Posts Tagged ‘garage clock’

180-000

So I had a desire to try my hand at a recycled material project. I really don’t know why, just had an itchin’. There has been a local club that has worked at creating a strong presence in the area as a place for anyone to come and participate in building and creating things. They are a fantastic group run by great people. Finding a permanent home in order to work from has been a priority lately so I decided to build them a shop warming gift for when they eventually secure a location.

I have access to lots of pallets and 55 gallon drums so I thought I would integrate those materials into a clock for the new shop. I didn’t have a really firm plan in place other then I was prepared, mentally, to let the fine details slide as I know that dealing with these materials things would not come out perfectly. I wanted to create an old school, vintage/retro, style clock that would be something you may see hanging in an old service station covered in dust.

So the following pictures take you through the process of what eventually turned into a shop clock. It just morphed into what it is today. I think it worked out to my liking and possesses the feel and look I was going for. On with the show.

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Once the pallets were all broken down and de-nailed all the good lumber sections were run through the planner to bring all pieces to the same thickness.

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All the planed boards were then run through the table saw to even up all the widths.

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Four sides done, 2 to go.

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All the lengths now went through the chop saw. Turns out I overestimated the amount of pallets required for the project. I will have extra.

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The dimensioned lumber was glued and clamped. My planer can only do 13 inch wide sections so the clock face would need to be done in 2 sections

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With the sections glued they were once again sent through the planer to flatten things up.

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With the 2 dimensioned sections they were now glued, clamped, and joined as one block.

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Broke out the jigsaw and trimmed out a 16″ diameter section from the glues pallet blank.

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The clock face was going to protrude from its metal surround therefore it needed to have a step cut into the circumference. Please note the quality looking radius guide I built for my router, you can tell I put a lot of time into it.

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Instead of hand routering out a pocket on the backside to accept the clock mechanism I opted to do a cleaner, and more precise, job using the mill..

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Since this is a recycling project I needed to come up with a clock surround. Opted to use the base of a 55 gallon drum. I bent a scrap section of 1″ flat bar and tacked it onto the barrel to act as a plasma torch guide.

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Slicing the base off a drum using the plasma torch takes less the a minute. Using the guide a clean line can be achieved.

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Trimmed off base is going to lend itself perfectly for the feel of the clock.

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Using my homemade plasma torch circle guide I sliced a hole out of the middle of the barrel bottom to allow for insetting of the pallet clock face.

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Here the 2 recycled materials are mated together. The look turned out to be what I had envisioned.

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Here we skip over a bunch of fabrication photos in order to get to this point. I wanted a “wing” type sign look to the whole project. I plasma cut out a backing by hand using guides. Then I fabricated “feathers” out of sheet metal.

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I struggled coming up with a good plan for the “numbers”. I finally settled on sprockets and machined round stock joined by round bar.

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With all the fab work completed it was time to move onto the finishing stage. The clock face received stain to give it a retro type look to it.

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A few coats later it achieved the look I was hoping for.

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The face was going to have the local clubs logo applied to it. I built a template on the computer and then cut out a stencil using my vinyl plotter.

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The logo was going to get airbrushed into the clock face. The stencil gets applied to the face, everything else was masked off, and then paint was applied using an airbrush.

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Here is what the airbrushed logo looks like. The vintage feel is what I was going for.

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With the wood portion complete it was time to finish the metal sections. The “feathers” needed an old school look so I decided to apply a rusting solution to them. Here they all got cleaned and sanded before receiving the treatment.

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Using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar I mixed up, and applied, a solution to the feathers. it took 2 treatments over 2 days to achieve the desired results.

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Rusted out feathers. Perfect.

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When it came to finishing all the metal everything was hung and then shot with a clear coat in order to preserve all the natural finishes.

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With some assembly complete the project was finished. Overall length is close to 4 feet. 2 mounting holes were drilled into the base at 32″ centers in hopes that if it gets mounted on stud walls 2 studs will contribute to the support.

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I thought it was about time to do some garage interior decorating. We all like comfortable spaces to live in that are littered with pleasant things that surround us. I had a few extra evenings of time in between some of my bigger projects so I figured I would tackle a task that has been sitting in the corner waiting to be completed.

