Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee

Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee

Dave emails:  "Hi Clayton,

How are you, I hope you are well in your part of the world.

I received plans for the Celestial Calendar from you in March and I have finally finished the project. I know it has taken me a while to do but I made it my lunch time project at work so was limited to spending a maximum of one hour per day for 5 days a week. But at least it gave me something to do in my lunch breaks lol.

I've attached some photos for you to show you my interpretation of your master piece. I hope you like it.
Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee

When I first saw a picture of the calendar my thoughts went straight to Victorian engineering. Big gears, crank wheels, levers etc. Well coming from England it's part of our heritage. So my calendar hopefully reflects that. You'll also notice I changed it from being a mechanical calendar and orrery to more of an astrological calendar. Planets moving in retrograde motion did not interest me so much (until I saw your calendar I didn't even know about retrograde motion lol). So I omitted the planet gears and added leap year and Chinese zodiac year wheels. I have made some other changes as I'm sure you will notice. I also made some of my own labels and indicators to correspond with the Victorian look. I added a little bit of Steam-punk too.
Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee
Well it now sits in my dining room at home in prime position on the wall. My good lady loves it, especially the moon phase ball.
Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee
 All creative and constructive criticism is welcome.

Take care and thank you very much for a brilliant set of well designed plans, you are The Man. 



Aloha Dave, it was a real joy looking through the pictures of your unique and beautiful CMCO.  I always enjoy seeing the creativity that other artists add to personalize their projects and make them their own.
I noticed right away the moon ball with a personality, the beautiful lettering, the addition of a leap year wheel, and the Chinese Year calendar wheel.  Kudos to you and all are Very nice, but what I REALLY loved seeing is how you pulled all those together and really Steampunked your mechanism up!  That is a genre of art that I love, and your CMCO perfectly captures the essence of Steampunk.  Congratulation on your artistry.
I absolutely love getting pictures like these that show such excellent craftsmanship and innovative artistry. 
Thank you for doing the Celestial Mechanical Calendar Orrery plans so proud.
Aloha.  Clayton

Update 9/4/13-Dave sent us a video link to his CMCO:

Thanks, Dave!!  So cool to be able to see it in action!


An Original Clock by Andi Using "A Practical Guide to Wooden Wheeled Clock Design"

#8 by Andi, his original design!

Andi writes:  "Hi Clayton, just thought I would share my new clock design as based on the gearing you described in your Practical Guide.
The pictures attached show the clock mounted temporarily at work where I can fiddle with it. I have also put a video of it up on my YouTube site http://youtu.be/YOxQzlSRbdE

As you can see I took the “eight day” theme all the way with the design of the frame hence the name #8.
The amount of weight needed was at first quite disconcerting so rather than use a doubling pulley system I have just used a pulley which can be mounted anywhere on the wall, luckily for me my walls at home are actually just high enough that I can mount it to allow the drop for an eight day run time. I must admit all my previous clocks do tend to stay dormant unless I am in the mood to wind them. The once a week wind is fabulous, this is one clock that will be in permanent motion. Just need some space on a wall to mount it! Will have to talk nicely to the wife to move some pictures lol. 

The length of pendulum is 74in. I had originally thought to use your 3 click wind mechanism but forgot this when I cut the wind gear which has a “four spoke” design, so I had to design a 4 click mechanism and also beefed it up for the weight it was to support. I used a second rewind barrel geared 1:1 with the driven one but with half the diameter so the drop of the counter weight could be straight down. The dial is my first attempt at segmenting and I am very happy with the result, the numbers are 1/8 brass rod inserted end on which though took a while to do but looks very pleasing, worth the effort. As the weight needed to drive was so much the actual length of the weight tube restricted the running of the clock by almost a day! So, cut this into 3 and mounted into wooden end supports. Using the pulley above the clock helps to support the weight of the clock its self, a bonus. The shape of the frame just shouted for a chime to be mounted on the right so I used a short length of copper tube and using just a wooden hammer makes an understated “ding” but works nicely and isn’t too loud.
The original design was to have used a grasshopper escapement of my own but I had to revert back to the graham escapement due to the fact the swing needed of the pendulum was just a bit too much. I think this is due to the fact I tried to design the escapement to the dimensions I had for the frame i.e. the centre of the escapement is close to the escapement gear, with the tooth spacing I used it needed to be further away to reduce the angle of pendulum swing needed. All good learning though and it also got me to understand how the design of the graham escapement works. Perhaps on my new clock I can get the grasshopper to work.
Cheers for the book, a great read and an inspiration for my own workman like design ;)"


Andi, that is SO Very Excellent!!!  I love the creativity you show in this brand new "Andi" design!  I love the wood you used for the frame and reading about how you overcame the little bumps in the path to creating this beautiful clock.

Yes, the grasshopper is not only one that usually has a huge swing to the pendulum, but it also is an energy hog.  The two grasshopper escape clock designs that I offer have about double the required drive weight of the Graham's...so not a good choice for an 8 day with high weight requirements already.  

I have a different kind of grasshopper escapement in my latest research clock.  The two grasshoppers that I now offer are "Push-Pull" mechanisms.  This new one is a Push-Push.  It is designed after the very first grasshopper that Harrison created.  He later graduated to using the push pull exclusively.

I've attached a short vid.  You'll see not only the weird "parallelogram" grasshopper, but also a balanced compound pendulum, Geneva wheel hour indicator that's run off of the revolving minute wheel.  It is also set up for a seconds hand, but that's not on it right now.  I had trouble keeping it running on the weight I thought it should have, and it lost its seconds hand in all the modifications.  When in reality I had to admit that ALL grasshoppers are energy hogs.  I hung more weight on it and it's been performing excellently...which is the long way around saying that you decision NOT to use a grasshopper in your 8-day was most assuredly a good one.

Thanks for the wonderful pix, vid and story of your build.  Well done(!), and congratulations.



Marble Strike, Revisited

Marble Strike Clock by John Hilgenberg
 Clayton has finally released the Marble Strike Clock from the Masochist's Corner group of plans! 
Marble Strike Clock by John Hilgenberg
Formerly, the Marble Strike was relegated to the spot on our website where only those with proven experience were given a key to be able to purchase plans.  Plans in Masochist's Corner had no instructions or materials list--you were on your own--thus the requirement for previous experience.  But by Clayton's admission, the Marble Strike was in Masochist's Corner NOT because of difficulty, but because he was too lazy to write instructions for it!

Marble Strike by John Hilgenberg
This week, Clayton mixed a little more regular cofee into his half-caf, and finally wrote instructions for it.  The Marble Strike can now be safely unleashed onto the public!

You really must see what other clever clockmakers have done with Clayton's plan here: Flickr Marble Strike Pool  Gorgeous.

The Marble Strike is also now available in paper plans by mail or dxf format via email.  See our website for details.