Everyone asks about the LEGO® clock. It’s a fun thing to have on display and ticks away on the wall at precisely 1 pendulum swing per second. I set out to build a weight-driven mechanical clock made purely from Technic LEGO® parts, based on a 1:5400 reduction from the hour hand to the 8 bladed escapement wheel. But unlike conventional mechanical clocks, it also winds itself up automatically with an electric motor so you don’t need to hang around every day to wind it. The winding itself is an event, which attracts attention much like a chime or cuckoo clock.
This has been a project I’ve kept coming back to on and off and improved over several years. Now this latest one keeps good time and can run indefinitely without help, except for changing the rewind battery every few months. I have built several for friends and sent out as kits with written instructions.
For ages I thought that this might be a unique project, having tried the great Ideas Instruction Book 8880 and got inspired. Then I found that there are many other brilliant examples of LEGO® clocks on youtube, with similar features. Some are working replicas of actual timepieces and others have amazing features such as chimes.
The design has been through dozens of forms and detail developments along the way, each prototype improving aspects such as layout, compactness, reliability, durability, aesthetics and making it 100% all-Lego. But essentially I have built 4 clocks, each one better than the last, which are shown in the gallery pages. They are named R0, R1, R2, R3 & R4 out of respect for John Harrison who showed us that a clock could be accurate enough to be a navigational instrument – he had the prefix “H”. All aim for the same concept of a pure weight drive which self-winds with a motor through a differential gearing system which was used in R0 in 1997.
The features page has more information on how the wall clocks work. The design does not use the latest pieces available in LEGO®. So the kit uses the more traditional style technical pieces put together the old way. There is no attempt to go for the en-vogue ‘no studs’ view or to build a case & roof around the inner workings of the clock. These are more likely to be the pieces hanging around in your loft. I like the idea of the gears being on show and love the idea of the quintessential brick being obvious, complete with stud!
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