Lee Vanduyn's Neck Therapy

Lee's Been Busy!

From Lee Vanduyn:   This is what I've been doing since I had my neck surgery just wanted to send some pictures I didn't know how to put them on your blog but thanks a lot for the good plans.

...and the pile keeps growing!

I love it, Lee.  You got me laughing louder with each picture!  You've really been busy with your ball winder.  That is SO GREAT.  I'm glad you love it.  Lisa loves hers, too.

Lisa had bought so many of the commercial winders that fell apart, or broke, or didn't wind properly that she asked me to design one.  We not only had fun creating this quality winder, but also, like you, had so much fun winding cakes.  Her original pile was not as large as yours though, but through the years that winder has certainly gotten a workout...and performs perfectly every time!

Lisa likes the look of hers so much it has become a wall mounted piece of "kinetic art" in her sewing room, until she needs it, and then it gets affixed to her sewing table to wind the cakes.

Thanks for these wonderful pictures and for your kind words about my plans.

I'll send these pictures over to Lisa to post to our Flickr' pool.


Aloha.  Clayton


New! Robot Laboratory

Introducing Robot Laboratory:  three simple robots powered by readily-available gearmotors, 9V batteries, and switches.  No computer parts involved!

The stars of our show:
CB Bot, Theo Bot, and Creepy Bot
And lest you think prototype testing always runs smoothly for Clayton, here's your giggle for today:
This design obviously didn't make the cut.

Robot Laboratory woodworking plans now available at www.lisaboyer.com.  Check out the customizations by our intrepid test builders on our Robot Laboratory page.


New! Journey Clock

Journey is an epicyclic, hypocycloidal, remontoir-driven, Congreve-like, tabletop clock.  It's also mesmerizing to watch.  Plans now available at www.lisaboyer.com


A Question About Wind Cord

Can you please tell me what string you've found to be successful for clocks?  Thanks, Doug

Aloha Doug,

I have not had a binding issue on any of the normal weight clocks using the "Surf Caster Braided Nylon Squidding Line".  The only time I have noticed wind cord binding is if I have left too much excess wind cord on the wind pulley, or on the heavier weighted, extended run clocks like the Leeds.  But even in these heavily weighted clocks wind cord binding is not common.

When I rewind the Leeds, I pull down on the CW cord and because the drive weight is nearly 18 pounds, I simultaneously gently lift the Weight - however, not taking all the weight off the weight cord.

John Hilgenberg noticed that when one of his clocks was rewound, the cord would bind upon itself.  He also discovered the cause ~ the feeder pulley was off-set a little so that the cord fed heavily onto one side of the wind pulley.  He got the binding as the cord collapsed upon itself inside the wind pulley.  So you will want to be sure your guide pulley (if you have one) is aligned into the approximate center of your wind pulley.

With something like the Simplicity Variant or Number Six, with their low drive weight, I just wind the mechanism with the key and don't even touch the weight.

If you have the extended run time, dual weight option on your Number Six, you may want to assist by gently lifting one weight up during winding.

On my Hawaiian Time, with the dual weight cords feeding into the same pulley, I do gently assist one of the weights as I rewind with the key...but I think this is mostly superstition, and not out of necessity.

If I have a clock that stops, wind cord binding is one of the first things I check for, but it is also one of the rarest causes.  

The most common cause of stoppage on a new clock is internal friction of some type; tooth binding, arbor binding, or something rubbing against another clock part.  

On an older clock that has run faithfully, the most common causes of stoppage are; accumulation of dust or dirt on the tooth surfaces, and the other is breezes affecting the pendulum - which has nothing to do with the mechanism itself.  

My Simplicity ran in my shop for about five years, and was constantly being subjected to sawdust accumulation on its wheels.  It could run a very long time in that saw-dusty environment, but when it stopped I would simply shoot it with a blast of compressed air and she was off  happily dancing once again.

One day my Nautilus had stopped for no apparent reason.  I checked it all over and could not see where there was a problem anywhere.  I then decided to mark teeth in case it happened again.  It was at that point that I discovered the problem.  A ladybug had crawled between the teeth of the wheel and pinion, and had stopped the clock.  I backed up the train slightly.  The ladybug walked off, and flew away, and thus ended the stoppage problems with the Nautilus...that is...until I moved it inside my house and onto the foyer walls.  

