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"The Volt" is an open source, hackable, analog clock. Built by hand in exotic hardwoods, brass, steel, and copper. 4 Models + DIY
"The Volt" is an open source, hackable, analog clock. Built by hand in exotic hardwoods, brass, steel, and copper. 4 Models + DIY
"The Volt" is an open source, hackable, analog clock. Built by hand in exotic hardwoods, brass, steel, and copper. 4 Models + DIY
33 backers pledged CA$ 9,393 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

The Volt - Retro Futurist, Arduino-Based, Open Source Clock project video thumbnail
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The Volt - Retro Futurist, Arduino-Based, Open Source Clock

CA$ 9,393

33

What Is "The Volt" Clock Campaign?

"The Volt" is an open hardware, arduino-based, analog clock that displays the time via current, displayed on two separate meters. The clock is a multi-year collaboration between TGT Studios (woodworking & design. Previously successful Kickstarter campaigns: Retro-Futurist Nixie Clock Series 1, 2, and 3) & PLD Designs (engineering & programming), both based out of Vancouver Island, BC. 

This campaign aims to establish several signature models of "The Volt" clock, produce the first large sale production run of units and establish a web-based communication portal that helps users share their modifications to the base design. 

Our funding goal for this campaign is based on production of approximately 25 units, which allows us to establish production line manufacturing efficiencies and better access to wholesale component pricing.

Through and detailed clock specifications and notes on Open Source hardware/software are located at the bottom of this campaign description.

What Does The Movement Look Like?

"The Volt" clock displays time hours and minutes using two separate ammeters via sustained current and standard quartz crystal. The video below quickly shows the initial extents calibration, and then a demonstration of minute and hour progressions. 

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What Styles Of Clock Are Available?

We are offering 3 distinct models of The Volt: an assembled board without a case (build your own!) and two signature model versions that ready to go right out of the box! Assembled clocks are approximately 110mm x 190mm x 100mm. Shipping and handling applies to all orders and includes tracking and full insurance coverage. Note: Prices are all listed in CAD (USD is based on estimated conversation at time of launch)

  • DIY VOLT ($99CAD/$75USD): A complete and 99% assembled kit. Simply connect the clock to the included voltmeters and battery leads  and install into a case of your choosing. Print your own clock face or use the standard voltmeter background.
 
  • The Volt DIY Kit + Faceplate ($159CAD/$125USD) The DIY kit plus your choice of faceplate in steel, brass, or copper.
  • The Volt #1 - Walnut & Brass Edition ($324CAD/$249USD): Handmade in black walnut and features a custom etched copper faceplate & nickel hardware.
The Volt #2 - Maple & Steel Edition ($324CAD/$249USD): Handmade in solid maple and features a custom etched steel faceplate & nickel hardware.
  • The Volt #3 - Mix & Match Edition ($324CAD/$249USD): Choose your own hardwood (walnut, maple), hardware materials (standard dark, brass, nickel/steel) and faceplate material (brass, copper, steel). 
 
Choose from the 3 faceplate options: Steel, Brass, and Copper (Copper only available at this tier)
Choose from the 3 faceplate options: Steel, Brass, and Copper (Copper only available at this tier)

 

Standard Bronze, Brass, & Nickel/Steel Hardware
Standard Bronze, Brass, & Nickel/Steel Hardware
  • The Volt #4: One Of A Kind ($499CAD/$399 USD) - We'll design you a custom clock with your input!
  • TGT Studios Clock Bundle ($899CAD/$699USD) Your choice of Volt plus an original MKI from my successful Nixie clock series.
The original MKI nixie clock
The original MKI nixie clock
  • TGT Studios Clock Bundle MKII ($899CAD/$699USD) Your choice of Volt plus an original MKII from my successful Nixie clock series.
MKII in black walnut
MKII in black walnut
 
  • LIMITED EDITIONS: Special combinations will be released in highly limited amounts throughout the campaign. These combinations will not be available when the campaign is over!
  • PLEASE NOTE: US prices are estimates based on exchange rates at time of launch. Kickstarter regional display/checkout will provide accurate pricing conversion.

Why Is "The Volt" Open Source?

Because good design lends itself to improvement!

Open Source is design that is freely available to emulate, alter, remix, and be creative with. We share the code, the schematics, everything that has to do with the clock program itself. You can use your clock right out of the shipping box or you can get your hands dirty and start tinkering.

In short, we want to release this project in accordance with the 4 Freedoms as laid out by the Open Hardware & Design Alliance.

  • The freedom to use the device for any purpose. 
  • The freedom to study how the device works and change it to make it to do what you wish. Access to the complete design is precondition to this. 
  • Redistribute the device and/or design (remanufacture). 
  • The freedom to improve the device and/or design, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the complete design is precondition to this.

Additional Info:

All of our PCB's are professionally printed in Vancouver, BC and assembled on Vancouver Island at PLD Designs. The clock cases are produced from hand-selected hardwood stock by TGT Studios, and all woodworking and finishing is done by hand. Final assembly and shipping is direct from TGT Studios. We are personally involved in all aspects of the production, the vast majority of which we handle ourselves, onsite.