A military friend of mine gave me a couple of worn out tank track sprockets from a Leopard C2 tank that is still in service. The C2 is the Canadian version of an upgraded German Leopard 1 tank. They were built between 1977 – 1979 weighing in at 42.5 tons. They sported a 38 liter Mercedes Benz diesel cranking out 830 HP which was able to push the tank to a top speed of 65 kph. Now 65 kph is the “official” speed however messing with the diesel pumps will push this monster to over 75 kph. If the tank couldn’t catch ya it would get ya with its 105mm rifled main gun. Well you can imagine what that kind of horsepower coupled with that kind of weight will do to a set of metal drive sprockets. These sprockets are equipped with wear marks that indicate when the sprocket is worn out and then requires replacement. I had the sprockets sitting around for awhile during which time I would brainstorm unique things to do with them. I suspect they each weigh around 80 pounds so they definitely have some heft to them. They would work as a fantastic base for a pedestal type of stand, thought about making a coffee table, a bar table with foot rest, plus lots a wacky stuff that would be completely useless when done. As the sprockets got stared at it was noted that there were 12 mounting holes around the perimeter. Hmmm…12 holes…..what else has 12. Case of beer? Yeah ok but so what? Build a beer can holder? Why? 12 inches in a foot, 12 stars featured in the flag of Europe, the Majestic 12, 12 ounces in a Troy pound. What else has 12 holes…this is a waste of time, it’s gotta be almost 12:00 and I have to get a move on. What to build, what to build. What’s the time? I have to get going…

So I couldn’t think of anything so I figured I would build a new shop clock for the garage. What would be cooler then having an eighty pound German tank sprocket hanging on the shop wall? Nothing! That’s why I did it. Obviously weight was going to be a factor. I went to the hardware store but I couldn’t find any picture hanging hooks that were rated for tank sprocket usage so I decided to build my own.

I TIG welded together a simple wall bracket out of mild still and splashed it with spray bomb. The bracket was built to span the 20 inch O.C. wall stud spacing. I was able to bolt the bracket into two studs using six 3” long 3/8” lag bolts. Trust me it is solid. The sprocket is going to hang from the bracket on a couple of ½” studs that were mounted into the brackets frame.

I used a battery operated clock motor therefore battery replacement had to be taken into consideration as a design aspect. The clock is not that easy to take down off the wall for the occasional battery replacement. I picked up a double A battery holder and soldered it into the clock motor which would allow me to remote mount the battery on top of the wall bracket. This way I had easy access to the electrons.

Now that the foundation was dealt with it was onto the actual clock. My instinct initially told me to grind down all the rough edges of the sprocket, clean off the rust, and give the unit a few coats of flat black. But the more I looked at the sprocket the more I started to see lots of character in its present state. I figured why do anything? Just leave it as is. So as far as sprocket prep went, there was none. It got left with rust and all.

The face plate was plasma cut out of  .125 inch 6061 aluminum plate using my circle cutter. I thought it would look great with all the aluminum polished to a mirror finish so this is what I started to do. Once I got through the first 2 stages of polishing I set the aluminum plate into the sprocket for a quick visual. The soon to be clock started to take on more of a mirror look then a clock. The polishing did not blend well with the worn sprocket. I got out the dual action orbital sander, loaded it up with 220 grit paper and in about 2 minutes I had a fantastic orbital brushed finish to the plate. After a second visual, with the plate mounted in the sprocket, it was determined that this is the way to go.

Onto the numbers…I could have just left the mounting holes of the sprocket unfinished however I didn’t want it to look like I just hung scrap metal on the walls. I decided to spin up some aluminum inserts for the sprocket holes. I spun and few samples that had some nice bevels to them but in the end “fancy” was not meant to be. It really came down to creating something that was simple. In the end I spun out twelve 2” diameter buttons out of solid 6061 aluminum round bar. I had contemplated anodizing and dyeing the 3, 6, 9, and 12 buttons a funky color however I wasn’t sure if dyed aluminum would suit the project. I decided to leave all the buttons with a brushed finish.

So with the faceplate install, number buttons attached, and the clock hung it became evident that I made the right decisions along the way. The sprocket adds character to the shop and the choice of aluminum finishes blended well with the history. Now all I have to do is figure out what to build with the second sprocket I have.