Forget hands — this 3D-printed clock keeps time using nothing but marbles

Thanks to wearables like the Apple Watch, there’s no doubt that our timepieces are getting smarter and more high-tech. However, if you really want an attention-grabbing way to tell the time (albeit a slightly less convenient one), look no further than student Görkem Bozkurt’s amazing 3D-printed clock. Based on a “rolling ball clock” design by Harley Mayenschein dating back to the 1970s, it tells you where you are in the day courtesy of a smart rail system, some marbles, and a whole lot of 3D-printed components.

The clock features three rails: One row for hours, marked 1 to 12; one for 5-minute increments, marked 5 to 55; and one for single minutes, marked 1 to 4. As balls are dumped from one level the next, the number of balls on each level enables you to work out the time using a spot of basic math. It sounds complicated — but it really isn’t after you get used to it. (More instructions on how to tell the time with one of the contraptions can be found here.)

Over the years, we’ve seen a number of projects re-creating Mayenschein’s original clocks, ranging from Lego versions built by fans to new wooden versions made by Harley’s son, Joe. Bozkurt, a physics student at Turkey’s Bilkent University, is the latest to throw his hat in the ring with his 3D-printed version.

rolling ball clock 3d printed fo9lx23jk10s8o5 large
Görkem Bozkurt

“When I was a kid, I was fascinated by small moving mechanisms,” Bozkurt told Digital Trends. “Because of this, I was a fan of novelty stores. This is when I first saw the rolling ball clock. It was different than the other kinetic toys I loved watching because it [performed a function by telling you the time.]”

Bozkurt’s model is a nifty reimagining of the original. In an effort to make it more visually appealing, he has added some new features, such as a different elevator mechanism. Best of all? If you like what you see, you can create your own version since Bozkurt has shared the instructions online.

“I share all my projects with the creative commons license, so people can improve them and edit them as they wish,” he continued. “The feedback I get from the community is the most important aspect of this. People can point things out that I’ve never thought about. Everyone who knows how to use a 3D printer should be able to build it. I provided instructions in detail to guide anyone with little to no experience. The build should take around one day to print, and 15 to 30 minutes to assemble.”

Hey, to butcher an old phrase, you’ve got to spend time to make time!

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Gaming

Ditch the meditation app. 'Katamari Damacy Reroll' is pure gaming zen

Katamari Damacy Reroll brings the magic of the PS2 classic to Nintendo Switch and PC. With updated visuals and the same great, singular loop, Reroll stands the test of time. Katamari Damacy is the ultimate relaxation game.
Gaming

The most common Nintendo 3DS problems, and how to fix them

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.