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A friend of mine that works at the local Porsche dealer has been harassing, yes harassing, me to supply him with a gordsgarage automotive themed item for what seems like an eternity. My friend, who shall remain nameless, came to me with a Porsche PCCB center lock brake rotor that was taken out of service and requested that it be converted into a clock for his man cave. I said I would see what I could do.

As cool as clocks can be they always seem to be the default fab item for anything that is round. Brake rotor clocks have been done, and overdone, time and time again. If I was going to build a clock it needed to have a slightly different style then most. Even at that it is hard to come up with a truly unique way to display seconds that tick by.

The one thing I had going for me is that ceramic brake rotors weigh a 3rd of what cast rotors do. This will allow me to be able to tack on a bit more weight and still allow it to be hung on a wall. I’m not sure I am totally thrilled with the end result but the feedback I received from others appears that the design meets a certain amount of approval. It serves its function and fits into its environment as designed. The following post takes you through the build process of my version of a man cave brake rotor clock.

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The project revolves around a used Center Lock Porsche PCCB rear brake rotor. Because of the center lock design the holes, where the wheel bolts would typically go, are now equipped with red anodized wheel lugs.

Since I wanted to build something more then just a flat hanging rotor attached to a wall I started off by machining some pivots out of 1.75″ solid round 6061 aluminum. First order of business was to drill, and tap, an 8mm hole.

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Onto the milling machine where the center section got hogged out an inch deep and the width of the rotor.

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The beauty of swarf makes up for the waste it becomes.

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Test fitting of the rough machined rotor clamps prove to fit perfectly.

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To secure the clamps to the rotor a couple of 1/4″ set screws were fitted into each clamp.

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To complete the pivot assemblies a couple end caps and center spacers were spun out on the lathe. I opted to keep all the angles, and design, fairly clean and simple with no added cuts or highlights.

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These are the rough machined pivot assemblies that will get clamped onto opposite ends of the rotor.

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Next it was time to move on the steel work and fabricate the actual wall holder. The rotor pivots were going to require a bushing to help provide the support. A couple of spacers were cut, and faced, from some 2″ seamless tubing I had remaining from my metal bender rollers I built.

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Each bushing received a 3/8″ hole drilled only through one side. Keep scrolling, the reason will be revealed.

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The pivot bushings required some support. I wanted to keep things simple and clean without making the unit look messy or chunky. Not to mention I needed to keep the weight of the entire project as low as possible. I opted to bend some 3/8″ cold rolled rod with a radius that would visually match the brake rotor.

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I sketched out the rotor on the bench to aid in the mock up. This way I could ensure that my clearances would work and that my center line would actual be centered.

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Since the rod support required something to actually be attached to I trimmed up a 19 inch section of 3″ x 1/8″ flat bar. I plasma cut the ends to get rid of the corners.

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I was kind of stuck for creative ideas to attach the rod to the wall support plate. Usually I like to get creative with sort of thing. I decided on keeping the brake rotor the main focal point and opted to fabricate some clean and simple support rods from some 7/8″ cold rolled.

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Concept revealed. Mocking up the components before putting the TIG to them.

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Everything was tacked and final welded. Time to move onto to the other parts of the project.

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The clock face was sliced from a sheet of 6061 aluminum using the circle guide for the plasma torch. Ironically this is the same sheet of aluminum that I cut my German tank sprocket clock face from years ago.

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To clean up the plasma cut, and to ensure the face was perfectly round, the aluminum was mounted on the lathe and trimmed up.

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The PCCB rotor hub has two 8mm holes threaded from factory 180 degrees apart. With a couple of spacers I would be able to mount the face to these existing holes. I programmed in the proper spacing on the DRO for the mill and drilled the face for mounting.

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Here the entire project was mocked up to ensure everything would fit. It does.

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Onto the art work for the clock face. I decided to build a tachometer themed time keeper. Using a combination of Draftsight, InkScape, and vinyl plotter software I came up with this.

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I vinyl plotted the entire face on black vinyl first to ensure it would work the way I wanted it too. I then printed just the “redline” section on red vinyl.

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It’s always so satisfying when I start to peel back the transfer tape to reveal the vinyl. I wasn’t sure what color background to use. I thought of powder coding the face white but in the end I opted to stick with a brushed finish. I think I made the right choice.

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Here is the completed clock. I use continuous sweep movements for my clock motors which not only gets rid of the “ticking” but also gives a more precision look to the second hand.

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Time to move onto the hub side of the rotor. Since this clock is going in a “man cave” I thought I would personalize it for Mike. Started by slicing out a 7 inch diameter section of mild steel to be used as a mounting for more vinyl decaling.

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Porsche uses a 5 x 130 wheel bolt pattern. Using the mills DRO I marked all the mounting holes and then finished them off on the drill press.

