Ball Clock II ~ Hour Ball Selector

by Jon Long Sr on August 20, 2016

The hour balls appear to be moving through the striker mechanism smoothly now.IMG_4632

It is time to focus on the section that will select and release the proper number of balls to the striker.

Back in February I talked about the hour Magazine and its eventual function.  That was to act as a counter for the hour by the accumulation of a ball every hour.  Also to store balls that would feed into the striker mechanism when selectively released to power the striker.

Things a getting a bit crowded in that area and it became obvious that I would have to build and test much of the mechanism for the selection outside of the clock.

I built a jig the simulated the vertical columns of the clock where the magazine mounts.  This should allow me the freedom to work on all sides of the selector and manually test the operation before mounting it back into the clock proper.

IMG_4633The selector has many parts that work together and I suspect will be challenging.

I used aluminum for the jig because:

  1. It is a soft metal and easy to cut and tap.
  2. It is cheaper than brass.
  3. It will be obvious which pieces are part of the clock.

The second photo shows the Hour Magazine mounted on the jig.  The horizontal brace is part of the clock.

Since the last posting I have been working out the design of the mechanism for the selectors.  I think I have enough to at least get started.  As in the past some of this will be worked out on the fly.

That is the exciting part.





Ball Clock II ~ Hour Lever – Phase II

by Jon Long Sr on June 20, 2016


Now that the balls are transitioning through the hour lever, the next things to do are provide an exit path for the balls and to harness the power from the lever.

Since there was already a track that went by the lower level of the travel of the hour lever,  (Ok that was  a weird sentence) I decided to divert the balls to it.

A bracket was made to provide a stop for the hour lever and also divert the balls to the back track.  (see photo) The photo shows the hour lever cup in the down position.

To get the power from the hour lever up to the top, I made a bevel gear assembly (see photo) and mounted it to one of the vertical columns.

IMG_4331 croppedBall bearings were installed to insure a smooth operation of the gears. A rod then carried the movement from the lever assembly up to a hammer by the bell.

When the weight of the ball carries the hour lever down, the vertical rod will rotate cocking the hammer.

When the ball exits the cup, the lever returns up allowing the hammer to strike the bell.  That is the theory anyway.

IMG_4530I quickly learned that I needed more power to make the bell louder.  The only way to accomplish without starting all over was to add more weight to the hammer.  Since the hammer rotates horizontally, it didn’t affect the hour lever very much.

However, there was an erratic timing of the strike as the balls transitioned through the lever mechanism and what I felt was just too fast.  I needed a way of pacing the strike so it could easily be counted.

It was also important not to tax the drive motor in doing this.

I ended up making a flanged wheel with a collar that had six socket head screws evenly spaced around one side.  Then mounted it on the horizontal shaft that turns at 5 rpm.

A block was made that held a small lever with a counter weight and would ride against the screw heads as the shaft turned.

IMG_4532 CroppedSince the shaft turns at 5 rpm, that moves the lever 30 times a minute or every two seconds.

A plate was added to the hammer arm that when the hammer cocked, it could be latched by the lever until released as the shaft turned.

The balls were originally moving into the hour lever about every second or so.  Now when the first one arrives and operates the hammer, the second ball will cock and latch the hammer until released.  This creates a strike every two seconds.  (See Movie)

Now it is time to work on the selector for releasing the proper number of balls for the hour.  I’m pretty sure this will be the biggest challenge yet.

Note: In the last three months I have spent untold hours trying to get the main bell to be louder and finally replaced it with a larger one that works much better.  There were a couple of gremlins that popped up and demanded attention as well which required some rework of the track.  I also replaced some work I had done earlier that I wasn’t happy with.  It is pretty normal to see a better way after you have done something.  This post covers a fair amount of time and progress not really noticeable. 

It has been very hot here in Arizona the last month and that has made it difficult to work in the garage.  And then there were the four days I spent in the hospital and recoup after that didn’t help too much.

Anyway, things are back on track and we will see how things go from here.



Ball Clock II ~ Hour Lever – Phase I

March 13, 2016

  Now that I have balls accumulating in the Hour Striker Magazine, I can work to route them to a mechanism for the hour strike. The challenge here was to get the maximum power from the lever to eventually operate a hammer for the large bell on top.  A little CAD work helped figure out how […]

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Ball Clock II ~ Hour Magazine Diverter

February 28, 2016

I’m having to make these titles up as I go.  Anyway there had to be a way to divert the excess balls for quarter strike to the rack that holds then for the hours strike when needed.  Making a fast moving ball take a 90 degree corner was problematic.  This took far longer to accomplish […]

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Ball Clock II ~ Hour Counter – Phase I

February 10, 2016

So far I have gotten the quarter hour strikes working and routed the extra balls back to the second lift. I struggled with how to keep track of the hours and also at the same time select the right number of balls to feed the striker mechanism.  That and fit it all into a rapidly […]

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Ball Clock II ~ Clutch Latch

January 26, 2016

Sometimes things get complicated.  Especially in relationships and ball clocks. Having the clock run more often has allowed some gremlins to show up.  I started to notice that the reset for the upper flips was occurring at random.  This of course messed up the quarter, half and three quarter strike timing since everything for that […]

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Ball Clock II ~ Quarter Lever Latch

January 25, 2016

With the strikes for the quarter hours coming too quickly it was necessary to figure out a way to slow them down.  Fortunately (by chance) the exiting balls pass below the quarter lever strike mechanism on their way back to the second lift.  It was about 1 second after exiting the cup on the quarter […]

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Ball Clock II ~ Spiral #2

January 24, 2016

So now I have balls going through the quarter magazine and ending up in the striker mechanism and then no where to go after that. The excess balls that are not needed for the magazine replenishment also have no where to go. It is time to make more track. I liked the aesthetic of the spiral […]

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Ball Clock II ~ Quarter Strike

January 3, 2016

Having completed the quarter ball magazine, it was time to move on to the bell and striking mechanism. When the balls exit the magazine the drop straight down onto a track that takes them to the level that will use the ball weight to operate the hammer. Because there would be multiple balls sometimes, I […]

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Ball Clock II ~ Quarter Ball Selection

December 28, 2015

With the quarter ball magazine completed it was time to tie it to the feelers for the quarter hour flips. Rods were attached to the adjustable hubs on each of the feelers. This way I could adjust the amount of down travel in relationship to the feeler being stopped by the quarter flips. Blocks were […]

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