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Author Topic: Clock Dial Dilema  (Read 4290 times)
Foucaults_Builder
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« on: September 10, 2009, 04:57:32 am »

I was wondering, I'm building a clock and I am currently working on the dial.
My problem is, that I know that the numbers must be spaced properly in order
for the clock to show the time accurately. I may go the easy route and only
mark the 12, 3, 6, and 9. My question is, is there a simple way to accurately
measure the distance between each number, if the diameter of the dial is known?
That is to say, the diameter at which the tops of the numbers will hit.
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"That was when I saw the Pendulum.
The sphere, hanging from a long wire set into the ceiling of the choir, swayed back and forth with isochronal majesty." Foucault's Pendulum
aaronanathema
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2009, 02:09:39 am »

As far as I know, the quickest and easiest way to lay out the numbers on a clock is by degrees.  The numbers are always 30 degreees apart so if you make a template on cardboard or whatever, you can start with the 12-6 line and the 9-3 line.  Then with a protractor or one of those nifty triangle rulers you get in a high school math kit you can mark the 1-7 line, 2-8 etc...off of them.  Then all you have to do is centre the numbers on the lines.  Poke some holes at convenient reference points so you can transfer the layout to the actual face and voila. I hope that helps. (If you wanna get really fancy, the minutes are all 6 degrees apart)
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 05:38:36 pm »

You can find the circumference (diameter * pi), divide by 12, and mark that distance off on a strip of paper, which you can then wrap around the perimeter of the dial, and use to mark off the hours.
You can always construct any angle by trigonometry, for example by looking up tan(angle) and using that ratio plus a drafting square and a ruler to construct the appropriate right triangle.
If you have access to a compute with a drawing program like Illustrator, you can lay the entire thing out at full size (use the rotation transform around the center) and laser-print it out to make transferrable art.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 01:26:06 am by Mr. Boltneck » Logged
Foucaults_Builder
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2009, 03:10:41 am »

thanks for the ideas guys. Yeah, I have a degree in mathematics so I know how to do it, I just didn't know what special/universal measurements there might have been for clock dials. Thanks for the info. I didn't think about using the paper to wrap around.
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2009, 09:59:05 pm »

The paper strip thing is something I picked up from jewelry making. It's one of those techniques that is so simple you might not think of it until you see it done, or at least I didn't. I am also glad that math hasn't died out entirely: there have been occasions where I have solved problems at work with simple trig, and you would have thought I'd brought in the Schrödinger equation. Less of an issue at tech firms, but at design offices...
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sebastian Inkerman
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2009, 03:54:02 pm »

Or a compass would work set to the radius of the clock face, mark the 12/6 and 3/9 lines. Put the compass on the 12 and the inscibe an arc across the face, that'll give you the 2/10, from the 3 mark, that'll give you the 1/5 etc. continue round until you get all 12 markings.

As the meerkats say, "Simples! Squeak!"
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