3D Printed Clocks: 10 Best Models To Download & Print
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Timepieces are an important part of anyone’s life. Keeping time helps us stay organized, be punctual, and keep on schedule. Ever since humanity evolved away from sundials to faceless bell towers that struck every hour, we’ve continued to make all kinds of timekeepers to help keep our lives in good order.
So before we start getting headaches thinking about how the inventor of the first clock knew what time it was, we’ll look to the future by 3D printing our own!
3D printing a clock isn’t the same as a model or figurine, there will be some mechanisms involved, or even some wiring to do. In any case, if you’re 3D printing a clock, you’ll need to prepare to engage in some delicate construction post-printing.
If you need a little help, you can learn about the importance of precision in mechanisms by looking at our article on dimensional accuracy.
If you’re confident in your printer’s settings, then you’re ready to 3D print your own timepieces.
Here we’re going to look at some of the best, coolest, and most creative 3D printed clocks around, many of which come with detailed descriptions and instructions to make sure you have all the guidance you need.
When we hear the word clock, many of us will first picture the analog variety. A classic that isn’t going anywhere any time soon, the satisfying mechanisms and optional pendulums have been made in just about every shape and size there is.
There are a lot of 3D printed analog clocks to choose from online, so naturally I couldn’t get to them all. So here’s a list of our top picks for analog clock files, from the classic and traditional to the creative and cool.
- Download: tomas38
- Price: Free
Beginning with a relatively simple project, this pendulum clock was designed as a print that even beginners should be able to make and build with enough time and patience. It’s compact, cool to look at, and accurate as all clocks should be.
To make it even more beginner friendly, the designer has included detailed instructions and measurements to make sure you get the best possible results even if this is your first time 3D printing a clock.
As well as the files being free, all the extra parts needed to make this clock work are inexpensive and easy to get ahold of, with each one listed so you’ll have everything you need before you even start printing.
There are also plenty of styles to choose from for the face, though as a fan of clockwork mechanisms I personally prefer the one seen in the first example image. There’s something about watching a clock’s gears turn and work that I find soothing.
But of course you can go for whichever design you like, or even tweak one of them to really make it your own.
The end result is an attractive and cool-looking clock that you can be proud to say you printed and built yourself.
Self-Winding Pendulum Clock
- Download: krahut
- Price: Free
While winding a clock can be a nice way of reminding yourself that you’re in control, for some it is quite the hassle, and an easily forgotten one too. I can’t count how many times I’ve noticed stopped clocks in my friend’s houses that even they haven’t noticed.
This 3D printed analog clock is similar to the pendulum clock above but with an added twist, where the pendulum clock needs to be wound every week, this self-winding clock can take care of itself and keep accurate time for months without needing any maintenance.
The design was born from the initial attempt the designer had to 3D print an analog clock which needed to be wound twice a day. Naturally, this became tiresome, and so the self-winding clock was born.
The most interesting thing about this clock is the detailed description of the mechanism and how it works. It’s a fascinating read as well as a neat and practical 3D printed clock that teaches you the mechanical workings as it guides you through the printing and assembly process.
This makes the self-winding pendulum clock one of the most practical and educational clocks on this list, ideal for those of you who love to learn while you build.
Silent Wall and Desk Clock
- Download: MariusT
- Price: Free
While some of us find the ticking of an analog clock to be a relaxing and even meditative sound, not everyone is soothed by the monotonous noise. This is especially true if you plan on displaying your clock in your bedroom or study.
Fortunately, this 3D printed clock is designed to be totally silent as it keeps time.
The design is versatile, as the frame can be displayed upright on a flat surface or mounted on a wall.
As well as being quiet, this clock looks really cool. The numbers just out of the frame and the visible mechanism within is a maze of gears that, if printed in a warm color, can make this clock a wonderful addition to any home’s décor.
But don’t be fooled by how complex it looks, like the pendulum clock above, the designer for this silent clock has laid out all instructions clearly along with all the extra parts you’ll need to get printing with confidence.
So if you’re testing the waters with 3D printing clockwork mechanisms, or simply need some extra guidance, this is a great design for anyone who wants an aesthetically pleasing timepiece with none of the noise.
‘Time Rolls On’ Marble Clock
- Download: HFoG
- Price: Free
Sometimes you come across an engineering feat that’s so cool it’s impossible to look away, and this Time Rolls On marble clock is just that.
The ‘marble’ here doesn’t apply to the material, but the object, as the clock uses a rotating mechanism that moves the marbles around and places them automatically into slots that correspond to numbers on the clock.
It’s like that Mousetrap board game, except this actually works.