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Building using math is so satisfying as things always fit together perfectly.

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The time has come where all the fabrication work is complete and it’s time to move onto the finishing stage. I removed the hub from the rotor and chucked it up in the lathe in order to clean the finish up using Scotchbrite.

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Tractor Red powder is incredibly close to the same shade as factory Porsche red brake calipers. Since I know Mike likes red I figured using the color was a “no brainer”

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The rotor mount was wired to one of my oven’s baking racks and then fogged with the powder.

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With the pivot mounts sealed using silicone plugs it was time to bake the powder coating at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Here are all the components that make up the project before the assembly phase begins. Everything was either powder coated, polished, or brush finished.

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The hub side face received a personalized Mike’s Place decal so that you knew exactly where you are.

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The contrast between the red and the brushed finishes looks good. I was happy that the pivot still works with the added thickness of the power coating.

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Rotor mounted up and centered just waiting for all the guts to be installed.

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The clock face gets mounted using a couple of 5mm black socket head cap screws. Even though the screws are placed a bit far apart they still help give the clock face that”gauge” look. In order for the clock battery to be replaced the face will need to be unbolted from the hub.

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Since the rotor was mounted on a pivot it was important that all visible angles would look good. I like all the nice, clean, lines of the cross section.

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The rotor lugs were originally anodized red from the factory. Since the finish on them was slightly worn, plus the shade of red would clash, I decided to strip them of the anodizing and give them a brushed finish instead.

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I try and add a “GG” somewhere to my projects. This time I applied a decal on the inside where the only time anyone will see it is when the clock motor battery needs to be changed. In this picture the mounting spacers for the clock face are evident.

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Comments
  1. Fab Tessaro says:

    Gord, You are a true artist! Cool stuff man!!

  2. howder1951 says:

    Great! Nice pivot display design Gord, as always, you have me wondering, what the heck is it until you start assembly work. Thanks pal.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks howder1951, I always assume everyone just scrolls to the bottom of the posts to see the end result. It’s nice to know that someone actually goes through the process.

      Thanks!
      Gord

  3. Joel says:

    Gord, you are a genius. Thanks for sharing . Absolutely beatuitiful result

  4. Stu says:

    Incredible, as always!! Love the tachometer idea.

  5. Luis Rodrigues says:

    Another thing of beauty. Just a couple of extra touches: a Porsche logo below the “0” and glueing some sort of velo pointer on top of the clock pointers.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Luis. So many of my blog followers have good ideas that I have often thought that I should post the concepts before the execution. THis way I can get all the good ideas and incorporate them into the build. Maybe I’ll try that sometime. As I type this I wonder if I should do a “blog follower” build. Let the readers do the designing and I’ll do the build. Something tells me this may get complicated.

      Thanks!
      Gord

  6. […] With an extra Porsche brake rotor lying about and a persistent friend to be silenced, [GordsGarage] decided to fabricate a one-of-a-kind man cave wall clock. […]

  7. jonty Wardle says:

    Hey Gord,

    I’m 17 years old and have been following your blog for years now and always look forward to your new post. I used to check everyday until I realised I could subscribe, but even after subscription i still check everyday anyway haha. I just wanted to comment, not on this clock itself, but in terms of your entire website. You have inspired me for years and all of my engineering and designing flare has come simply from you. Back when I was 13 years old I dreamt of having a lathe and after hours and hours of hard work I have finally purchased one and desire to one day complete the sort of projects you do and when I have enough knowledge, one day create a website just like yours in the hope to inspire another youngen like myself. Thanks Gord.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Hi Jonty, thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s people like you that I feel connected to as it appears you understand what the blog is about. I think it is fantastic that you have been able to obtain a lathe. I am curious as to what you got. At age 17 you are starting earlier than I did and there is no telling how far you’re going to go.

      I’m thrilled that you feel inspired to create things as that is how I feel most of the time. So much of the time the things that are created are typically driven by the economy, supply and demand, and the bottom dollar. When you build things for yourself you can let the imagination take off and ignore the rules set out by society.

      I would be very interested in hearing about your ideas, and plans. So much of the time I live in my own little world and have no one else to feed off of. I am always curious to hear the comments people make after I post my completed projects as often someone will come up with a fantastic suggestion for what I should have done. One day I hope to do a build that is driven purely by the readers of my blog.

      Don’t ever stop building!
      Thanks!
      Gord

  8. Donovan says:

    Hi Gord.

    i stumbled across your blog recently , and all i can say is what an inspiration.
    your work is flawless and out of this world.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Donovan, I appreciate the time you took to send me the comments. It is always more fun to share the work with people who are on the same page as me.

      Thanks!
      Gord

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