Nautilus had been running perfectly in my shop for months.  I decided it was time to move it inside into my foyer "gallery".  I mounted Nautilus to its new home on the foyer wall and started it up.  It ran a while and stopped.  What!?  I restarted - it restopped.  (!?)  After closer inspection, I found a clue ~ each time it stopped, all the wheels had migrated forward in the frame.

I had had Nautilus running perfectly all that time on the perfectly vertical shop cupboards that I had built.  When I moved the clock onto the wall of the foyer it stopped because that wall was NOT vertical.  A few shims under the bottom of the frame and Nautilus was once again gently, and happily swaying its pendulum.

Enjoy!  Clayton


Celebration Anticipation at the Fair

A "Celebration" built by Brad Smith Gathers a Crowd  (Click to Enlarge)
Brad Smith sent us this wonderful iPod photo with this note:

"27 people to watch the noon drop and about 35 for the 1:00 ball drop.  


Thank you for the photo Brad!  Ha!  What a joyous experience!  So great seeing all those smiles and all that interest and anticipation.


Bob Hains' CMCO and Marble Strike Hybrid

Bob Hains combined the Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery with the Marble Strike Clock.  Amazing!  


Toucan by Hans Neisz...in Lexan!

Toucan by Hans Neisz

Hans writes:

Hi Clayton,
I just finished the Toucan clock made from Lexan (Polycarbonate).
I used the escape wheel to add a second and adjusted the main dial to accommodate for the second hand.
Turned out pretty slick, particularly when light illuminates the lexan from different angles.


PS: I have also posted a video on Youtube in case you want to see it in action.

That looks SO EXcellent!  Beautifully done, Hans.  You really have a talent with Lexan.  I loved seeing right through the Toucan at all the moving parts.  

Usually I recommend against having acrylic wheels and acrylic pinions because of the increased internal friction, but on a clock like the Toucan where it is driven by the pendulum, you should have less, or no problems with that.

Another fellow with a laser wanted to make an acrylic Simplicity.  We worked together to create one that did not have any acrylic on acrylic contact, and it performs beatuifully (looks beautiful, too!).  Check it out by typing in "Ghost Of Time Clock" in the search at YouTube.

Thanks for sharing the pix and video of your new and beautiful build.  That is truly an impressive Toucan.


Aloha.  Clayton

In other clock news, if you own multiple clocks, there is a very interesting story on why pendulums sync up together in today's Livescience.com blog.  Click on this link to read it:  Livescience


The Medieval Rack Clock

Medieval Rack Clock, designed by Clayton Boyer and built by Jeff Hecht.   Photo courtesy of Jeff Hecht
New on our website--the Medieval Rack Clock!  See it in action on this page:  Medieval Rack


Oleg's Magical Mystery Box

Remember the Mystery Box Mechanical Gizmo?  If not, link here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxyQ3PFbK9Y

Our wonderful builder friend Oleg in Russia built it and filmed his adorable daughter's reaction to it!

She was not impressed, but isn't she adorable??  Thanks, Oleg, for giving us a chuckle.  What a cutie.


Weird Gears and Zinnia Kinetic Sculptures

Brad Petrovic's Zinnia Kinetic Sculpture

Two original interpretations of my kinetic sculpture plans:  First, Brad Petrovic's beautiful Zinnia sculpture--below, you can see it in action in a YouTube video.

The next is an interpretation of my Weird Gears plans:

Weird Gears Cane by Val and Zachery Blaine
I'm always surprised and delighted by creative uses for my plans!  Thanks for sending these in.


Ken Duffy's Magical Collection of Ticking and Movement

Toucan, Harmonic Oscillator, Flying Pendulum by Ken Duffy
Talented woodworker Ken Duffy sent us these wonderful pictures of his home filled with Clayton Boyer clock and kinetic sculpture designs built by Ken.

Balance, Zinnia, Bird of Paradise, and Simplicity by Ken Duffy
All the ticking and motion must be wonderful!
Another Simplicity, and another shot of Balance.
I am also happy to report that Ken is currently working on yet another Boyer design, the Deco Clock.  Thanks for being such a great customer, Ken, and thank you so much for sharing your pictures.  We can't wait to see your Deco when it's completed.