It may take some time to learn how to quickly read this one, as the time is read from the bottom up with the lowest shelf representing the hour and the two upper shelves representing the minutes in tens and single digits.
While the designer had anything but an easy time perfecting the mechanism and timing, the printing and assembly is surprisingly easy. All of the parts can be printed without supports and fixing everything together is a snap provided you got all the dimensions right.
This is by far one of the coolest 3D printed clocks there are, and while it may be a touch noisier than a lot of people would like, its hypnotic movements, impressive design, and free files make it an excellent project to try out for yourself.
Modern technology always means old tools are improved, updated, or changed to be more practical and easier to use. The advent of the digital clock in 1956 meant that all people could now read time at a glance.
While divisive, digital clocks and watches are here to stay. Though 3D printing a digital clock is tricky, as they do involve wiring and extra parts that will need some careful work to get working.
If you’re planning on going a step further and 3D printing a smart clock, then you’re going to need some additional hardware like a Raspberry Pi, so be sure to plan ahead and gather all the parts and tools you’ll need to get your clock working.
Here are some of the best at least partially 3D printed digital clocks for those of you who prefer electronic machinery to analog.
LED Pixel Clock
- Download: lightwell
- Price: Free
The LED pixel clock is a multi-purpose 3D printed digital clock designed to connect to the internet to do far more than simply tell time. It displays the temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure as well as functioning as an alarm clock.
Of course, something like this isn’t as simple as waiting for the print to be done. But fortunately, the designer has included in-depth instructions including browsers, sources, and parts to keep you in the know the whole way through printing and assembly.
Any fan of digital clocks that needs a little more practicality will be happy to call this their own, as a 3D printing project, it’s a bit more complex than your standard decorative affair, but analog clocks aren’t exactly easy breezy themselves.
So if you’d rather work with wires than gears, and need a 3D printed clock that does more than just tell the time, then this is the print for you.
Animated RGB Wall Clock
- Download: THETNR
- Price: Free
Not all digital clocks have to show the LCD font we all associate with alarm clocks and digital watches, and this 3D printed clock goes a step beyond simply abandoning that norm. By applying animations and displays as fun as a light show, this is an excellent digital wall clock that’s great for any fan of putting on a spectacle.
And don’t worry if you’re not confident in your programming abilities, because the designer has already choreographed and coded all the animations that are also available for free.
With how fun it is to look it, it’s easy to forget that it also tells the time. The light display is designed to show the time in a starkly contrasting color to the animations, making it easy to read as well as easy on the eyes.
LED Matrix Word Clock
- Download: g3HjMJ6huqVgt9b
- Price: Free
As well as abandoning the typical digital clock font, the word clock gets rid of numerals altogether! By using a light display to show the time in simple words on a matrix, it’s easy to see why this is a great clock to 3D print and wire if you’re a fan of the somewhat abnormal.
This clock also connects to the internet to display the accurate time for your location, showing it in plain English to be easily read.
The designer recommends a few test prints. A darker color is needed to make sure the light-up words are displayed as clearly as possible, but a slight misalignment will make it difficult to read or even harm the aesthetic quality of the piece.
So printing out and testing small sections before the big print is a good idea to save you both time and filament.
- Download: iz2k
- Price: Free
I have to admit I had some trouble deciding where to put this one. I’ve decided to include it with digital clocks because it does use a power source and Raspberry Pi.
Also, the flip-clock style, popularized in the 1940s, was arguably the basis for the standard digital clock we all know today, so it seems like a fitting entry here.
Despite the old-fashioned look, this is probably one of the most technologically complex 3D printed clocks on this list. But with helpful diagrams and clearly laid out guidelines, you’ll have this modern-day throwback on your nightstand in no time.
As well as a timekeeper, the flip-clock can also be programmed to work as a radio and an alarm, equipped with the all-important snooze button.
There are a lot of extra parts to this one, though, so even though the files are free you should be prepared to open your wallet if you want the 3D printed flip-clock to live up to its fullest potential.
Bonus: The Time Teaching Clock
- Download: nias123
- Price: Free
This combo analogue/digital clock is worthy of its own section by being an excellent, multiform clock that acts as a wonderful educational tool.
In a world where digital clocks are becoming more the norm and analogs are largely considered decorative relics, it’s more important than ever for children to learn how to tell the time on a standard clock face.
This 3D printed time teaching clock is designed to display the time in plain English alongside an analog clock display that counts the hours, minutes, and seconds in easily viewable numbers.
Since personalized is well-known to aid in education, both displays can even be customized to show the learner’s name or nickname to make each clock unique.
With some patience in printing the individual parts, and a little wiring to get the words to display as they should, this is a fantastic educational 3D printed clock that works well as a timepiece in its own right.