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Annoyingly random movement....

Salcombe boatbuilder

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Hi,
I know absolutely nothing about clock making. I am however a craftsman of 23 years building and restoring wooden boats. I'm rather hoping the learned inter-web of horology knowledge would help me with a little project of mine.... I'd like to make a clock. I'd like the clocks movement to be as random as possible, something that would be at home on the other side of the looking glass. Is there any precedent for such a thing? Is there a way of taking a conventional movement and making it irregularly erratic? There doesn't appear to be a market for random clock movements, at least not on Amazon. I'm guessing you guys are always trying to gain accuracy rather than throw it out the window so I'm hoping that this might give you a refreshing topic for a change, though I am suspecting the answer will be that in accuracy is easy accuracy is difficult random is super hard to achieve............. I'd love to hear any ideas, I fully expect to get flamed for knowing nothing about your subject, that's fine flame away. Thanks in advance,

J.
 

Tim Orr

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Good afternoon, J!

Well, at least you'd be decreasing the amount of entropy in the world! dG=VdP-SdT!!!!

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 

Bruce Alexander

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Hello J,

Welcome to our Forums. We have a well moderated environment so flames get put out pretty fast on the rare occasions they flare up.

I think you might be able to turn your project into some type of electronic clock. Maybe a Nixie Tube clock on a nice wooden base and a "looking glass" on the back. Maybe with switches for real vs. random time modes?

I'm a mechanical clock collector so I have no clue were you would start to put together an electric clock movement such as this.

Just throwing it out there.

Good luck with your project.

Bruce
 

MuseChaser

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Hi,
I know absolutely nothing about clock making. I am however a craftsman of 23 years building and restoring wooden boats. I'm rather hoping the learned inter-web of horology knowledge would help me with a little project of mine.... I'd like to make a clock. I'd like the clocks movement to be as random as possible, something that would be at home on the other side of the looking glass. Is there any precedent for such a thing? Is there a way of taking a conventional movement and making it irregularly erratic? There doesn't appear to be a market for random clock movements, at least not on Amazon. I'm guessing you guys are always trying to gain accuracy rather than throw it out the window so I'm hoping that this might give you a refreshing topic for a change, though I am suspecting the answer will be that in accuracy is easy accuracy is difficult random is super hard to achieve............. I'd love to hear any ideas, I fully expect to get flamed for knowing nothing about your subject, that's fine flame away. Thanks in advance,

J.
What a coincidence! I was just about to post an inquiry wondering if anyone had any plans or designs as to how to build a boat that may or may not float, randomly.... ;)

On a somewhat serious reply to your thread, a 400-day clock with the fork set at an incorrect height can induce random "flutter," leading the clock to randomly advance many minutes at a time. Also, if you can tweak it just right, setting the escape on any pendulum clock to the point where it just barely engages can result in the clock advancing in a similar fashion, although when that's the case usually the clock won't continue to run on its own power. The 400-day clocks can and do.

Gotta ask... what is the end goal? Confusing guests aboard your boat? Getting attractive dates to be unaware of the real time? ;)
 

bruce linde

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Salcombe boatbuilder

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Gotta ask... what is the end goal? Confusing guests aboard your boat? Getting attractive dates to be unaware of the real time? ;)
[/QUOTE]

Not for aboard a boat. I've just built a boat for a customer that collects carriage clocks, unsurprisingly he's a very strict time keeper by nature. I'm a good craftsman and produce quality work, but my timekeeping is more than a little unpredictable. I make completely bespoke work all the time, we don't just bolt bought bits together rather we make as much of our boats as possible in the workshop so all parts are really integrated. I imagine it's much like the work you guys do, perhaps you have the same time management difficulties? Well throughout the job I have imagined the clock that would best represent my timing. Its something that whilst beautifully made and of conventional parts is frustratingly unpredictable, the only truth being that at some point it will tell the correct time, possibly, hopefully.

I think if I made such a clock, the point being well crafted, beautifully made, but unreliable unpredictable and erratic, then he could use it to manage his expectations appropriately when commissioning work from me....... Mechanical would be preferable.....
 

Salcombe boatbuilder

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Hello J,

Welcome to our Forums. We have a well moderated environment so flames get put out pretty fast on the rare occasions they flare up.

I think you might be able to turn your project into some type of electronic clock. Maybe a Nixie Tube clock on a nice wooden base and a "looking glass" on the back. Maybe with switches for real vs. random time modes?

I'm a mechanical clock collector so I have no clue were you would start to put together an electric clock movement such as this.

Just throwing it out there.

Good luck with your project.

Bruce
Thank you for your welcome Bruce. The Nixie tube clocks look great, sort of steam-punk, that might work!
 

Salcombe boatbuilder

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Good afternoon, J!

