3D-Printed Rolling Ball Clock

Clocks come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, and are a perfect way to showcase your physical hacking prowess. While this isn’t the first…

Jeremy S. Cook
a year ago

Clocks come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, and are a perfect way to showcase your physical hacking prowess. While this isn’t the first marble-based clock — in fact, it was inspired by a beautiful design conceived in the 1970s — Görkem Bozkurt’s project turns this concept into something that anyone with a rather large 3D printer should be able to construct.

His build uses a stepper motor and a clever gear mechanism to lift a ball from a bank of marbles on the bottom of the mechanism, and places it onto a 5-minute rail. When filled, the mechanism then empties and deposits a single ball onto a lower rail marked off in five-minute intervals. When this finally fills up, a similar chain reaction deposits one ball into the hour rail, allowing for a very unique timekeeping experience.

Electronics for the clock are fairly simple, with an Arduino Uno used to rotate a stepper motor through its paces. Keeping things in time requires some work with a stopwatch, but once this — and the other assembly steps — is done, you’ll have a truly mesmerizing timepiece.

Arduino code and print files are available on the project write-up, or you could create your own custom rolling ball clock based on these concepts if you feel more adventurous!

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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