Clock making is a skilled craft and a popular pastime. Modern clocks may be either mechanical or electronic. Mechanical clocks require pendulums, weights and gears. The various parts work in tandem to regulate the time. Electronic clocks typically employ ready-made movements that are simply inserted into the clock housing. Clock parts for clock making may be purchased at a variety of websites.
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The most visible part of any clock is its face. The hands that tell the time are connected directly to the inner workings of the clock. Choice of face and hands are largely matters of personal preference. Clock makers may purchase manufactured clock faces and hands that will fit with clock movements of given size and description. Hands must be attached to the centre of the clock face with a bolt that will then connect the hands to the appropriate gears inside the clock. Faces themselves can sport any number of looks, from sleek modern designs to traditional faces with Roman or Arabic numerals.
The movement is the part of the clock that actually orchestrates the turning of the hands on the clock face. Traditional mechanical movements consist of complex arrangements of interlocking gears. The speed of the gears is regulated by the regular motion back and forth of a pendulum. The gears themselves are driven by the slow, and regular, descent of weights on the front of the clock. The weights are connected by chains to the clock's main gear shaft. Each time a weight falls, its chain pulls on the main gear shaft causing it to move slightly forward. The movements of electronic clocks, however, are simply electronic devices that either move the hands of the clock or generate a digital display on the clock face.
Pendulums and Weights
Pendulums and weights must be carefully matched to the size of the clock and its movement. Pendulums work by swinging back and forth in accordance with the laws of gravity. Longer pendulums take longer to complete each stroke. Clocks that run too fast should use a longer pendulum, or if possible, the existing pendulum should be "lengthened" by lowering the pendulum bob. The pendulum bob attaches the pendulum to the clock movement. Weights, too, are designed to run with particular movements. Large clocks will require larger weights. The weights must possess just the right amount of pull or the clock will also run too fast or too slow.
Chimes and Music
Some clocks ring chimes or play music on the hour or fraction of the hour. Cuckoo clocks imitate a cuckoo's call. Each of these features requires specific equipment. Chimes can be installed inside the clock. They must be connected to the appropriate gears in the movement so they'll work at the proper time. The chimes themselves will generally be visible on the front of the clock in the area of the pendulum and weights. The production of music requires its own set of small gears, hammers and other devices. In a true mechanical clock, the music will be produced by, in effect, a small music box inside the clock. The cuckoo sound of a cuckoo clock is actually produced by a small bellows that must be installed according to manufacturer's instructions.
Large clocks, grandfather clocks especially, may sport elaborate moon and calendar dials. These are powered by separate movements that, once again, must be coordinated to the main movement of the clock. The dials themselves must match the clocks size, and are also powered by weights. Their physical appearance is determined by individual taste and available space on, or around, the clock face. Day and date features of electronic clocks are normal but additional features of the electronic movement.
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