Well, at least you'd be decreasing the amount of entropy in the world! dG=VdP-SdT!!!!

Best regards!

Tim Orr
This comment couldn't be more appropriate! Tim you have now diverted me off my current time line and (to use another Carroll metaphor) hurled me down the rabbit hole of the arrow of time, sounds fascinating and looks like my reading list for the next month has been revised.
 

Tim Orr

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Good afternoon, J!

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." –Groucho Marx
 

Richard Cedar

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As a maker of sculptural kinetic wooden clocks, I briefly investigated the possibility of using a “double pendulum” on a clock. Double pendulums are used to demonstrate chaotic behavior and their motion can be visually very captivating.

My hope was to design a pendulum that had a random beat over a short period, say a minute, but over a longer time scale (an hour) it would average out to a predictable value. The result would be a clock that may be out by a minute of two at any time, but over a day it would keep reasonable time.

From what I could tell there was no way to determine the average period of a double pendulum but it is on my list of things to explore in further depth when I get a spare random minute.

I would be interested if anyone on this forum has every heard of the application of a double pendulum to a clock.

Richard Cedar.
 
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Bruce Alexander

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That's very interesting Richard.

No, I haven't heard of a double pendulum regulated clock before.
What kind of escapement would you use?
Keeping a simple pendulum impulsed can be challenging at times. At least for me it can be.
I don't think this is what you have in mind but I found this Thread in the Archives: https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/double-pendulum-cuckoo-clock.119916/

Regards,

Bruce
 

D.th.munroe

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Breguet made a couple double pendulums as well as Janvier and a few others.
Here's 2 of the few that David Walter has made, the dw5 is very cool with 2 different length pendulums one free. He has made at least 3 more I know of.
Oh the Janvier double pendulum is in the Patek Phillipe museum.

Dan
 

Bruce Alexander

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Just to be clear, when you describe "double pendulum" are you talking about something with a random period like the one in the video or something else?
I'd love to see an escapement keep a double pendulum like the one in the video going!
Kind of looks like a man on the flying trapese.
 

Bruce Alexander

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Breguet made a couple double pendulums as well as Janvier and a few others.
Here's 2 of the few that David Walter has made, the dw5 is very cool with 2 different length pendulums one free. He has made at least 3 more I know of.
Oh the Janvier double pendulum is in the Patek Phillipe museum.

Dan
Dan,

I would love to see these in person!

Bruce
 

Richard Cedar

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My post about the potential of making a clock with a chaotic "double pendulum" was meant to refer to a clock with one pendulum hanging on the bottom of another pendulum (pendulums in series) as described in the Wikipedia article (Double pendulum - Wikipedia) rather than two pendulums "in parallel" like those used by David Walter and others. Unfortunately, the math of double pendulums (in series) gets complicated quickly and I need to find a tame applied mathematician who can help me determine if, over a long period, the beat of the upper pendulum averages out to a constant value. My intuition, based on my knowledge of other chaotic systems (fluid turbulence), is that it probably does.

Designing a compatible escapement could be a challenge. My gut feel is that a recoil escapement designed to allow a large pendulum arc could work, but it will never be an efficient system. Given that the horological world focuses on creating clocks with absolutely constant beats, I like the idea of making a clock with a chaotic beat but still keeps reasonable time.

One of my very early clock designs used a flying pendulum.


Out of all my clocks, it is the one that people find most fascinating, but I can confirm that it is a terrible timekeeper.

Richard Cedar.
 

tok-tokkie

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I would really like to see a clock using that double pendulum of the first video.

The problem is the great difference in the arc of the swing which will require an escape that can accommodate a great amount of over-swing. I would think a pin wheel escape is an option.

As far as the average period of the swing over time. I use an app for Android phone called WatchCheck. It would be perfect for that. I check my clock over a 24 hour period. It tells me the deviation to 1/10 sec. I have an Excel spreadsheet where I compare the actual number of swings to the correct number of swings & it shows me how much to adjust the clock. But I do that over a 7 day period. My clock has a 1 sec pendulum which simplifies things.

Vienna clocks typically have a 80 BPM pendulum. Most that have a seconds dial have a 30 tooth escape & the “seconds” hand does a rev in 45 secs. Some have a 40 tooth escape wheel so the seconds hand does a rev in 1 minute but it jumps slightly less than 6 degrees each time. It would be nice if you could include a “seconds” hand.
 

