Assembling the Magnetic Sand Clock

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my prints from the February 2021 Alien3D UFO subscription box. I also mentioned the project from the box, but I had yet to complete it. Now I’ve finally been able to get the clock assembled and working. This post will highlight this fantastic build.

Supplies used

Alien3D provided the supplies for this project in the UFO box. On the Alien3D page, the materials are listed. I did have to provide sand for this project as well. That is one of the reasons why this project took me longer than expected.

At first, I tried to use some sand out of the lake where I live. I dried it out first in my dehydrator. That sand looked pretty cool. But it would not move at all. That meant the little ball bearing would just get left behind.

I then tried some kinetic sand I found in one of my kid’s art supplies. This stuff looked cool but was even more immobile. While fun to play with, kinetic sand is a definite no-go for this project.

Finally, I grabbed some white craft sand from the local Hobby Lobby. This stuff worked. Finally! I did have to reduce the amount of sand I had in the project. If the sand were too thick, the ball bearing would get held up. But after getting the sand at a low enough level, I found the ball bearing now flows freely. I almost wish I had gone with glitter as Alien 3D had for the sample; perhaps I still will.

To assemble the clock, I just used the pictures on the page neil3dprints originally posted the project. The setup is pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t go into that.

Lost time

A look inside the clock mechanism.

Dealing with sand was not the only hold-up in this project. I dropped the clock mechanism when trying to assemble it. It bounced across my basement, and the back cover popped off. When it popped open, I thought this project was dead in the water. But nope, after a few attempts, I was able to carefully get the gears back in place and cover back on. It is working and keeping time with no problem!

Printed parts

I printed the two clock hands along with my test prints for the February UFO. To print the main body pieces, I went with American Blue PETG from GreenGate3D. My wife’s favorite color happens to be blue. She loved how this print came out due to the filament color I chose. I guess I’ll have to order more of this filament.

Clock Case printed with American Blue PETG from GreenGate3D

I had intended on doing a filament change for the four time references along each side. But, since I forgot to do that, I had to come up with a plan B. The white symbols were done using a white paint marker I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

You can also see the ball bearings inside the clock. I was doing a test run before putting any sand in the project. This picture was taken about a week ago when I thought all I had left to do was put some sand in the bottom. Who knew sand would hold me up?

Finished product

Here is a look at the finished product. At the point I took this picture, there was still a little too much sand.

Finished clock

Here is another look at the finished product after running for over a day. I have a lot less sand. But, I couldn’t get the sand as flat as I wanted, so I did have to help it along in a couple of areas. It is now flowing all the way around on its own.

Working Clock

Due to having fun with this project, I did order more clock hardware. I’m not going to make any more sand clocks. But I think it would be fun to make some 3D-printed wall clocks. 

Timelapse of the Day

Today’s timelapse is a print I did for one of my kids. He wanted a Korvo from Solar Opposites to sit at his desk. I found this great Korvo STL on Cults3D by SolarOppositesFan. This was printed on my Ender 3 Pro using Light Blue PLA+ from GST3D.

Here is a look at the completed print.


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