Wooden Clock - a step up from making drink coasters

My Wooden Clock project is getting close to completion - it’s very satisfying to finally get it working after more than a little effort.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s certainly a step-up from making coasters & turning wood into sawdust. Made entirely from wood, brass & steel rods & a few ball bearings (plus a few kg’s of lead for the drive weight).

I’ve only had it ticking for a couple of days, but it’s only losing a minute or so over 24 hours which is pretty good considering how many changes I’ve made from the original specs. I’ll tweak the pendulum length little more once it’s mounted, but I’m feeling pretty pleased with it at the moment - time will tell how sturdy & reliable it’ll be…

Wooden Clock1.mp4 (8.3 MB)

Later edit (forgot to acknowledge the designer) - for plans and more clock designs, please see http://www.woodenclocks.co.uk/index.htm. If these don’t get you motivated, I’m not sure what will. I’m currently making Clock 22 (although I’ve altered many internal bits & pieces to match the bearings, shafts & stuff I had available.



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Really excellent David :smile:

Thanks. Hopefully it’ll be on a wall in a day or two.

Brilliant, wooden clock making was one of the reasons I bought the XCarve.
Did you cut all of the gears on the XC?
How did you convert the dxf files to svg?
What material did you use for gears?

Very nice! I picked up the plans for the Secundus clock from http://www.woodentimes.com/ and have been meaning to get back around to making it. Yours looks fantastic!

Truly impressive.

Over on the Shapeoko forum, there is a great thread on building a clock by a self styled clock builder. He has the plans and walks you through every step. Well worth the read if you are into making clocks or want to start making clocks.


Thanks everyone.

@RobertMatusiewicz - I’m using VCarve to create the gcode and the plans come with a 1000mmx1000mm PDF of all the items which can be simply opened in VCarve and then tweaked as necessary. VCarve is a great program, however I’m embarrassed at how much I paid for it (in Australia we pay way too much for software). If you can afford it though, it really is pretty good.

The majority of the clock is made from from plywood. The front and back frames are 12mm hardwood marine ply and the gears are mostly 9mm ply.

I had a few dramas trying to find brass rod & bearings to suit, so I made many changes to the original plans to accommodate different bearing sizes, different shaft sizes etc. but if you’re methodical, it’s no big deal.

@PJTX - Making something like this is a great project and suits the X Carve perfectly. My machine is pretty much original apart from the DeWalt I’ve added to it. Keep in mind of course that cutting out all the bits is about 10% of the work needed to get it running. Using plywood and having the X Carve whenever you need it, means any errors can be replaced at minimal cost and in only a few minutes.

Like all these types of things, this took several weeks (on weekends) to build & now having made it, I reckon I could build a second one in just a few days.

It’s now pretty much finished and hanging on the wall (video below) - looks even better than I’d hoped.

Wooden Clock1.mp4 (8.3 MB)

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That’s unbelievably cool! I’ve got the plans from Clayton Boyer for his Simplicity clock which I can’t wait to make. He generously gave me permission to show how to build one of his gears so I’ll be doing a tutorial/video on mine. I love that escapement.


I bought the plans to Clayton Boyers Marble Strike Clock. I managed to get all the different pages to plans pulled out so that vcarve can open it better. I too am running into issues finding someplace that sells brass tube and solid brass pieces. Im glad to see I’m not alone trying to build a clock. Good Luck!


How did you convert the plans into a form suitable for cutting on the XC?
Did you use Inkscape or VCarve?

Hey @RobertMatusiewicz,

I’ve had Clayton’s plans for over 5 years. When I first got them, I was planning on using a scrollsaw, so I drew up the plans in AutoCAD by hand-measuring the hard-copies he sent me in the mail. I’ve always been afraid of those because a little inaccuracy will have a serious affect on the clock.

Since then, he offers the plans in a DXF format, which is very cool. He emailed me them for free since I’d already purchased the plans, which is great customer service in this day and age.

Once I realized I would be ordering an X-Carve, I contacted him to ask if I could take one gear and use it for a tutorial, showing the process of how to build the clock, but only releasing the design of a single one of his gears, so as not to give away the whole design. He got back to me immediately saying that he already has a “demo” gear that he gives out for free to people that are hesitant about being able to make one of his clocks. So I’m using that gear for the tutorial and video(s). I’ve already been able to convert the DXF to an SVG and import it into Easel! :smiley:


I used Vcarve to generate code. The plans came with a single 1000x10000mm pdf showing all the profile cuts. I imported this into vcarve as a 1000x1000 project and just cut the bits I needed

Very simple indeed.

Everything seems to point to VCarve as being a must have.
I am having a play with Meshcam at the moment but the next thing may be to set up a PC emulator on my Mac and load VCarve.

You could easily use Easel and import an SVG to cut these.

Everything about VCarve is pretty good - except the price.
I’ve thought about Fusion 360 as an alternative, but had no time to play with it.

Sketch42, you may well be right about Easel but it requires a level of knowledge that I do not have. I have tried importing SVG files from Inkscape but keep getting a “We can’t import sag text message…” I have tried deleting text but get the same message.
The “help” notes in Easel say
Inkscape. Select all objects and use keyboard command ctrl+shift+C…it neglects to say what to do next because I have tried saving, exporting after that command and it still doesn’t work. To someone that knows about this stuff the answer may be simple but this is new to me and, tbh, I have better things to do than waste time trying to figure out how to use a piece of software that doesn’t have a manual and where the help notes are less than helpful. There are extensive notes on the stuff that is really intuitive e.g. how to draw a square etc but anything more complex than that and the notes are not of sufficient depth to educate the user on anything other than very basic basics.

If I need to use an intermediary system to convert a DXF to SVG and Easel doesn’t readily import the resultant output I may as well get a third party software solution that does it.

@RobertMatusiewicz I’d be keen to find out how you go running VCarve on your Mac. I run it on my work laptop pic (my house is full of macs) but I’m returning the pc and so was thinking of buying a cheap & nasty laptop just for VCarve.

Whatever solution you come up with, it needs to be reasonably simple. It’s exceptionally frustrating to spend lots of time on a single gear only to damage it and have to start all over again (and again, and again…).

Being able to say “oh well” (expletives are optional) and then quickly cut another is pretty important in being able to see the project through to completion.

If generating code and then getting it cut is time consuming and difficult, is suspect some may get disheartened.

Providing people purchase the appropriate rights to the plans they’re using and we’re not breaching copyright or stealing the intellectual property of others, I’m happy to assist someone in getting useable code for their machine to cut their jobs. If they’re game enough to to run somebody else’s code on their machine…