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Building a gigantic clock along the side of my basement stairs.

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  • Building a gigantic clock along the side of my basement stairs.

    This is less a quick print than a huge project I just started.

    Basically I want to build something like this:

    I like the idea and I have a perfect dead space to use for a wall mount clock shelf, but there are several issues I want to address in my build.

    1) I want the time obtained from the internet. This projects uses a fixed start time, which gets annoying when you have a power outage an need to flash the firmware or wait to a specific time to plug it in.
    2) It uses an Arduino. I want to use an ESP32 chip, as it comes with enough IO pins and wifi to connect to my IoT network.
    3) This is an all American clock. I want a proper 24 hour display, which makes the clock even bigger.
    4) I want blinking dots between the digits. e.g. "19:45" (and it gets bigger again)
    5) Depending how well this project goes, I want to add seconds. "19:45:23" (to make it gigantic) This will be achieved by expanding the board by one meter on the left side and continue the construction their along with a new firmware of course to address the change.

    The full clock will be 2800x600mm.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	GiantClock_1_TheTarget.jpg Views:	0 Size:	275.3 KB ID:	6363

    This almost empty wall will be the clocks final location. Beside the door bell on the top left and the three images the wall is just white, which just sucks.

    I will add more entries to this first post while the project is progressing and I hope it will due to the now existing public pressure.

    During the last week I updated and tweaked my printers. Especially the old ANet A8, as it is, beside the GeitPrinter, the one with the biggest build plate and the GeitPinter is still not 100% finished. However, the old firmware had the 0/0 point of the print area outside of the build plate, which made it impossible to get a bigger print done and positioned right. This was the reason I updated the firmware in the first place.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	GiantClock_2_TheTemplate.jpg Views:	0 Size:	277.9 KB ID:	6364

    As you can see it now fits. Don not get confused. This is not one digit of the clock. This is the template for 1/2 of a 7 segment, which will be acting as a template to layout the drill holes for all clock elements properly. So the more or less full build plate is just the upper circle of the "8"

    Many parts are printed in ABS, because my ANet A8 in its enclosure is my ABS printer. ABS is also cheaper and a lot more robust, when it comes to impact, so I plan to do the inner parts as ABS and the outer hull in PLA. Printing will take ages. This small ABS template already took 5 hours. Three inner pieces printed as ABS with 50% infill, so together they take 14 hours. If you only count the segments of the clock it will take a while to print, but I will also need to print the other parts in between I need around forty of them and the same number of shelf walls and surfaces.

    This table contains the current process of the printing process:
    Done Required Part Name Filament Type Printing Time
    1 1 Drill Template ABS 5 hours
    51 66 Core Element ABS 14 hours/3 pcs
    1 1 Core Element (electronics) ABS 4.5 hours
    67 67 LED Mounting bracket ABS 5 hours/8 pcs
    7 16 Sleeve 1 (outer frame, bottom,left,right) PLA 6.5 hours
    8 13 Sleeve 2 (2 cbl. / light, top, horizontal) PLA 6.5 hours
    12 24 Sleeve 3 (4 cbl, inner vertical) PLA 6.5 hours
    6 13 Sleeve 4 (4 cbl. / light, middle horizontal) PLA 6.5 hours
    1 1 Sleeve 5 (electronics, top left) PLA 6.5 hours
    Click image for larger version  Name:	GiantClockStatus.jpg Views:	10 Size:	326.8 KB ID:	6807
    Last edited by Geit; 12-23-2020, 06:48 AM.

  • #2
    Very ambitious! I suspect parts storage & organization will be an important aspect of this project, as it looks like it will take months.


    • #3
      Currently I am fighting the printer calibration. The print above failed due to the small "handle" section got bend. I fixed the part to be bigger and the second part printed well.

      However, I need to recheck the calibration as it seems the 500mm calibration distance I used where not enough. In the end the part is too small. I also need to do the same on the other printer of the shell or the shelf will not fit over the studs.

      I need a way to calibrate the axis movement over the entire distance of the print bed to get the best result.

      Using two printers would half the print time and I could print 6 segments and matching studs a day.


