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Guy Marsden
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David Bruckenstein
Bulbdial Clock

December 2020




 
This is my 7th collaborative project with Dave Bruckenstein aka "The Crazy Clock Guy".   This project was based on a kit from evilmadscientist.com called "Bulbdial".  It is a three color LED illuminated sundial in concept.   Dave and I had been struggling to come up with a new clock idea when he remembered that he had purchased this kit a few years ago but never got around to building it.  I offered to build it and then we started conceptualizing case designs that would "make it ours".
Assembly of the kit was relatively straightforward for an experienced electronics engineer like myself.  It is a beautifully designed kit with impeccable instructions that includes lots of clear and detailed pictures.  It only took me a few hours to build:
partly assembled kit Bulbdial kit from the top
While I was building the kit, Dave and I explored different case ideas.  We started thinking about wood as that is what we have used in the past for similar sized clocks.  But then I suggested that perhaps aluminum would suit the aesthetic of this clock better.  As usual, Dave's skill at rendering concepts help us enormously in visualizing the ideas we were sharing.
rendering of wood case first aluminum concept rendering final aluminum concept rendering
Dave always trusts me to adjust the details of the concepts based on the realities of working the materials.  But this one came out very close to our final concept. 

Construction began from two 12" square sheets of aluminum, one 1/8" thick and the other 1/4".  I started by cutting out 2 circles and then chucking them up on my wood lathe to clean up the outside circumference and create the grain pattern using Scotch Brite.  I then lacquered the surface to give it a final finish.  The quarter-inch thick sheet would form the inner structure while the thinner sheet would be used for the decorative exterior surfaces.
aluminum disk on lathe aluminum parts under construction
Fabricating and aligning all the parts with the original kit took a lot of thought and care to get it right.  Cutting the hole for the front clock face in the final finished  front surface was nerve-racking, but it came out okay.
interior aluminum components cutting clock face hole
It took me over 20 hours to complete all the fine details of the fabrication of the aluminum.  The final step was to bring out the mode buttons and power jack to the rear of the case.
wiring external mode buttons internal detail of mood buttons sub board rear view of installed mode buttons
it's very satisfying when the whole project comes together!
bulbdial clock face front view of clock
rear view of clock bottom view inside clock

Visit Dave's web site:
DAB's Clocks

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