Oversized Brad Point Drill Holes Solution

Hello Clayton:

It looks like my 1/4" brad point drill bit is cutting a few thousands oversize.  My 1/4" brass arbors are too loose of a fit.  Have you developed a favorite method of tightening up the fit?


Aloha Tim, I have noticed that some of the better Brad point drill bits do cut oversized drill holes.  

I have two sets of drills.  One set of Brad points is from Lee Valley, and is what I use if I am going to put a number of pieces on a rod or tube.  This is because those LV bits cut oversized and the pieces to be glued together will be somewhat tight, but still easy enough to slide over the rod for glue-up.  

The other set of Brad points that I use are the cheap Vermont American "Wobble Point" bits (wobble point is not really their name, but the points do wobble.  Ha).  Those are the correct size for a true press fit.

If the fit is somewhat loose, but is not truly critical that the fit is super tight, I simply spit into the loose hole (okay...sissies can use a drop of water) and then the natural swelling of the wood fibers holds the piece to the rod.  

For something that needs a true press fit tightness, and I mistakenly drilled it with the slightly-oversized Lee Valley bits, I simply use epoxy or CA to keep the part in place on the rod.


Aloha.  Clayton


Timer Program App and Lubrication with Graphite

Simplicity by Christopher Sesco
A short time ago Christopher completed his Simplicity and sent me pictures of his wonderful build.  He was able to get his Simplicity running on 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of drive weight by substantially decreasing the internal friction in his clock, and in his email he describes what methods and materials he used to accomplish that.  Getting a Simplicity to run on such a light drive weight is an impressive accomplishment and a testament to his high level of craftsmanship.  However, in addition, he has some other really exciting information that he wanted to share with all my builders.  Below he describes how he used a free app to get the timing of his Simplicity into a truly accurate beat.

Thank you for sharing the following information, Christopher.  This is a brilliant re-purposing of the Shot Timer app.  Read on to find out how Christopher achieved such accuracy in his wooden clock...

Christopher writes...

I wanted to share with you a few things that have helped me keep her (Simplicity) running smoothly.
First, everywhere there is brass-on-brass contact I have lubricated with dry graphite. 
Next, a friend of mine informed me of a Teflon powder that piano repairmen use on piano keys. I applied a very light dusting to all wood-on-wood contact points. After a short wear in period the clock runs very smooth, on very little weight. 
Lastly,  while trying to set the clock into perfect beat, I utilized a pistol shooting timer program that I had installed on my phone. IPSC Shot timer (android) is a free app, designed for pistol shooters to record shot timing. After setting the microphone threshold sensitivity very low, it is capable of recording clock beats. This program is excellent for using on clocks. Turn it on near the clock and let it run for a moment, paying attention to the 'split time' and result table. This shows me down to the hundredth of a second each beat of the clock. 
Instead of letting her run for a few days and making a fine adjustment, I can set her in near perfect beat within a few minutes. 
It is interesting to see because you can even identify teeth that are slightly different, by slight discrepancies in the beat times. After marking and sanding down a few teeth, the clock runs beautifully.
I highly suggest this approach.

Thank you again, and keep creating your amazing designs.


Bob Brown

Many many thank-yous go to our friend and intrepid test builder, Bob Brown.  He is fearless!  We thank him for his countless hours of patient building, tinkering, testing, and valuable suggestions that have helped improve and perfect many of our plans.  Here are some of his wonderful interpretations of our designs.  Mahalo nui loa, Bob Brown.  We salute you.


Bill Miller's Fanciful Toucans

Bill Miller has been busy!  And obviously, having fun at the same time.  He started with a simple and elegant Toucan:

Toucan by Bill Miller
and then Toucan Fever hit!
Toucan by Bill Miller

Toucan by Bill Miller

Toucan by Bill Miller
Bill, we love your imagination and artistry.  Each one is a treasure.  Thanks for sharing them with us.


Frame Types and Tube Bushings

Jim emails:  "I was looking at the arbors plans for the Deco and it appears that the Wheels are a tight fit on the arbors and the arbors spin within holes drilled in the frame - is this correct?
When I built the Simplicity (still ticking, btw) some of the wheels had a tube pressed in them and that assembly spun freely on its arbor.
If I am correct about the Deco Arbors, why did you go from the tube/arbor combination to a press fit with the arbors spinning in the frame holes?  Doesn't this make the front/back frame alignment critical?  Is friction an issue?"
Thanks, Jim

Clayton:  There are basically two type of clocks that I design; plate clocks (by far the most common kind of clock) and uniframe clocks.  Genesis is a true uniframe.  ALL of the wheels of the Genesis turn on stationary arbors that are pressed into the frame:
Genesis by Clayton Boyer
Deco is a true plate clock where all of the arbors turn in the plates (frames):
Deco Built by Bob Brown
 Simplicity is a combination of these two basic clock building methods:
Simplicity by Clayton Boyer

Tubes seem to turn freely on there rods on uniframe clocks, but they do not turn as freely as simple wood hole on metal arbors.  I did the experiment with the Genesis.  One Genesis I built with tube inserts (as with the Simplicity) and on the other Genesis I just drilled the hole in the wheel and set it on the arbor.  The latter took significantly less drive weight to run the clock.  If I were ever to redesign the Simplicity I would totally eliminate the brass tubes, except for spacers and where the crutch/pallet arbor goes through the frame.  A tube is needed there for alignment.  The same is true in the Toucan.

DO NOT use brass tubes for bushings in a two plate clock.  You can read LOTS about this in my blog.  Just click on the huge word "bushings" in the right hand column.  Brass bushings are one of the two fastest ways to turn your kinetic sculpture into a still-life (the other is getting finish on the tooth surfaces).

Whenever I mount the front and back plates of a two plate clock, during the alignment process I insert rods in all of the arbor holes.  And I keep twisting them to make sure that the alignment is correct as the frames are glued and screwed in place.  Fortunately if they are not exactly aligned a simple, very slight "reaming" with a hand drill to remove the friction will solve any binding problems (but I hope that won't be necessary).

Yes, friction is always an issue in any clockworks, no matter what kind.  And the more arbors your clock design has, the more wheel sets your clock design has, the more friction is created.  Check out my Radiance one wheel clock and see how little drive weight is required to run a single wheel clock:
Radiance by Clayton Boyer

Enjoy! Clayton


Oleg's Workshop


Let's take a quick trip to Russia, shall we?  Our wonderful friend Oleg gives us a tour of his home workshop in Russia.  You'll recognize some of his beautifully-built clocks as he shows us around.  Be sure to turn up the volume. We just loved this video!  Thank you, Oleg, for showing us your part of the world!  And now know how to say "snow" in Russian:  "angliyskiy."

Oleg on a much, much warmer day.


It's a Robot Laboratory Christmas

David Delker's Creepy Bot on Christmas morning.  Looks like he wants to get into that present!

Meanwhile, Bill Miller's "Arthur the Alien" has just ridden into town:
Arthur on Creepy Bot by Bill Miller

Arthur the Alien Rides into Town by Bill Miller

Is it time for us earthlings to worry about an robot invasion?