      • #4
        I guess you must be printing at a fairly high speed.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ender5r View Post
          I guess you must be printing at a fairly high speed.
          55mm/s, so a little slower than the usual defaults.

          People print three or four times faster these days, but I never see speed as an usable option. I want the print to finish properly and look good. It makes no sense to increase the print speed of a 10 hour print and after 3 hours of 5 it fails for some reason. It is the same with computers. When they do their job, it is fine. I don´t need to wait in front of my system and wait for the result. You don´t save time when a printer produces trash every few prints.

          The third and hopefully last template version is now printing and nearly done. After that I start printing the studs. 10 hours one print with 3 of them. The new placement algorithm they implemented into Cura 4.8 together with the community works great. No gigantic spaces which gets filled by useless brim. All parts next to each other. I have seen so much worst stuff over the last few years.
          Last edited by Geit; 11-21-2020, 11:24 AM.


          • #6
            I added a table to keep track of the printed parts and added an ugly picture showing the so far printed elements for the clock.


            • #7
              Editing in this forum still sucks, so I add more stuff here at the bottom. I also will not resize images anymore, as the forum removes the sizing every time. So my prescaled 1024x768 it is. Also why is it adding images at the top and not at the cursor position.

              Due to my hardware troubles with the ANet A8 (x belt suddenly had a strange turn) I had some failed prints of the core elements. Since I wasn´t satisfied with the small (to fit on a 210x210 prinbed) template included in the original clock project and I already had the failed brackets I designed spacers:

              Click image for larger version

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              Together with the cleaned and striped down base plate core mount print fails it looks like this:

              Click image for larger version

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              As I printed the core elements in ABS, I printed the spacers in ABS as well, so I can weld them together using acetone.

              Damn the clock will be huge

              Just to get some perspective of the size. This is one element. 1 segment wide and 2 segments in height. The final clock will have 13 segments horizontal.

              Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                I was thinking, from your previous descriptions, that it would be massive, and it sure looks like it will be.


                • #9
                  After "some" time of printing the basic frame structure is finished and the first 1809 LEDs are mounted.

                  1809? well, there are 67 segments with 9 RGB LEDs installed right now, so 67*9*3 LEDs.

                  The shelf mount lights are still missing, but I worked 6 hours today to get the main lights done and I am done, too
                  Click image for larger version

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                  Now some programming, to get the matrix table data right, as currently it only shows garbage, when in non test mode.


                  • #10
                    Wow, you do awesome ambitious projects!

                    How many kgs of filament will this clock require?


                    • #11
                      I think about 4 Kg PLA and 2Kg ABS.

                      Finished the basic programming today and it even shows the time, it automatically gets from the internet now.

                      There is also a web server, which allows to change colors, display and animation modes. I also implemented some test modes.
                      Last edited by Geit; 12-19-2020, 10:05 PM.


                      • #12
                        After a weekend of soldering and adding around 20m of wires, the basic installation is now done and my back is thankful for that. The constant bending over the table to solder stuff in was tough for my back. Last step was to add the 26 shelf lights, which light the small boxes and their future content.

                        I added shelf light control to the web interface, so I can now configure those, too. As you can see the majority of covers are still missing. This is because of my TronXY X5 being lazy during the last week. He is now back to 24/7 duty and should deliver around 5 covers a day.

                        Click image for larger version

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                        The wooden plate lacks some side coverage, but unfortunately the home depots are closed till January at least. I also need to sort out some minor element alignment issues mainly on the right side. I have no clue how that happens, but I need to fix this somehow with the wiring already installed.

                        The ESP32 developer board is dangling on the outside of the electronics housing, too. I still want to add some sound module and a light sensor, so the time is readable at day and not flashing people at night. For now I use the time to dim the light, which (of course) isn´t optimal in all situations.

                        At last I want to finish the basic programming. It is working quite well so far and I have some fancy modes, where the dots are bouncing and the numbers are scrolling up or down, but I want more effects to select from. Maybe a random mode for the shelfs, so every hour a random set get lit.

                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Fantastic! Thanks for the updates.


                          • #14
                            I'm impressed!


                            • #15
                              I'm impressed too. It is interesting to put electronics into the 3d printer world. That's going to be an expensive clock by the time you are finished.