We've over-engineered the board with an ATmega168 micro controller (Note: the video states the chip as an ATmega128, this was from a previous beta), allowing for the addition of features without bogging down the boards processing capabilities. We're running a power surplus with 2AA batteries, so you've got some room to play before needing to add more juice. Some examples of addable features are:

  • Add a remote using the Arduino IR remote library!
  •  Add some lights! Add LEDS for indicators and/or backlights.( Lights are a high drain on batteries so additional power will be required for periods of extended rumination.)
  •  If you are willing to modify the code and power source, the possibilities are endless (a Seconds meter, meter effects, alarm, etc.) 

Do I Need To Have Programming/Electronics Knowledge To Use The Clock?

Nope! The signature models of the clock require no programming or assembly, other than the initial calibration and setting of the clock (just takes a minute). The clock is fully functional right out of the box.

What Are The Technical Specs?

You can view the original code, specs, schematics, firmware information, hardware list, and more, on PLD Designs. Direct links can be found below:

Below you can see the original schematic from PLD, as well as the basic board layout.

 

 Code Sample:

Thanks & Shoutouts!

From Kyle Miller, TGT Studios: Thanks to everyone who has supported my work and for sharing the campaign. Big thanks to Keith for all his help getting this project off the ground. Glad we could get the clock out there!

Shoutout to @TPain, @JoeRogan, @Doctorow, & @Greatdismal for supporting my previous clock campaigns. Thanks to my wife and children who put up with me pulling long hours in the workshop (my kids think I'm a toymaker!).

From Keith Brown, PLD Designs: Thanks to the originator of the Chronulator, Jared Boone of Portland. His exemplary kit design prompted me to design the small SMD version, and since he's gone on to other projects, I'm now carrying the "Chronulator" torch.

 

Risks and challenges

TGT Studios has personally run 3 successful Kickstarter campaigns, and has a strong track record of delivering on their promises.

There is very little risk with this project as we have a working prototype, which is based on multiple iterations of the design. All of the components are widely available, and we do not require any additional equipment for the manufacturing of the clocks or cases.

Shipping estimates are based on the initial funding goal, so if we surpass out initial amount there will be slight revisions to shipping estimates, accordingly.

All units will be shipping with full insurance and tracking.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 5 or more About $4

    I just want to help!

    Every dollar counts, and we thank you for helping this campaign succeed!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 99 or more About $76

    DIY Volt Kit

    An Assembled "Volt" PCB w/ two standard meters.

    Print your own backing, install on your own project. Hack, Rinse, Repeat!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 159 or more About $122

    DIY + Faceplate Volt Kit

    An Assembled "Volt" PCB w/ two standard meters and the Volt faceplate in steel, copper, or brass.

    Hack, Rinse, Repeat!

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    Limited 8 backers
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  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge CA$ 279 or more About $214

    EARLY BACKER!

    What can we say, you're a trendsetter! Save $45 off the Volt #1 Black Walnut & Brass Edition.

    A handmade clock in solid black walnut with custom etched brass faceplate and brass hardware.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 324 or more About $248

    The Volt #1 - Walnut & Brass Edition

    A handmade clock in solid black walnut with custom etched brass faceplate and brass hardware.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    7 backers
    CA$
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 324 or more About $248

    The Volt #2 - Maple & Steel Edition

    A handmade clock in solid maple with etched steel faceplate and standard hardware.

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    0 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 324 or more About $248

    The Volt #3 - Mix & Match Edition

    Tell us how you want it! Choose the hardwood (maple, walnut), hardware (bronzed, brass, nickel/steel), and faceplate material (brass, copper, steel) for your clock! Choices will be made by survey at the end of the campaign.

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    1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 499 or more About $382

    The Volt #4 - One Of A Kind Design

    A fully customized and one of a kind clock. We will work with you to design a custom faceplate in the style of your choosing, incorporating whatever graphics/fonts/meter spectrum styles your heart desires. Changes to the shape and style of the clock will also be possible. Limited Availability.

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    Pledge CA$ 899 or more About $688

    TGT Studios Clock Bundle

    1X The Volt Clock - Fully assembled, your choice of black walnut or maple, and choice of brass, steel, or copper faceplate.

    1X Nixie Clock MKI: The most popular clock I've designed, from the original Kickstarter campaign. Handmade in black walnut with mixed hardware, the clock features authentic Soviet-era tubes, over 700 backlight options, and a range of other features.

    Both clocks will come with Limited Edition branding plates designated in your namesake (or name of your request) as well as production number (1 of 2, 2 of 2).

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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  10. Reward no longer available

    Pledge CA$ 899 or more About $688

    TGT Studios Clock Bundle MKII

    1X The Volt Clock - Fully assembled, your choice of black walnut or maple, and choice of brass, steel, or copper faceplate.

    1X Nixie Clock MKII: Another popular clock I've designed, from the second Kickstarter campaign. Handmade in black walnut with mixed hardware, the clock features authentic Soviet-era tubes, over 700 backlight options, and a range of other features.

    Both clocks will come with Limited Edition branding plates designated in your namesake (or name of your request) as well as production number (1 of 2, 2 of 2).

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)