A design element that I have always found to be particularly interesting is exposed gearing. Something about how intricate and detailed exposed-gear designs are has always fascinated me! So, as I had this at the back of my mind for my final project I was drawn to escapement mechanisms. For those who are unfamiliar, escapement mechanisms are typically used in clocks because they allow for timing control. This is done by creating a mechanical linkage which can stop the rotation of a gear which is connected to a weight. The rotation of the gear, and hence the time-keeping ability of the clock, is provided by the conversion of the gravitational potential energy of the weight to the kinetic energy of the gear system.
So, for my final project I want to create an escapement mechanism. I don’t care too much about the actual time keeping ability of the device, but would rather arrive at the aesthetics that I am targeting. Specifically, I am interested in recreating the exposed-gear aesthetics that clocks and watches can sometimes have. I think that this aesthetic has ties to steampunk, though I wouldn’t necessarily say that it fits within that aesthetic because the gears serve a non-decorative purpose though they are inherently part of the design. I don’t exactly know what materials (other than wood) I plan on using. I would love to be able to incorporate metal into the design to be able to provide a contrast to the wood base that I plan on using, though I am not certain how prominent I want it to be in the design. I can see merit for directly using metal gears or using it as a more subtle accent piece. A large inspiration for this project is also the more recent trend that I have seen in kinetic sculptures or fully wooden clocks that highlight how they work.
I think that these art piece’s use of gears, and how it highlights them is really interesting and something that I plan to incorporate and re-create in my own project. I am unsure if I will go the kinetic sculpture route, and how I would implement anything close to that. Right now these are just sources of inspiration as I look to further refine my idea. In the same vein, I have also had a longstanding interest in aperture or iris mechanisms. I have been pondering if I could take the motion from the escapement mechanism to drive the motion of an iris, but I don’t know exactly how I could incorporate it or to what end.
The next steps for my project will be to outline a rough sketch of my idea and further narrow down my materials and design. I am confident that I want to include wood and metal, and try to stylize the overall project after the inner-workings of an antique clock, but beyond that I still need to decide how I want the final product to look. After I layout some initial sketches and get more ideas, I will move into CAD to actually draft my design and verify that the gears and the escapement are doing what I think that they should be. From there I should be able to move on to fabrication. This will most likely be using a laser engraver, though if parts require it I will branch out to other processes. I will then have to assemble the project and play around with how it will actually operate. I think that this project is potentially ambitious because of the attention to detail and intricacy it will require. However, I think that if I am able to give it the effort that it deserves it can be a really polished final product.
Biffi, Andrea, and Instructables. “Galileo Wooden Escapement Mechanism.” Instructables, Instructables, 16 Jan. 2019, www.instructables.com/Galileo-Wooden-Escapement-Mechanism/.
Cafe, Kirt Blattenberger RF. “Pendulum-Driven Mechanical Clock Escapement.” RF Cafe, www.rfcafe.com/references/general/clock-escapement.htm.
“Escapement.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Nov. 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapement.
“Godox Iris Diaphragm for Projection Attachment.” B&H Photo Video Pro Audio, www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1506918-REG/godox_sa_06_iris_diaphragm.html.
Jobson, Christopher. “An Elegant Kinetic Sculpture by Derek Hugger That Mimics the Flight of a Hummingbird.” Colossal, 18 Jan. 2022, www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/10/kummingbird-kinetic-sculpture/.
Thonemeister, and Instructables. “Making a Wall Hanging Brass Mechanical Alarm Clock in the Home Machine Shop.” Instructables, Instructables, 1 Aug. 2018, www.instructables.com/Making-a-Wall-Hanging-Brass-Mechanical-Alarm-Clock/.
Wooden Gear Clock Plans from Hawaii by Clayton Boyer, lisaboyer.com/Claytonsite/cogitationpage1.html.
This is a really cool idea! Personally, I’m a huge fan of mechanical watches and you project would be one I’m looking forward to seeing once it’s completed.
Thank you! I am going to try hard to make sure all of the gearing mechanisms are visible as that aesthetic is really what drew me to this idea. I am still deciding on the output of the device!
I really like this idea! I think this is a great dynamic option for a design. I am curious if you have thought of still implementing this system into a clock
Thank you! I am uncertain what I will use the conversion of potential to mechanical energy for yet, but I don’t think that I will use it for a clock mechanism. I am a bit more interested in kinetic sculptures, but I am still deciding!