Lightning Project: Clock Striking Mechanism

A watchmaking student must not be late. Our whole business is time, and failure to respect the time is, simply, unacceptable. A student's life, therefore, is regulated by the school's clock.

Notice that I didn't say the cell phone or the wristwatch—no, Verizon doesn't say what time it is, the school says what time it is. Adhering to this rule can be hard for some at first, but we quickly adapt to the pace of the school day and its attendant breaks.

There's just one problem: my bench in the second-year classroom faces away from the clock on the wall. Knowing when to get up for coffee, lunch or the end of the day requires me to (gasp!) look up, turn around and generally make an effort. When I'm spending all day in the loupe, I'd rather not break my concentration!

My laziness has an elegant solution—a bell that rings at important times of the day. We already have a school clock that keeps excellent time. Why not harness its timekeeping abilities to do more?

"Real" strike trains are complicated things, and can tell you exactly what time it is. No need for that. I just want a bell that rings at 7:30, 10:00, 12:00 and 4:00, marking the beginning of the day, coffee break, lunch break and the end of the day, respectively. 

After a day of brainstorming and planning, my classmate Justin and I set out to make the striking mechanism a reality—in the short span of a single week. 

We did it.

At about 10:30 pm Friday night, the bell rang for the first time. Much more detailed explanations of how it works and how we did it are coming soon!

Watchmaking student at the Lititz Watch Technicum, formerly a radio and TV newswriter in Chicago.