Back to the Future Clock Face

A neighbor asked me to help him make a 24″ diameter clock face like one seen in the movie “Back to the Future”.  He has already built a Delorean time machine from a golf cart chassis complete with blinking lights and fold up wing doors.  I hope to post photos of the car at the end of this blog when they become available.  I hope that you enjoy reading about this fun project!

Two Rail Sweep

Using a photo as a starting point, I was able to construct a clock face with Aspire software. If you look closely at the upper right hand corner of the drawing, the little squiggle represents the moulding profile of the clock face. Employing Aspire’s two rail sweep function, the circular profile was added to the outer two circles of the drawing and became the 3D portion of the clock face.

Clock with table location

I knew that holding the work piece would pose challenges and that I would have to secure the clock face to the spoil board with screws, it was necessary to know the location of my table’s T-slots and spoil board’s hold down screws. Using the layer function in Aspire, the pink outline of the table was overlayed onto the model.

Initial Placement

My neighbor gave me a 24″ diameter pine table top as a blank. I secured the outer perimeter to the spoil board using clamps to cut the inner pocket, drill holes for the second markers, carve the numbers and cut the hole for the clock hands. Using the table outline in the previous photo, I was able to drill holes for the screw hold downs necessary to cut the outer perimeter moulding once the clamps were removed.

Cutting the Recess and Detail

The machine is cutting the detail and drilling holes.

Cutting Progress

The clamps were removed from the outer perimeter and the blank was secured to the spoil board with screws in order to cut the outside moulding.

Cutting the Perimeter

A closer look at the outer 3D moulding profile as it’s being formed.

Cut Completed

The final profile cut separated the bull nose waste from the blank. It was fragile and cracked but it was held in place with tabs so it wouldn’t become a projectile.

BTF Clock

The completed clock face ready for my neighbor to do the final finishing.