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# 3-D gimballed clock

*Sigh* another clock idea; will we never be free of them?
 (0) [vote for, against]

Its June the 1st. You stand in the newly refurbished waiting room of Crewe train station, wondering how much later your train will be. Your watch is being repaired, so you look around for a station clock. A large friendly analogue clock with a transparent face hangs from the ceiling, out in the middle of the room. There is no second hand, and there is a series of rings about the outer rim of the face, but apart from this the clock is fairly conventional looking. You observe the clock for a short while, and then realise, with glee, that the passage of the seconds is recorded by the clock face’s rotation about a central vertical axis.

Two weeks later you return, and find your elf in a similar predicament. You gaze at the clock once more and are surprised to find that the clock face is now pointing downwards, parallel to the floor. In the hours you spend waiting, you ponder this strange state of affairs, and watch the other, hapless, would-be passengers staring with confusion in their eyes and cricks in their necks. Suddenly it comes to you, the clock is also rotating about a horizontal axis, according to the day of the month.

Finally, on the 30th of June, late in the evening, once again you sit in Crewe station waiting room, and notice that the clock is now very nearly inverted. You smile, pleased that your theory about the days of the month rotation seems to be true, also you are fairly drunk. It is almost midnight, and as the clock spins through the last minute of the month, a frown furrows your brow. Now the clock will start July inverted, and that's no way to start a month. But just as you worry for the sanity of the clock's designer, the time reaches midnight. The entire clock face whirrs for a moment and spins about a third axis, perpendicular to centre of the face. The clock is now back in it's starting position, ready to begin again it's tumbling waltz.

 — Zircon, Jan 28 2003

I like the idea of a gimballed clock. I would love to see a clock that rotates for seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. I see each function having its own ring which is inside of the others. A sort of a "music of the spheres". This is a step in that direction. Croissant.
 — linguist, Jan 28 2003

Gimballed, that was the word I was looking for, thank you.
 — Zircon, Jan 28 2003

the trains still come late though.
 — po, Jan 28 2003

You are most welcome.
 — linguist, Jan 28 2003

Erm, I only just heard they have the internet on computers now, so I'm a little behind on this technology lark. maybe one day, there will be a website that I can upload pictures to, but someone's going to have to talk me through it.
 — Zircon, Jan 28 2003

 This made me think of a 3-D clock made up of three rings, marked with hours, minutes and seconds respectively, in the x, y and z planes, building a spherical ”cage”. From the center would seem to radiate the three hands, each turning in its own plane.

To achieve this effect, the hands would not be joined at the center, but the point of each hand would traverse a track on the inside of its ring, and care would have to be taken that two hands' points would not meet at a track intersection.
 — FarmerJohn, Jan 28 2003

 I will vote for anything with the word "gimballed" in the title.

 Or lozenge.

mmmm.lllllloooozzzzeeennnngggggggeeee!!
 — squeak, Jan 28 2003

Zircon, I like the idea, but it does seem something of a drawback that it's taken the character in your story so long to figure it out. It suggests it's not intuitive to read.
 — waugsqueke, Jan 28 2003

like I said, the trains still come late. its a clever ruse by British Rail to keep our minds off the timetable.
 — po, Jan 28 2003

 On the 15th of July you are back in the waiting room, but this time it's quite crowded, and you can't sit in your usual spot. You sit opposite it, with your back to the window. You are astonsished to see, clear and succinct instructions about how the clock works have been screwed to the wall, along with a short biography of the inventor, and some nice pictures of his other works. You think to yourself, 'hmmm, but these instructions aren't strictly necessary, because the time, in terms of hours and minutes, is still told in the same, normal way on the analogue clock face, and normally people know what day it is, and don't really need to know the time to the nearest second.' Then you think 'it's a pity they couldn't have just left it alone, with their stuipid corporate image, and informational plaques, damn them; the clock's counting of the days and seconds could be a subtle little secret about which only the regular user of Crewe station waiting room would be aware, but No! they had to wade in, those pen pushers over at city hall. God they make me angry!'

 — Zircon, Jan 29 2003

Be thankful that at least you have trains.
 — RayfordSteele, Jan 29 2003

 I like the idea, but feel obliged to take issue with one detail; nothing good EVER happens in Crewe.

Ever.
 — 8th of 7, Jan 29 2003

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