Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pythagoras Clock Finished

PythagosasFront PythagorasLeft

Projects need to be finished and this one is!. At the end is a very nice clock but not as quiet as I would like for a night table. It is quiet but still have a small hum as the coil is actuated with Pulse Width Modulation. I Could make it better but it would need a lot of electronics.

I will work in an alternative using a hobby RC servo motor,  actually something like a robotic arm pushing the escapement! but this will be another history…

It looks beautiful in my dining room buffet!


  1. Carlos,
    looks really great! Started to watch your Blog a few weeks ago while I stumbled over it scanning the internet for "wood" and "clocks".
    As an electrical engineer I especially like the idea to combine wooden architecture with an electrical drive in your design. Unique as far as what I saw so far.

    I designed my own CNC router (80x60x25cm) and finished building it lately. Because of the DIY design it's constantly "under construction" ;-) So I'm not in the production mode yet.
    For clock design I'm a complete beginner. Got the "how to design" script from Clayton Boyer though and almost didn't stop reading before the end.

    Looking forward to see more from you!

    kind regards
    Michael (Switzerland)

    1. Michael,

      Thanks for your comment. My background is also electrical engineering!. Boyer's guide is a must to read!

      After 25+ years as a industrial machine designer I learned that even in DIY projects you need to set a final point and stop redesigning. My recommendation is to stop looking for "perfection" on your CNC and start milling things and slowly modify or adding new features to the original design as you need for each part requirements as they come.

      I also recommend you get this software will make your life easier!.


  2. Hi Carlos,

    don't worry. I'm not over-designing. I had EMC problems with my stop switches when the router needed more "juice". The reason was that I made a first very quick-and-dirty setup to check whether my tool chain and the whole design worked as intended or whether I missed a substantial point somewhere. I even used some plywood because it was easier and faster to handle. But it worked!
    Now I'm trying to get my machine more sturdy and EMC-stable. As I said: I'm not in production mode yet. ...but soon! ;-)
    Thanks, found this already. But actually I'm trying to understand Gearotic ( As far as I can see it can handle even complete gear trains incl. escapements and gears in non-cyclic shapes. I understood that the author is Art Fenerty, the author of Mach3. He retired in 2004 so I'm surprised he's still coding. One thing to look up to when it's my turn in 15 years ;-)


  3. Retirement? :) I'm 64 and I don't think I will retire for a while... At least until my two kids finish the university, two or three years more…

    Gearotic is very nice piece software. I have been tempted to buy it for some time but until I don’t add a 4th axis to my toy I will wait.

    For what you are explaining your machine will be quite a complex homemade machine with tool change!

    Are you using servos or stepper motors?
    Which motion controller are you using?


  4. Mine are 14 and 12 so I guess I will be close to retirement until they finish university either ;-)

    >>Tool change
    Oops misunderstanding. I said tool chain. Meaning from CAD to CAM to GCode to my Mach3 controller SW to the stepper motors. As far as I am/was completely new to the topic I wanted to understand the data flow and interfaces as fast as possible. And for motivational purpose I wanted to see my machine moving soon ;-)

    The base 'chassis' is made of aluminum profiles which makes it pretty stable. The connecting elements for my gantry design are made of plywood (for now). I used 10mm plywood which is also astonishingly stable. I got 1 stepper motor for Y and Z. X is driven by a motor on each side of the gantry [I made same bad experience of the gantry wobbling around while using only one motor on one side for X ;-) ].
    As a beginner I made it myself easy and got a CNC set from China via Ebay with power supply, 4 NEMA23 stepper motors and the driver electronics for the stepper motors. Look for "cnc set" on ebay and you might get the idea. The motors are directly connected to ballscrew rods on all axis. I picked these for precision of movement. My router is a 1050W Kress router. Kress is pretty well known in the German speaking part of the world. Don't know about the rest. Right now the spindle speed needs to be set manually. But I already found some instructions for this model about how to drive this by the PWM output of Mach3. My soldering iron is hopefully heating up soon for that ;-)
    Can send you some pictures if you're interested. Can I post them here? Didn't see how.

    cu Michael

  5. ...missed that all axis are running on double linear guides.
    The frame is open (besides one connecting profile for now) so theoretically I could work on higher objects. As long as I will work on flat material now I installed a very thick MDF sheet with holes so I can use my bench dogs to clamp the pieces.


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