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Keep up to date with Steve Nurse's designs and 3d printing.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Upcycled Spool Clock

With me in the kitchen. Time for a cup of tea?

Detail from one of the clocks
Clock Numbers on the printer
Mounting the 3d printed numbers on the clock.
This is the printer spool with the clock and white painted hands. 
This setup includes an m8 bolt, nut and washers, and holds numbers between the spool edge and the centre hub bolt.  It can be used to teach basic mathematics such as counting and ordering the numbers from 1 to 12.

Config 1 shows (6 + 2 x 3 = 12)
Config 2 shows (2 x 2 + 2 x 4 = 12)
Config 3 shows 4 sets of 3
Config 4 shows 6 set of 2
The clockface can be left on a spool in the printer.  If the spool is feeding into the printer at 10cm / min and the filament is coming off at a diameter of 150mm, how long does it take for the spool to rotate once?  A bit later (you are printing an oversize pokemon-themed fidget spinner) the filament speed is the same but the filament is coming off at a diameter of 125mm.  How long to rotate now?
Pic from Thingiverse.


Every roll of 3d printer filament comes with a spool, and unless you do something with it when its useful life comes to an end, it gets thrown away, or at best recycled into other plastic products.  But a filament spool can be quite a fine thing, and it’s good to at least try to reuse it by making it into something else. 3d printing provides opportunities to do this. If items made with the spool can be sold for more than the costs of the filament  and other parts, then your 3d printing pays for itself almost immediately.  One filament seller who has embraced this idea of reuse is Eumaker who have prehacked their spools so they can be made into coffee capsule stands, coathangers and other items.

So here is something you can make with your printer using a filament spool.  The filament I get comes from 3dfillies, if you get filament on different spools, you will have to adapt the designs I have uploaded here on Thingiverse. The 3dfillies spool can be broken down into 3 parts, there are 2 sides and a central cylinder.  Breaking down the spool into 2 sides can be done using a screwdriver to press the locking tabs on the sides away from the holes in the cylinder so the tabs can be moved away from the holes and disengaged.

 This project is a clock which can be made in different ways and used as an education tool. The clock numbers hook over the edge of a spool side, and are held in place by rubber bands.  In the middle there is a round adapter piece which holds a clock mechanism.  These are available for about $16.00 each from Jaycar in Melbourne, but they can be much cheaper (from $1.00 each) from ebay, ali-express and other online sites.  The mechanism I bought only included black minute and hour hands, which made it hard to read the clock because of a lack of contrast, so I used liquid paper to paint the clock hands white.  A clock that you can tell the time from!  Wow!
The 4 clock configurations shown above can be used to teach students about factorisation, sub factorisation and counting. All factorisations of 12, ie 1 x 12, 2 x 6, 3 x 4 can be demonstrated, and 4 sets of numbers on 3 rubber bands is different to 3 sets of numbers on 4 rubber bands.

12 is a highly divisible number and it would be interesting to make a clock with 11 numbers filling the 360 degree clockface.  The "11" clockface can be divided into number sets, but only by addition, not by multiplication.

Permutations and combinations can be demonstrated as well.  If you look at Config 4, the numbers can be assembled on the spool in 12! or 12*11*10*9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2 different ways and the colour arrangement can be put together in 6! or 6*5*4*3*2 different ways. 

This will be the first of several posts about my 3d print designs coming up in the following weeks.  My designs will mostly be free, but I'd like to make money from them somewhere along the line, so will be charging for key designs through Cgtrader .

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