Galleries: Design



Radiant wall clock
ID 4011- Clock Project, Fall 2008


Overview

Besides the requirement to make a functioning clock, the only real restriction was that it had to use an analog or other mechanical mechanism. Personally, I tend to avoid using analog clocks wherever possible, preferring the simple, precise reading of a digital clock. I used this perspective, shared by many people of my generation, as the starting point for the project.


Initial Project Statement

Design an analog clock that appeals to the digital generation.


Research

Given the stylistic nature of the project, research primarily involved photographs of existing products for inspiration and precedent analysis.


Complete research (PDF format, 1.5 MB)


Initial Sketch Ideation

Radiant clock sketch ideation
Sketch Ideation   (click to open larger view in a new window)


Revised Project Statement

Design an analog clock that uses light to appeal to the digital generation.


Further Development

The following drawings explored the "radiant light" concept and led to the final design. Two drawings were done per concept, one on white paper to simulate the light effect in a bright room, and one on black paper to simulate its appearance in a dark room.

Radiant clock concept 1 drawing
(click to open a larger view in a new window)
Radiant clock concept 2 drawing
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Radiant clock concept 3 drawing
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Radiant clock concept 4 drawing
(click to open a larger view in a new window)
Radiant clock- rough exploded view
Rough exploded view

Final Design

The final design of the clock uses four spread-beam lasers and six LEDs to project its face onto the wall it hangs on. The lasers mark the "cardinal points" of a clock (12, 3, 6, and 9) while the intermediary numbers are marked in a less precise manner with LEDs. An aluminum-finish cylinder serves as the primary housing. The hour and minute hands are clear plastic, backpainted silver, and illuminated with blue LEDs from the internal mechanism. Seconds are shown in a more vague manner with a brighter spot on the central blue ring.

A rough estimate of part prices (PDF) results in an total materials cost of $9.10, which in turn would allow the clock to be sold in the $30-40 range.

Radiant clock final model, head-on view, dark room Radiant clock final model, head-on view, lit room

The final model for the project was a working model constructed primarily of layered lasercut acrylic. Lasercut polyester was used for the minute and hour hands to reduce strain on the AA-powered motor. An AC adapter supplied power to the lighting. The lasercut layers of the back provide slots for the LEDs and lasers. For the purposes of constructing the model, I built the back section to detach from the front, using magnets to hold it together. This made the wiring and solder work much easier.

Radiant clock- final model in progress
(click to open a larger view in a new window)
Radiant clock- final model in progress
(click to open a larger view in a new window)

One discrepancy between the final model and the true design is that the minute and hour hands to not light up, due to the simplified setup I used for the blue LEDs. In the model, the LEDs shine straight up from the inside to hit light-gathering internal areas of the hands, a method that proved ineffectual. In a production model, a higher-torque clock motor and a set of rotary contacts would allow for smaller LEDs to shine into thicker clear plastic hands, resulting in much better illumination. The second-hand disc on the front suffers from a similar problem, which would also be corrected in an actual production model.






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