elarson2 Project 1 - Mid Century Clock

Made by Louise Larson

Use the Rabbit Laser to etch, score, and cut a mid-century modern inspired wall clock for the A5 workspace and classroom.

Created: October 22nd, 2017



As someone who regularly teaches in A5, I face the back of the room. A clock is hanging above the studio doors to help track time, however, this clock isn't pleasing to look at. My goal in this project is to create a mid-century inspired clock that will serve as an example for digiTOOL students. My secondary goal is to bring more aesthetically pleasing fixtures into A5. 

Below is a sketch of my concept. This clock needs to fit above the door, so the heigh has to be less than 20".



Home goods are incredibly personal. I like my surroundings to be aspirational, bold, and complex. Much of my aesthetic is informed by tension created by opposing influences. I'm also interested in what it means to use new fabrication tools to create traditional folk art or augment biology. 

For this project, I'm going to challenge this tension by using a laser cutter to make a mid-centiry modern clock. I'll be using a CNC tool to fabricate an analog clock whose aesthetic form predates the technology used to created it.


Process + Procedure

I'll be using Fusion360 and Adobe illustrator to design and prepare this clock. My design steps are as follows:

  1. measure exact dimension of clock kit and door frame
  2. use F360's sketch environment draw first 3-tier pattern for outer clock shape 
  3. create a circular pattern to repeat the 4 major design elements of clock
  4. stop sketch and extrude clock 
  5. create second sketch for clock face
  6. extrude clock face
  7. create third sketch for numbers and spindle hole
  8. extrude-cut numbers into clock face, extrude-cut hole into all clock body
  9. combine-cut clock face into outer body
  10. assign materials to bodies and render final model
  11. create sketch projections for all bodies
  12. export projects as DXF
  13. use Illustrator to create artboard sized to material (cast acrylic and wood)
  14. layout DXF files in Illustrator to test and cut clock
  15. test cut until satisfactory outcome
  16. cut final pieces
  17. clean acrylic with acetone, sand wood and seal with butchers block
  18. assemble final clock with clock kit

In this process, I ended up switching the materials used. Originally I was going to make the clock face out of acrylic and the outer body of wood. Due to the material constraints, I ended up switching the materials and bodies. In this process I also created multiple outer rings. In my original file, I only created one layer, but seeing how each layer of acrylic added dimension, I changed my design to account for multiple layers.



For my MCM clock, I used the CNC workflow (CAD>CAM>Cut). Below is a timelapse video and more details of my process.

Software: Fusion360, Adobe Illustrator, LaserCut

Tools80w Rabbit Laser

Materials: black smoky cast acrylic, birch plywood, clock kit

Finishing: sanding, cleaning acrylic, sealing wood, glueing, assembling



Reflect on the process of making this project. What did you learn? What would you do differently?


Collaboration or Attribution

Thanks to IDeATe for providing the facility to teach this class.

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Digital Tooling (DigiTool) provides a platform for any CMU student to learn Digital Fabrication processes; all of which are very hands-on. Like these processes, this class is also very hands-on. I...more


Use the Rabbit Laser to etch, score, and cut a mid-century modern inspired wall clock for the A5 workspace and classroom.