RobG

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Don't forget that the original chronometers on boats were mechanical. I would think a pendulum clock on a boat would work reasonably well if it were gimballed? It may be interesting to highlight the gimbal instead of hiding it to add to the mystique.
 

bruce linde

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I would think a pendulum clock on a boat would work reasonably well if it were gimballed?

uhm, no... otherwise people would have been doing that for hundreds of years. given that even the air movement caused by closing a clock door too quickly can throw off a pendulum, the sudden... and much more powerful... and random direction.... movements of the ocean make that a non-starter.... although not for want of trying! :)

pendulum accuracy is based on gravity. the center of a pendulum arc needs to be constant... which it wouldn't be on a boat. even with the most friction free gimbal setup the any off axis inertial forces would be enough to make the swing inconsistent and adversely affect accuracy.
 

RobG

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Curious, thanks Bruce. True the chronometers were not pendulum movements. Maybe if the gimbal were on the order of the gunmount of a battleship. ;-)
 

bruce linde

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Curious, thanks Bruce. True the chronometers were not pendulum movements. Maybe if the gimbal were on the order of the gunmount of a battleship. ;-)

actually, i was right there with you, and visualizing a huge/heavy pendulum on a giant gimbal in the hold of an old pirate ship... :)
 

Jim DuBois

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A pendulum clock cannot work reliably on any vehicle in motion. There are a number of motions underway on a ship at sea. There is the rise and fall of the ship, think about a spastic elevator. Then there is pitch and roll. There are acceleration and deacceleration elements as the ship hits a wave. There is the effect of vertical motion as well as pitch and roll. When in the trough of the wave and then starts heading upward the "apparent" weight of the pendulum is higher than static. At the top of the travel to the top of the wave and as the ship starts to "fall" down again, the apparent weight of the pendulum is less than static. Think about traveling up and down in a fast elevator and how you feel when that happens. While gravity and mass remain constant in motion or not, acceleration acts on those masses. So, even the best gimble system in the world, all stabilized to the max, will not yield reliable timekeeping. There are documented instances of the very minor motions of skyscrapers in windstorms will stop pendulum clocks in higher elevations.
 

bruce linde

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jim is spot on… all i would add is that you have to remember that some of the forces he mentions don’t take turns and can be happening simultaneously… in different directions.
 

Jim DuBois

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jim is spot on… all i would add is that you have to remember that some of the forces he mentions don’t take turns and can be happening simultaneously… in different directions.
Yeah, I speak from experience, thanks to time spent in a tin can in the USN. A heavy sea, think 50 feet +/- a bit, and life will change for all involved in short order. And even ships chronometers can be affected by that much motion, not much, but a bit. We wound and checked them daily and they could be a bit jumpy in heavy weather. They might run within fractions of seconds of perfect time per week in average weather conditions. Or run slightly fast or slightly slow but at a consistent and predictable rate.
 

RobG

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Jim, I don't think I saw 50' seas when I was active duty. But I landed a helicopter on the back of a supply ship in 20' seas at night. That was fun. Sure.
 

bruce linde

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ok, so this pales in comparison, but long ago in another life my band got booked on the hornblower dinner cruises that sail the s.f. bay. of course there was a huge storm the night we went out and the loading ramp was going up and down somewhere between 5-10'. needless to say we played the entire gig ( a dinner dance) sitting down. :) i had visions of my expensive gear sliding off the loading ramps into the water... i know, i know, i'm a lightweight! :)
 

Jim DuBois

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Jim, I don't think I saw 50' seas when I was active duty. But I landed a helicopter on the back of a supply ship in 20' seas at night. That was fun. Sure.
We (DD-715, USS Wm. M. Wood) were operating in the Mediterranean in the late winter early spring of 1968. We encountered a storm that lasted nearly 10 days. The storm was bad enough we couldn't pull into port while it was still raging. I remember we recorded a few waves that were about 54 feet, fortunately, it was not that bad all the time. We took one 45 degree roll, a couple more degrees and we would have rolled completely over and that would have been the end of that. 20' seas landing a copter would have been more than a bit nerve-wracking. Congratulations on that! I was a passenger in a P2 subhunter that landed on the USS Saratoga in a sea state of maybe 10' and that was not fun. Never been so frightened in my life. But, back to clocks
 

Micam100

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I'd like to make a clock. I'd like the clocks movement to be as random as possible, something that would be at home on the other side of the looking glass.
Hi J.

Without thinking too deeply about it I can imagine that a couple of arbors and a couple of wheels would get you something very random. You need to liberate the hour wheel from timekeeping duties and connect it to the chime train. That way, on the quarter hour the hour hand would take off like a mad thing and even more so on the half, three quarter and hour.

The minute hand would keep plodding along at the usual pace. In your case, make the hour hand turn backwards with the chime so your customers can see the time scale you work in.

I wasn't going to think deeply about this, but I can't help myself. Use a time and strike movement instead so that at 1 o'clock the hour hand jumps back 1 hour, at 2, 2 hours etc.

Michael
 

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