Final Project Plan: Retro Futuristic Alarm Clock

For my final project, I will design and build an alarm clock based on the aesthetic of late 70’s futuristic and science fiction design. The modern product design of the 70’s was very sleek and minimalistic, as pictured in the cover photo [1], while the science fiction of the time portrayed technology as over-engineered and rugged whilst still being dated and very analog. The set designs of the films Star Wars and Alien are representative of this.

“Death Star Control Panel”, Star Wars (1977) [2]

“Nostromo Flight Computer”, Alien (1979) [3]

I wanted to make a unique, stylish, and functional product for my project. If the alarm clock is functional, it could alleviate some gripes I have with current alarm clocks. I could remove the ambient, harsh lighting found on modern alarm clocks. I could also make it programmable and change the sound of the alarm to anything I want. Finally it would remove the need to have my phone by my bedside which interrupts my sleep. These factors alone would make an alarm clock worth building from scratch.

The design I have envisioned has not been put to paper yet, but has been similarly envisioned by other artists. My idea for the clock face is to be purely analog, with either a standard clock face with clock hands or a flip clock. I would like the exterior of the clock to be very functional looking, with the idea that it was pulled out of a control panel from one of the above scenes. The color pallet I would like to work with are white, gray, and black for the body colors with orange lighting and accents for aesthetics.

The artist’s render pictured below is an close example of what I envision this project could look like. The device is analog, stylized, and fits the 70s futuristic aesthetic.

Jason Zigrino. Sony Digimatic 6RC-15. [4]

The project pictured below is similar to what I am trying to do but has some key features I am trying to avoid. It has a digital screen, which I would not like to have in my final product. It also lacks texture and is minimalistic, which does not fit with the dated science fiction aesthetic I am trying to achieve.

Erik Magnuson. Retro Future Clock. [5]

The steps for completion of this project will be as follows:

  • Sketch and finalize the design on paper so the outer geometry is exactly how I want it.
  • Identify the electronics that will be used for the clock. A microcontroller will be used to enable it to connect to WIFI but controlling analog devices for the clock face.
  • CAD the design in Solidworks and create the interfaces between all the parts and the mounting for the electronic components on the interior.
  • Manufacture the parts, most likely by 3D printing and laser cutting
  • Assemble and test the electronics
  • Perform post processing on the parts to achieve the texture and worn look desirable for this aesthetic
  • Assemble the final product.

I hope this helps outline my vision for the project and provide context for the aesthetic I am trying to achieve. This is an ambitious project and may have to be scaled back. The electronic portion of this project can be eliminated and instead just the outer shell can be produced. This would still meet the artistic requirements for the project but not the functional ones.











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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Greetings Mr. Garzione,
    How are you? I am well.
    I am looking forward to seeing this novel project progress. I like the idea, its sleek and good looking, functional, and a great project to play with designing and making. Do you think you will add any other dynamic function other than the clock hands or flips. A bell or alarm would be a neat addition.

  • Hi Nic, I really like this idea. You should look into mid century modern flip clocks, I think they would match the aesthetic you are trying to go for. I have also seen a couple of them on youtube that were 3D printed. Looking forward to seeing what you make!

  • Peter Jakubczak
    March 11, 2023 12:29 pm


    I think this aesthetic goes really well with an alarm clock. Have you considered any special features you want the alarm clock to have?


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