The Bicycle Chain Clock

bicycle chain clock

I like bicycle, the most brilliant and simple engineering that converts human propelled energy into swiftness and speed. I have been tinkering around with bicycle chains to come up with possible uses for them since taking art in my ‘A’ levels, and this is one of the ideas that transpired.

The first draft was sketched in Nov 2012. It then took about a year of conceptualisation around work commitments and the first prototype was built this month.


This is not a working prototype, however. It’s still missing a servo and controller that are still being shipped here and may be problematic in being incorporated into this design.

How it works:
The chain with the ‘needle’ will move across the lines. The distance between the gears are carefully calculated so the “needle” can move at a constant velocity. Although theoretically it is possible to have an equal distance on all gears while having a variable velocity, it will involve too much programming that is unnecessary for the proof-of-concept prototype.


Irregularity sets this design apart from the conventional clock. Other shapes were explored, each involving different numbers of gears, but this vertical straight line design was chosen for its simplicity and uniqueness.


**I would like to thank my father for giving me support, the various bicycle shops near my house who kindly donated the used chains for my research, Andreas and Xiangyun for their advice on presentation, Ramona and Christoph for teaching me laser cutting, as well as fellow colleague engineers whom I worked and gained experience with.

Please also check out the bicycle chandelier project


and my photography facebook page and don’t forget to leave your feedback, suggestion and comment!


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