Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slow Progress on the Clock

I've been working on the whereabouts clock in fits and starts since I got the grandfather clock body. I've disassembled the top third of the clock (since that's the part that I really care about at the moment) and started stripping off the old stain and making some small repairs as needed. I've polished up some of the hardware to make it a little shinier, but still retain some antiqued look to it.

I bought some glass to insert into the door, but it might be too thin. I may need to have Heather get some from a stained glass shop or custom glass shop to get it to fit right. We'll see what happens when we get there.

I finally found a decent supply of brass for the face. I tried all the big-box stores first (since I was there anyway) and got nothing. The hobby shop had some, but only tiny pieces. I ended up going to Metals4U up the road and got a pretty big piece for about $30. I hope it's thick enough to etch. I will have to glue it onto some thin ply or other wood to reinforce it. Hey, that's what the grandfather clock did, so it can't be that bad of an idea.

I'm getting close to finishing the design of the face. Since my clock face isn't square or round, but square with a half-round at the top I'm having to be a bit creative in the big empty spaces. First I thought that the Hogwarts crest would be cool to put there, but this is my clock not Hogwarts or Harry Potter. I'm leaning toward using some or all of the Jones family crest. It has to be only in black and white, so that's a challenge. I think I like the rampant lion above the surname in the half-round section of the face. I'll post the image once I've completed it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clock body

I've been looking the past several weeks for a suitable clock body to install the whereabouts clock. I tried calling around to a few clock shops to see if they had any busted clocks with intact frames, but I didn't have any luck with that. Seems that most people have busted clock mechanisms in pretty frames that they want fixed. I pretty much left my search up to Craigslist after that.

I found a guy in
Austin selling a broken wall clock that
I thought would work. $50 later and I have a clock that is too shallow for my parts. It's a beautiful clock, so for a few more bucks at Hobby Lobby I replaced the movement. Of course, after doing that the old movement works again. Oh well.

I kept looking through old posts and found someone selling a "Baby Grandfather Clock." It's design is more like a mantle clock, but it was real
ly about the size I was looking for. However, it too was too shallow. If I left it as a table top clock (as it could be) the depth wouldn't be a problem, but servos would be hanging out of the back. The couple selling the clock told me that they did have a broken grandfather clock also, so I asked to check it out. The clock was a mess. The movement was missing a bunch of pieces, but that was no problem. The glass in the front was completely missing, and the wood needed some TLC. A few wood pieces broke off getting it loaded in the van, but for $60 I think it'll clean up ok.

I started to take it apart last night to get it ready for stripping and restaining. Here's a pic of the top piece with the movement and door removed:

There's also a little label on the back, but I can't make out much of it. It'll probably get removed and tossed. I hate losing any history from what could be a great piece, but this old clock has definitely seen better days.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Improved Location Code

Tonight I worked quite a bit on the location code. I had started just to expand the list of known locations in the script, but that proved to be very long and probably not very efficient. I figured that adding the known location data into the MySQL database would provide an easier way to search for that data.

I also added a couple tables to the database. One is a simple username and location table for storing override data. When a user is not set to "GPS" it will turn the clock to the specified location instead of using the GPS data. This will be used quite a bit for testing and also in the iPhone App I want to write.

I also added a scheduling table for the kids. When the script runs it will check to see if there is a defined schedule for "now" and set the location according to the schedule.

The next thing I want to do with the code is to utilize the override table to attach the kids (who don't have phones) to a specific user. Now it's just hardcoded to my wife. I should be able to switch them back and forth as required.

Now that I have a functioning prototype I need to acquire a clock frame to put it all in and build the face and hands.