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Discussion Starter #1
I've been wanting to make a working countdown clock from The Nightmare Before Christmas for a while now, but I'm stuck on one part of the design and could use some input from you guys. My goal is I want to make the countdown part of the clock (### Days to Halloween) actually functional, but I haven't figured out a way of making it look good. I don't really want to use some sort of LCD screen because it would have a backlight to it that I doubt would look right. I've been thinking of making some sort of mechanical system and then illuminating it with some warm LEDs. Unfortunately, I can't figure out a good way of doing the mechanical system yet. Does anyone have any ideas for a mechanical system that would allow me to show three numbers (up to 365) and update them daily?
 

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I'm in the works of making this mechanism for my clock Woodgears counter It can be modified to be actuated by a solenoid and a simple electric timer or an old mechanical sprinkler type timer. 5535182921_0e80400b2a_b.jpg If you look on the sides of my clock, you'll see knobs that I currently use to change the days.
 

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Interesting idea. To have a mechanism like that with the size digits I want, the rotors would need to be something like 6.5" in diameter. That would make the clock very deep. Much deeper than it appears in your photo. How are you storing the other 9 digits in your clock? What are they printed/painted/etc. on?
 

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I'm rebuilding the number box to accommodate the reels. In the picture you'll see my old numbers. Basically I printed off a bunch of numbers on my laser printer (Ink jet will fade too quickly) and then laminated them with a type of peel and stick acetate on both sides. After a strip was complete, I stapled and glued the ends to a dowel, one at the top and one at the bottom, that is turned by hand. I attached a thin piece of white cutting board to the back of the number holes, leaving about 1/8" gap. Before I attached it, I rounded over the edges that the numbers would glide over. Changing the numbers was a simple matter of turning the knobs until the desired number appeared. It has worked great for 6 years now hanging outside for 30+ days a year. It's just time to update it a little. If you would like a picture of the dowel setup, I could dig the clock out in 2-3 weeks and get a shot for you. Here's a link to the pics I do have. slcjeeper NBC album
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So if I understand correctly, you wind up the dowel from 0 -> 9, then when you need to roll over from 9 -> 0, you have to rewind the dowel?
 

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Yes, each number has its own set of dowels. Roll one way 0-9 and roll backwards 9-0. It's simply a set of scrolls scroll.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm not a big fan of the rewind solution like that, but I'll keep it as an option. I doubt that I'll get to this project any time soon though, it's just been on the top of my mind for the past week or so. I'm wondering if I can do the rotary counter that you linked above and make it fairly trim but also hide it well inside the rest of the clock & face.
 

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I have been wanting to make a countdown clock for a few years. Finally am getting around to it this year. Thanks for all the information. Definitely will be using it for my clock although the woodgears counter will have to wait for another year.
 
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