"Ghost of Time," An Acrylic Simplicity by John Owles

Ghost of Time by John Owles, a Simplicity Variant

Acrylic looks amazing when used in these kinetic sculptures, however I usually warn against using acrylic for the wheels and pinions of these wonderful mechanisms because acrylic-on-acrylic contact has very high internal friction - an increased friction that is much higher than wood-on-wood.

Ghost of Time by John Owles, a Simplicity Variant

However, despite the issues with acrylic, John is an acrylic sculptor and wanted to create his beautiful Simplicity completely in acrylic, so to avoid the internal friction intrinsic to acrylic contact, we worked together to create a Simplicity design that has no acrylic-on-acrylic contact.  If you are interested in creating in acrylic, contact me before your build and we can work on the design modifications that will allow you to create a beautiful, functional sculpture.

John made a YouTube video of his "Ghost of Time Simplicity," below.


Introducing the Deco Clock

The Deco Clock by Bob Brown
Photos by Bob Brown
Deco is a spring-driven mantle clock that will run for about six days on a wind.
Deco by Bob Brown

She's a happy little clock.
Deco by Bob Brown

Deco was designed by Clayton Boyer and built by Bob Brown, who also furnished these wonderful pictures.  Thanks, Bob! 
Deco by Bob Brown
Woodworking plans available now at www.lisaboyer.com


Chuck Cantieny's 1/3 Scale Genesis Clock

Dear Readers, here is a video of an amazing Genesis build that I think will entice your imagination. How small can a clock be before it becomes a watch?  Chuck has pushed that question to the limit. Take a look, and prepare to be amazed.

Hi Dr. Boyer,

I had ordered you plans for the Genesis clock almost a year ago.  I finally got around to building it.  I thought it worked out very well.  I have attached a video that shows the results of the build.  I think it is a "little" different than most of the versions I have seen.  I will also include a couple of higher resolution photos.  I am going to try to post the video to You Tube,  that will be a first for me.

Chuck's YouTube Video of  his "Micro" Genesis

Just so you know - I don't buy a lot plans.  I am a long time cad guy and currently a cad instructor so I create most of my own plans.  I find your designs amazing.  Thank you for sharing with us.



A Great Question About Center Holes

A clock builder asks:  "Should I be worried about this being too far off?  When I sand this wheel on a mandrel some of the printed lines for the teeth will fully disappear while others will be just showing.  Thanks."
Center Wheel Hole Off--Problem?

Clayton answers:  Euuuuuuw!  I really hate seeing that.  Did someone just kick me in the stomach?

These mechanisms are extremely forgiving of front to back wobble, as in the ply being warped.  As shown in the picture below, as long as the wheel can stay on the pinion the mechanism can be made to work.

Click on picture to enlarge.  Front to Back Wobble

But these mechanisms are extremely UNforgiving of up and down wobble, as in having the center hole for the arbor off center.  Those PD lines really must align perfectly all the way around the wheel.  As much as that hole is off from center one way, it is off double that amount on the other side.

The center hole is probably THE most important hole in the entire clockmaking project.  If, for example, a frame hole is off a bit, the PD's are still aligned perfectly all around.  The teeth are simply just a bit further apart ~  But if the center hole of the wheel is off, you've created a cam.  On the down side the cam will have too much clearance, and on the up side the cam will jam.

Click on picture to enlarge.  Center Hole Drilled Correctly

Click on picture to enlarge.  Center Hole Drilled Incorrectly

Now, that being said, yes, you can, with a lot of work, probably save that wheel.  You'll need to depth it, and in the process, you'll need to deepen the dedendums of both the wheel and pinion, and the addendums will already have been shortened by the process of spinning the wheel and sanding it perfectly round at the sander.  You may also need to remove some of the BACK side of each tooth in the area of the out of center hole of the wheel has caused the PD's cross each other.  That is because the tooth gets wider at its bottom.  The back side of the tooth is the non-contact side.  You'll need to look at your mechanism and see which way the wheel is traveling and determine which side is the non-contact side, and remove some "meat" from that side.  (as I mention in my book, the back of each tooth can be nearly ANY shape because clock gears only turn in one direction.)  This will, of course, show as asymmetry in the overall wheel's appearance unless ALL of the backs of the teeth are treated the same way.

The center hole in the picture you sent looks terribly off, but if in reality it is not really off by that much, give the wheel a try, and spend some time practicing your "depthing" technique.  You may even eventually qualify for your honorary Doctor Of Dentistry degree from all the additional tooth work.


Aloha, Clayton