The Incline Clock
|The incline clock is beautiful to see in oak. The cylinder rolls slowly down the incline taking 1/2 hour to complete its journey to the other side. At the end, the cylinder triggers a switch that tilts the incline the other way, and the ball starts a 1/2 hour journey back. With each cycle, the hour is updated.|
|To tell the minutes. a brass "key"
hangs off of the cylinder along a wooden beam with cutouts that show the
minutes. When the incline tilts in the other direction a wooden slide
covers the minute markers for the first 30 minutes and exposes those for
the second 30 minutes.
The cylinder rolls so slowly due to baffles and fluid within it. A small hole in each baffle lets the fluid drain slowly into the next compartment. As it drains, the cylinder slowly roles down the incline.
|With each tilt cycle, the hour display is
Rick's challenge was to make this clock accurate. If the rolling cylinder is off as little as 30 seconds each 30 minutes, it will be off by 12 minutes per day!
Was it easy? No. In fact, this clock has a SECRET!
Even after discussion with research chemists at Dow Corning, Rick was not able to find a fluid that stayed the same thickness (viscosity) at all temperatures. That meant that when the temperature would change, the flow of fluid between the baffles within the cylinder would change. And that would change the time it takes to get from one end to the other. Hidden within the incline clock is an electronic clock that is secretly used to check the accuracy of the rolling cylinder. The hidden clock is used to adjust the timing of when the incline tilts the other way. For example, let's suppose that it is a warm day and the cylinder arrives at the switch 12 seconds early. Even though the switch has been triggered, the incline will not tilt the other way until the 12 seconds are up. Since the perfect fluid could not be found, the clock has to have a secret to remain accurate.
Please note that Rick's clock designs are legally protected and cannot be copied.
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