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3.16 Billion Cycles

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on May 12th, 02009


Member Austin Quig-Hartman sent in a reference to this very cool clock project by Che-Wei Wang.  It reminds me of a clock version of Art Ganson’s “Machine with Concrete.”  What I find really interesting is that the designer ended up with  3.16 billion cycles which is basically the average number of beats a human heart will beat in a lifetime.  I am not convinced the little belt drives will make it very long into the future, but a beautiful execution and thought process all around.

From the designers write up:

Can we watch decay? Can we see glass as a fluid slowly slumping and deforming over time? Everything is in constant flux, yet we consider many things around us static and fixed. 3.16 Billion Cycles is an attempt to unravel a seemingly unchanging 100 years into a set of relationships in digestible increments.

A 60 rpm (revolutions per minute) motor drives the entire mechanism. It rotates once every second. The following pulley rotates once every 5 seconds (1:5 ratio). The next rotates once every 60 seconds or 1 minute. Then 5 minutes, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, and 1 decade. The decade wheel carries the load of the large arc. The large arc rotates once every century. The final ratio between the 60 rpm motor and the large arc is approximately 1:31.6 billion.

Each wheel is marked with a black nut to highlight a position that could be tracked over time. Along the arc, 100 lines mark the divisions of each passing year. When the clock finally reaches the end of a 100 year cycle, the arc falls off its track onto the floor.