How to build a battery operated clock

Written by max stout
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How to build a battery operated clock
The sky is the limit when you build your own battery-operated clock. (clock image by peter Hires Images from

Building a battery-operated clock is a fun project in which the design choices are practically limitless. While there are prefabricated clock kit models available that are battery-operated, the do-it-your-self person can indulge his imagination and create a unique clock of his own design. Once the type of clock case has been determined, the particulars of the battery-operated clock installation can be considered. Some battery-operated clocks are time-only models while others have chime and pendulum features. The tools required for building the battery-operated clock are few, though there may be some special tools you will need depending on your case design. Time to complete the project will be relative to your design choices as well.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • 3/8" drill bit (wood or steel as required)
  • New battery operated clock movement
  • Adjustable wrench
  • New battery (or batteries)

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  1. 1

    Measure the thickness of the dial included with the clock kit or your own home-made dial to determine the post depth size required.

  2. 2

    Drill a 3/8" inch hole in the centre of what will be the clock dial to accommodate the 5/16" inch diameter of the clock movement post.

  3. 3

    Remove the retaining nut and washer from the new battery-operated clock movement post.

  4. 4

    Insert the new clock movement into the clock case, guiding the movement post through the dial centre hole.

  5. 5

    Place the clock dial over the clock post, if applicable. The design of the clock may not require the use of the prefabricated dial included in the clock kit and may have another unique method of referencing the time, such as handmade numerals or dials of your own design.

  6. 6

    Secure the battery-operated clock to the case by installing the washer first and then the retaining nut onto the threaded clock post. Tighten by hand snugly.

  7. 7

    Align the battery-operated clock inside the case and tighten the retaining nut with the adjustable wrench. Take care not to overtighten the nut.

  8. 8

    Press the hour hand onto the hand shaft snugly directly at the 3, 6, or 9 - o'clock position on the dial using your fingers.

  9. 9

    Align the elongated hole in the centre of the minute hand with the minute hand shaft for a correct fit.

  10. 10

    Secure the minute hand to the minute hand shaft using the hand retaining nut. Use finger pressure only to install the minute hand nut. Do not over tighten.

  11. 11

    Install the sweep-second hand, if applicable, by pressing the sweep hand tube over the sweep second hand shaft.

  12. 12

    Install the appropriate size battery or batteries as recommended by the clock manufacturer.

Tips and warnings

  • Battery-operated clock post sizes vary in depth from as little as 3/16" inches to 15/16" inches, so know what your dial depth will be before purchasing the clock kit.

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