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Check Out This Incredible Tourbillon Clock Made Entirely from 3D Printed Parts

by • January 11, 2016 • 9s Comments

 Christoph Lamiers working clock with a tourbillon.

Christoph Lamier’s working clock with a tourbillon.

In case you’re not acquainted with what a tourbillon is, it is a mechanical component to a watch which prevents gravity of slowing down the watch and reducing accuracy. In an era when most watches are battery operated tourbillons are pretty rare, yet faux tourbillons are quite common. Basically if you see a battery operated watch which has what looks like a series of gears exposed on the face and so it is mimicking the look of an automatic watch with a tourbillon monitored 2nd hand. Even most modern automatic watches don’t use real tourbillons anyadditional, and in fact horologists (people who study the meacertainment of time) have long debated whether they in fact helped accuracy or were merely an expensive and complex decoration.

The art of watchmaking in this day and age is itself becoming a novelty, so watches with real tourbillons are even rarer and usually are just featured on quite expensive watches due to their amazingly complex and complex to engineer mechanics. Only the most skilled of watchcreaters can create one which is accurate, and for the reason they are so uncommon they are often shown off fundamentally as a status symbol or a sign of affluence. Producing the tiny and delicate parts utilized to create a working tourbillon using traditional materials, usually solid metals, but a fewtimes even precious metals, is incredibly complex, but using 3D printed components to create a functional tourbillon is a astonishing achievement.

Some of the fifty plus parts utilized in the clock.

Some of the 50+ parts utilized in the clock.

The clock was created in Autodesk Fusion 360.

The clock was created in Autodesk Fusion 360.

But Swiss engineer and Thingiverse user Christoph Laimer has that successfully fabricated a working clock with a tourbillon which is created entirely of 3D printed gears, mechanisms and components. Laimer’s clock is a marvel of clock design and an example of his 3D printing prowess. The parts weren’t printed on an industrial 3D printer which creates end-use parts, but rather in his home on an Ulticreater 2 computer 3D printer. The case itself was printed in PETG while all of the internal gears and mechanisms were printed with standard PLA.

I’ve seen a few larger clocks and easy gear mechanisms 3D printed, but this is the initial time which I’ve seen a timekeeping device as complex and complex to engineer as Laimer’s clock with a tourbillon. The clock was created in Autodesk’s Fusion 360 design software suite and was tested virtually to create certain which all of the parts may function as envisioned. All in total Laimer 3D printed additional than 50 individual parts to build his clock, and just requireed to use a tiny amount of pins and screws to hold equitething together.

Here is a video of Laimer explaining how his clock works and how he created it:

Most of the clock’s components were 3D printed in the Ulticreater’s standard 0.1mm layer resolution and none of the parts required any supports or rafting. But a few of the additional delicate and tinyer-scale parts, like the hairspring and a few of the gears, were printed with a 0.06 mm layer resolution. Even the clock’s spring was 3D printed, and for the reason the spiral plastic shape was so complex Laimer requireed to tweak the settings on his Ulticreater 2 in order to get it to print correctly. The spring drives the Swiss lever escapement which is embedded within of the clock’s tourbillon and it will run for 35 minutes preceding it will require to be injure up again.

The tourbillon clock will run uninterrupted for 35 minutes.

The tourbillon clock will run uninterrupted for 35 minutes.

You can see a 26-minute-long video of the clock running as proof which it works here:

Laimer has posted several detailed material lists and assembly instructions up the Thingiverse page so anyone can attempt to 3D print and assemble their own version. But if anyone is considering of taking a shot at it, be warned which it is quite an advanced 3D printing project which is most likely not suited to beginners, or heck even most advanced creaters. Discuss this cool design in the Tourbillion 3D Printed Clock forum on 3DPB.com.