Hanging chain clocks

Ticktock Showroom's handmade "Timing Chain" clocks are a really appealing way of telling time. They run $100, and you'll need 26" of clearance below them for the chain-hang.

Innovative chain driven clocks suitable for home or office. These clocks feature laser-cut acrylic numerals and motor mounts. They keep accurate time by using industrial synchronous A/C motors, featuring a visible gearset. Designed to be wall-mounted, each clock is about 44 inches tall, and the number chain hangs 26 inches below the drive sprocket. The clocks are pre-assembled, as the assembly of the chain requires tools that are not commonly found in most homes. The numerals and motor mounts may be ordered in any color available on the ponoko material list.


    1. Exactery what I was thinking.  It should be represented like a clock face and there could be a secondary chain with 00-59 in smaller numerals for the minutes.

  1. I kind of the like the surreality of counter-clocks. I think the chain drive is just fine in the direction it is in.

  2. “Handmade,” using laser-cut and industrial components which can’t be assembled by the end users.

    Curse my common hands.

    1. Their particular offering appears to not be available in kit form; but(aside from the motor module, which I’m pretty sure they got right off the shelf, along with screws, bushings, the chain, etc.), I don’t see anything that couldn’t be duplicated with a jigsaw, a chain tool, and a modest collection of drill bits and screwdrivers…

      I’m assuming that the chain tool(especially if the chain is a different size than a common bicycle chain) is the presumed sticking point. 

  3. It’s tricky… While the ‘numbers’ go in the wrong direction, the ‘thing that moves’ goes in the right direction. Since these are one and the same, a design choice must be made… I think I’d prefer it this way, but it’s difficult to say for certain without actually seeing it work, and whether my instinct would be to read quarter of or quarter past, when one comes up… I do wish there were more minute-less clocks out there, though…

  4. One thing I’d be wary of when creating this is that 11 and 12 are heavier than most numbers. Unless all the numbers were close enough in weight that the motor’s torque makes it irrelevant, half the day will pass faster than expected, and half slower.

    1. If the motor is under-spec, that would be an issue; but ‘synchronous’ motors, by design, run at a speed determined by the frequency of the drive current unless overloaded, when they stall.

      Given the plummeting cost of doing things with silicon, sensors, and a little feedback cleverness, you could probably make something like this work(particularly given how coarse the resolution of the ‘display’ is), with a normal brushless motor and a driver circuit that counted links as they passed and sped up or slowed down as needed; it might even be cheaper to do it that way.

      A synchronous motor, though, handles the compensation for changes in load, within its limits, purely by electromagnetic cleverness…

    2. It’s a synchronous A/C motor, so it’s synchronised to the mains frequency (50 or 60hz) and thus turns at a constant speed independent of torque.

  5. Man, I had plans to build something almost identical to this even before this idea was first published on BB two years ago, and I still havem’t done so now that it’s been posted a second time. Sigh… too many projects and too little time. I have, finally, bought a high-torque clock motor for it.

    At least these commercial versions have dropped in price — the one posted two years ago was over $2000. That said, that one was a lot prettier. This is perfect — the one I am going to make would probably have looked more like this, but now that I can see them side-by-side, I can decide whether I ought tocompress and hide my gearing.

  6. Email from the maker:

    Due to overwhelming demand, I am temporarily out of the pre-built clocks.  I am in the process (yes, I’m a one-man shop, with a day job) of building more, but the building process takes about 10 business days, depending on how quickly ponoko can produce the laser-cut parts. 

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