Turning Old Bicycle Parts into a Clock

I have always wanted to make artwork, useful or not, out of old or broken parts from bikes. I’m not quite sure why but I really like the look of rotors, cassettes, hubs, wheels and cranks; probably more than complete bikes or beautiful frames. There seems to be so much effort put into their design (although some have pretty crap design) and manufacture. Combined with the effort to extract and refine the metal to make the intricate parts, my heart pangs a little seeing them in the the trash or rubbish piles. I have seen a few good looking clocks made with various bike parts in person and the clock idea has stuck with me but I never got around to making one. A few searches on the web also returns many different designs and a lot of inspiration.

Parts I've scavenged so far

The initial ideas floating in my head used wheels with different colored spokes for hands and marking the hours, or somehow tried to incorporate a moving drivetrain. After a little research it seems it is challenging for most clock movements to spin even lightweight hands without losing accuracy or failing. Thus, using any bike part with some heft for the hands seems out of the question unless I am able to find another method to keep accurate time beyond a traditional clock movement. After realizing this, another idea popped into my head.

Does the clock necessarily have to tell time?

It would be interesting to have a clock with just generic positions: ride, swim, sleep, eat, or others. So, I have been toying with few ideas using this method as well.

I am really trying to go after the clean, polished metal aesthetic with many of the parts. I like the sheen, gleam and “pop” they create. So, most of my time as of yet has gone into cleaning off the grease and dirt covered parts I want to use. I may paint some parts neon or bright colors to help create something that draws attention. I appreciate designs that look clean, sharp and somewhat ordinary with one or two “loud” colors and/or elements to bring it to life and “accessorize!”

aesthetics, Bicycles, bike, bikes, Clock, Dan, Daniel Moody, Moody, Upcycle, upcycling
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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Everything looks really clean on your clock. I wish the numbers were painted though, so that they might stand out more. I also wish that the hands were painted. Good work on making sure everything was centered, polished, and simple.

  • I like that you used a bunch of bicycle parts for it instead of just using one or two parts. How did you attach all of the different parts to the spokes so that they stayed in place? I love the numbers with the bike chain! That’s a clever way of doing it. You should consider coloring them or something to bring them out.

  • Brandon Boiko
    February 3, 2016 9:22 pm

    The use of the chain links for the numbers is very appealing. Have you considered painting the numbers so they stand out more?

  • Ashley Zimmerer
    February 3, 2016 9:22 pm

    I like the numbers. How did you attach them? It’s great that you took the time to polish the parts to make it look sleek.

  • David Holliman
    February 3, 2016 12:40 pm

    I think the desired aesthetic was well accomplished here. Would like to know more details on how you formed the numbers and got them to stay in form– did you use adhesive or some other means?

  • I like your use of used bike parts., particularly the use of chain for the numbers. I also like your idea of using moving gears in a future project.

  • I like how you shaped the chain links into numbers – what did you use to freeze the links in place?

  • Jacob McCormick
    January 31, 2016 10:07 pm

    Really cool idea! It’s a bummer that you are unable to use any substantial parts as the clock hands, but I really like your idea for the clock not to necessarily tell the time, but to tell you when it is time for something. Narrowing the number of positions from down from should increase the accuracy. Another idea that I just had, given your clock will largely be of aesthetic value since there are many other time-keeping objects all around us, would be to have the clock tell the day of week. That would lower your number of positions to seven and make accuracy more manageable, while still having the clock read something tangible.

  • I may be interpreting this wrong, but the positions of “run”, “swim”, “sleep”, etc. sound like the clock from Harry Potter. If so, that sounds pretty cool, would you have it set up to forever be in a specific position, or could the user change the positions of the hand? Just a reminder since this would be easy to forget, you probably want it to be mountable on a wall, so account for that, it would be something that would be easy to skip and reduce the areas where it could be placed.


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