Scimitar Ticker

Since I now own a CNC router, I can easily cut complex parts if I have a DXF or DWG file as a starting point. I am fascinated by wooden clocks, escapements and kinetic sculptures. 2016 marks the year that I decided to delve deeper into how these devices are designed and put together. There is a lot of information available on the Internet about these things including plans for sale so that was my starting point. I purchased a couple of plans from Clayton Boyer, his Number 6 clock and his Zinnia Kinetic Sculpture. I cut the Number 6 parts on a scroll saw and it took me a couple of months because I wasn’t trying to set any speed records, concentrating instead on accuracy. The assembly was difficult because I had no experience but the clock went together perfectly and has been ticking away for a couple of years keeping very good time. The Zinnia was cut on the CNC and the assembly was fairly easy, check my Zinnia blog for details. Along the way, I purchased software for designing and cutting gears, then found Art Fenerty’s Gearotic 2.0. Wow, amazing software that lets the user design clocks, tickers, escapements, gears, plus a bunch of other stuff and spit out DXF files to cut the parts. Just what I was hoping to find to help me achieve my goal. If you are interested, check out Art’s website

One fairly well documented device that I made using Gearotic 2.0 was a “ticker” called Scimitar. Art Fenerty published a YouTube video on how Scimitar is constructed and can be found here. Below are some photos of my Scimitar build, I hope you like it.


Scimitar Parts

My first “Ticker” project parts cut on the CNC and ready for assembly. The project is named “Scimitar” and it is a weight driven kinetic sculpture.

Scimitar Frame

A nice feature of the software is the ability to generate proper hole spacing for the various gears and escapements. This frame has many bearings and spacers installed ready for other components.

Milling the Gold Spring

Another recent shop addition was a table top milling machine. Here it’s cutting an adjustment slot in a thin strip of brass destined to become the Gold Spring in the triggering pallet.

Gold Spring in Place

The Gold Spring is attached to the pallet so it overhangs the end by an adjustable amount. Due to it’s length and flexibility, the spring releases in one direction and stops when something hits it in the other direction. The escapement is called a recoil chronometer escapement because the ratchet goes backwards slightly (recoils) when the spring receives an impulse from one direction.

Gluing Parts

Sometimes gravity works better than clamps for gluing parts together.

Scimitar Sub Assembly

Everything except the decorative pieces on the end of the arms is assembled here. Weight is added and the process of timing the device is performed. Click on the picture for a video of the sculpture in action.