da Vinci Flying Pendulum Clock
From the MRC website listed above,
Da Vinci was fascinated by how timepieces operate. Based on one of his sketches, it uses the laws of motion and a vertical “flying” pendulum escapement to keep accurate time.
The pendulum’s weights, in a bucket suspended from a crane-style arm, act as the clock’s power source. The weights propel the pendulum from vertical post to vertical post. As it “flies” it turns precision gears, which in turn keep time. To speed up or slow the clock, adjust the weight-balance of the pendulum by adding or removing weights.
The kit comes packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with 2 bags of parts and the instruction manual.
One of the bags contains the parts molded in brown plastic that resembles wood grain. Included in this is 1 sprue containing 6 parts, 1 loose base, 1 loose top piece (C2) and 2 loose clock faces.
The second bag contains 2 sprues of black plastic parts, 23 in total. With the black sprues, there is also a bag of 5 black plastic gears and another bag with 9 metal shafts and a cardboard piece with 2 different pieces of string, one white and one black.
There are no decals included in this kit.
The instructions are on a single foldout sheet with 33 steps for construction plus instructions on how to operate the clock.
The parts are cleanly molded; there was no flash on any of the parts in my kit. There are ejector pin marks on the backside of the parts, but the only ones that are noticeable are on the top piece (C2).
Construction starts by setting the metal shafts into the gears. Academy provides a tool (A10) that sets the shaft at the right location in each gear. Pay attention which shaft you are putting into the gear as there are 6 different sizes. The instructions include a full size diagram of each shaft so you can compare to make sure you have the correct one.
All assembly is completed with press/snap fits so no glue is necessary. The fit of the parts is excellent and the only piece that didn’t fit tight was the top piece (C2). The fit of it is tight enough that the operation of the clock isn’t affected, but it is easy to move the piece on the metal shaft.
The whole clock builds up quickly and the only option is whether or not you want to add the legs (C2) to the base. I added them so the weight would have a longer distance to travel allowing the clock to run a little longer. I did not paint any of the parts on my clock and did not use any glue during the construction. The clock faces (1 for seconds, 1 for minutes) do not have any numbers on them, only lines.
You will need to add a couple of coins or similar weight to the little bucket to make the clock work. The instructions do not tell how much weight to add, they show adding 2 “100” coins in the bucket. I added 4 U.S. quarters at first and found it to be too much weight. I ended up using 2 U.S. quarters in the end. There is a diagram to show how to make adjustments to make the clock run at the right speed. I tuned mine up so it ran smoothly. I didn’t worry about it keeping the proper time. I did have to adjust the shafts that go into the top piece (C2) so they didn’t stick down as far as the instructions show. I found the clock ran smoother with them being shorter.
The clock operates by winding the string to lift the weight, gravity takes over from there and the weight pulls the string turning the gears. The pendulum with the string and ball weight spin around with the ball weight and string wrapping itself around the vertical shafts until it unwinds and spins around to the other shaft. The clock will only run for about 30 seconds or so before the weight hits the table. If you positioned the clock on the edge of the table or shelf, it would run longer as there is plenty of string included. It does, however, do a good job of showing how the mechanism works and is fascinating to watch.
This was a very fun build with no issues. I enjoy these types of kits that show how mechanisms work and find them to be a good teaching resource.
I would like to thank Academy, MRC and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to build and review this kit.