wonder where the falling cage is. :)

  16. Funny, Cool and Weird - Newgadgets.info » Blog Archive » L’Anchrone: Amazing Clock Has Balls Says:

    [...] With all of the clinking and clanking noises this thing makes, it’s certainly not the kind of clock you’d want in your bedroom, but it’s just the kind of fascinating Rube Goldberg machine that becomes even more rare and exceptional as technology marches on. It’s all mechanical, consisting of 1,600 parts weighing a total of 660 pounds. It’s a beautiful work of art in motion. – Charlie White galleryPost(’ball_clock’, 4, ‘Ball Bearing Clock’); L’Anchrone [Betrisey.ch, via Hacked Gadgets] [...]

  17. Hexypoo Says:

    This project must have cost a fortune. I’m used to all of my tinkering having to be done on a shoe string budget. Just kinda makes me wonder where some of these project get funded.

  18. Alonline » Big ball-bearing clock Says:

    [...] I’m not sure how you tell time with this monster, or whether I could stand the noise of it operating. However, I do know that I really want one of these amazing clocks, just because it is so very, very cool. It beats the desktop ball-bearing clock by a large magnitude – could you imagine having a contraption like this in your hall? I want one! [...]

  19. Trish Says:

    I think youir ball bearing clock is great. I too have a ball bearing clock – bulk manufactor – and I have stripped one of the cogs and haven’t been able to find a replacement. The clock innards is made of black plastic for the ball bearings to run down on and is covered by a clear plastic top. There are three units to make up. seconds, minutes and hours. Do you know of this clock. It would be wonderful if I could get the stripped clog – made of hardened plastic – replaced. Keep thinking up new clocks, I think you are a genious.

  20. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Trish,

    Thanks but I have only featured it here, I am not the talented designer. Click on the link in the article to go to the designers site.

  21. Trish Says:

    thanks for that info. keep up the good work, kind regards, Trish

  22. Deborah Says:

    Please could you help me. my husband would love to make a ball bearing clock. Is there any where i could buy akit of some sort? It is his 50th Birthday soon and this would be a great present. I would be so gratefull with any info.

    Regards Deborah

  23. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Deborah,

    I am not sure that this one is for sale. There is a link in the article that will provide you some more information. I guess most things are available for the right price. :)

    If you would settle for something that is not that elaborate have a look at this clock.
    http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/10/27/time-machine-ball-be.html

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