This 3D-Printed Watch Doesn’t Tell Time Well But That Doesn’t Matter

Not unlike Ke$ha, things that go tick-tock are quite interesting and this 3D printed clock is no exception. This clock, actually a tourbillon with a going barrel, is unique in that the DIY plans are available for download and, as far as anyone can tell, you and your friends could be telling time on giant 3D-printed clocks in a few hours.

There are a number folks doing similar things online but the creator, Christoph Laimer, is the first to produce and upload the entire thing from balance wheel to the hairspring. This means you can remix the clock as you see fit and try your hand at updating and upgrading it.

The most important thing, however, is that he’s produced a fully-working tourbillon – albeit with a 30-minute lifespan – in plastic. It’s not the most accurate thing in the world – friction still plays a big role in things like these and will gum up the works – but I trust Laimer accounted for all of that in his design. It also points to a future when watch manufacturing becomes far easier for the average tinkerer, a big deal if you’re into micro mechanics.

Hodinkee ran a nice interview with him but, in short, this is a massive step forward in 3D printed mechanical devices. Even I wouldn’t risk downloading and printing this, though: Laimer has a lot of patience and a lot of skill and until I get really good with my PLA spitting machines I’m going to sit this scientific advance out. To the rest of you? Excelsior!