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!