Magnetic Custom Image Clock

Introduction: Magnetic Custom Image Clock

This is the second clock that I made in a series of projects. My first custom image laser cut clock can be found here here. I wanted to build on my first clock by incorporating something eye-catching. Not only does this clock feature a custom image, but also magnetic invisible clock hands. The magnetic iron balls move without any hands-on the front of the clock because the hands are on the back of the clock!


This clock is very simple to build and only requires a few common parts:

1. Laser Cutter/ 1/4 Inch Plywood | If you don't want to have the laser cut image, you can simply cut a circle and decorate it how much or little you like!

2. Battery Operated Clock Mechanism

3. 1/4 Inch Magnetic Iron Balls

3. 3D Printed Hand | I will explain if/ why you might need it in step 3.

4. (2x) Small Blocks

5. Wood Support Arm | It must span the diameter of your clock.

Step 1: Use a Image to SVG Converter

You can use a picture to SVG converter to make any image laser cuttable. I used the converter, but there may be other options available.

When using the converter, use the 2 drop-down menus to select 'Strong' and 'Ready #3' as these options typically give the best results. When done, click 'DOWNLOAD SVG' to download your converted image.

Step 2: Make a Few Simple Modifications to the SVG and Laser Cut Your Clock

Now that you have converted your image into a compatible format, use a SVG editing software of your choice (I used Rhinoceros 3D) to add a large circle for the laser cutter to cut out your clock. My clock has a small hole in the center because I used the same front plate as I did in my previous design, but your clock does not need to have this hole.

You can also add some styling to your clock. I added some rectangles along the edge using the 'polar array' function in Rhino 3D.

Once you are done, export your design to a laser cutter and cut it out using a 1/4 inch thick sheet of wood.

Step 3: The Final Parts

You will need a thin wood support arm that spans the diameter of your clock. Mine happens to have small holes in it because I used some scraps, but yours only needs to have one in the center. This hole is for the clock mechanism to mount to.

You will need 2 small blocks to create a gap between the wood support arm and the wood clock face. These should be tall enough to create adequate space for the clock arms to rotate. The blocks that I used were 22mm tall.

You will need to 3d print the modified minute hand because it will create the necessary clearance for the hour hand's magnets to pass. The files are attached. Because the second-hand moves too fast, it can't be used for this project.

Step 4: Assemble the Clock Mechanism

In order for the magnetic iron balls to move, you will need to attach some small magnets to the end of the clock's hands.

Glue the small blocks to both sides of the wood support arm.

Now assemble the clock with the hands facing the side with the small blocks.

Step 5: The Final Touches...

Flip over the clock assembly and glue it to the back of the clock face. Set the time, attach the magnetic balls to the front of the clock, and insert a AA battery. Adjust the clock hands if needed to ensure that they will be able to pass each other with adequate clearance.

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    2 years ago

    Thats really great idea!


    2 years ago on Step 1

    I prefer digital clocks because you can see them at night.

    Zero To Infinity
    Zero To Infinity

    Reply 2 years ago

    You have a point, but I think digital clocks are a little too commonplace. Edit: You could paint the steel balls with glow in the dark paint to make them visible at night.