I was inspired to make my first word clock after stumbling upon a DIY design on hack-a-day. I really liked the idea of a wordclock but felt that the designs I found online were too DIY or too modern metal and sterile. I wanted a design that was both elegantly styled and with a professional finish.
My first word clock was given as a present to my parents and it still hangs in their home today. I made more clocks similar to that first design which I also gave out as gifts to friends and family. Later, I developed a simplified design that I donated to AS220, my local Providence artist group, where I periodically teach a word clock making workshop.
After a few years of producing word clocks for gifts and fun, I developed my first word clock which is for sale. It utilizes a combination of fine craftsmanship and clever electronics to produce a one of a kind piece of practical art. I’m proud of the fit and finish of my word clocks and want to share them with people who want more than just a utilitarian tool.
I do all the fabrication myself in my basement. Now that I have the manufacturing process down, I’m ready to start marketing them. I’m promoting them as limited edition art pieces, not a mass market product. This first design is limited to 100 units.
So far I’ve sold one unit on etsy without any promotion whatsoever. So I’m hopeful that with a little promotion I’ll be able to sell 2-3 per month. I’m not really interested in turning this into a large scale business. I already do that for my day job. My intent with this is to continue to expand my creative output. It’s also a great excuse to acquire cool tools (aka toys) that I can teach my kids to use.
Please let me know what you think and feel free to ask questions!
I provide a numbered certificate of authenticity. But a plate is an interesting idea. I'll think about how to make that happen.
There are a couple of reasons for this approach:
1. I wanted to have a square clock face but was limited by the LED strip spacing I could source conveniently. This limited me to an approximate number of characters.
2. With this character limit, this was the simplest way to display times. Personally, I don't think this is the type of clock requires every minute precision. The qlocktwo (mentioned in other comments) has the exact time every 5 minutes with 4 LEDs to indicate the other 4 minutes. That wasn't my preference.
3. Other designs I've made as gifts in the past were physically larger and included a bunch of other times including:
- almost (for 2 minutes before an exact time)
- about (for 2 minutes after an exact time)
- ish ("randomly" replaces almost or about)
- plus a bunch of other exact times that could be made from the existing exact time lexicon
- It's Now
- as well as some other cool easter eggs
This larger design has a pretty cool lexicon (IMHO) but is much bigger and I couldn't fit it nicely on the stock wood material I could find. I didn't want to join planks of wood and I wanted this design to be square.
I'm working on a present for my wife that include "in paris" (she's a French teacher) that can be added to any time (and obviously including the math for the timezone offset).
I do all the word working and assembly myself. It's not a mass-produced thing from a factory in china. I do use some LED strips that are sourced from China, but I do all my own soldering of the controller board and LED strip connections.
I don't want to compete on price with the DIY/chinese factory kits. what I'm really selling is my time and thought and effort. I'm pretty proud of the quality of finish my design has.
thanks for your comment!
That one's in Dutch, but it's pretty easy to get a stencil in English and adjust the code.
if they don't, then they don't deserve it!
I've really enjoyed the process of figuring out how to manufacture these. To me that is an interesting challenge.
I've only found one other "high end" word clock on the market. Personally, I don't like their aesthetics. So I decided to make my own. I realize that many people may not like my aesthetics. That's art and style. To each his/her own.
And on Etsy:
but I'm interested in selling a limited edition art piece. Not a mass market product.
It does not generally prevent you from copying a design like this. A word clock is a concept: but that requires patent protection, not copyright.
And look at the Customers who viewed this item also viewed row.
Otherwise, we would see $79 mass-produced word clocks at Target.
I don't see anything that is obviously patentable to my wordclock design or others that I've seen. IANAL but I do hold 4 patents (and other pending) in other domains so I have a little bit of experience.
The original wordclock concept was based on a piece of artwork.
As being artwork, the artist creator is afforded the protections of copyright.
You have alot of time and money involved in this endeavor.
The original concept is based on the artwork of a particular artist and their company.
If he priced them much lower and ended up with either extreme (one or two orders vs a hundred), it wouldn't be great for him.
Just covering design time, workshop equipment and consumables, business costs, etc. requires a lot of markup to even break even in low volumes - and that’s before considering that yor’re paying a premium for art and design...
Basically, is it worth it TO YOU? I understand the logic behind trying to put together a BoM in your head, but also consider R&D time, tools (and the wear on them), time spent sourcing, finishing, final assembly, shipping, building an eCommerce site to sell these, advertising...there's a ton of cost outside of just the BoM, as many Kickstarter projects which never ship can attest to. Makers who have done any kind of mass production tend to understand this sort of thing, as do those who were able to hand-assemble a dozen of a thing, then had to scale it to a few thousand (read about electronic conference badges, for example). https://medium.com/@Haje/how-a-half-million-dollar-kickstart... is another account of this.
Finally, it's art. Many luxury products have huge mark-ups of hundreds or thousands of percent (look up Luxottica for example...they make most of the plastic sunglasses that sell for >$100). Could YOU make a single one that is similar for less money? Probably, but that's not what you're paying for here. Most artists are not crazy greedy capitalists, but the ones who think through it enough to turn it into a longer-term successful venture tend to price things according to how much they need to make it worth their time to bother to produce them.
/rant on behalf of all my artist friends who wish they could do art full-time but can't because it would never come close to paying the bills
I think the audience on HN is unique in that many of them may have the ability to think about BOMs, have access to some CNCs and program a microcontroller. But they are not my target audience. I'm not trying to build a mass market product. I'm trying to sell my art. And, yes, if I want to sell my art, I need to afford to sell it. :)
That's a sign that the artist's valuation of their time might be overpriced, plain and simple.
Maybe people disagree with paying a $60/making-hour time value for a clock that they could build themselves or buy at a fraction of the listed price.
It is then up to the seller to make their case for why they think the product warrants a $60/making-hour price.
I started at AS220 as an "engineer" teaching "artists" how to use tools to make their art. Overtime, I realized I was also an "artist" making art. Much of this realization came when people that I considered real artists in my community started calling my work art. It was a GREAT feeling. I'd love to have others experience that too!
And yes, I do value my time. I have 2 young kids, a spouse and a dog. Plus other family and hobbies. So if I'm going to produce art for sale (and most of my art isn't for sale), it needs to be worth my time. I've even considered if my pricing is too LOW given the value of things I could spend my time on. I'll aways be making art for myself and as gifts. Selling it to other is something I'm trying out for now.
Nice to run fullscreen or cast to your tv.
The use of “ish” tells me this isn’t designed to be a high precision instrument.
One of my earlier designs included the time "It's now" pseudorandomly every few days. I gave one of those to my father. One night he woke up unable to sleep, went downstairs, saw the clock and it said "It's now". He laughed as it was the one time he was actually curious what time it was. :)
That was where I first looked though.
FYI, the internet time sync is infrequent and low bandwidth.
1) It's been done before, it's not original
2) The cost is outrageous (I see you use more expensive materials, but it's not $1400 more expensive material)
3) Likely copyright infringement