I'm wondering about modeling a working grandfather clock.

I've been using Blender for a couple months now, and I've had the opportunity to experiment with modeling, texturing, animating, and compositing. I haven't done much with physics, though, so I don't know if this is even possible.

Just to clarify, I'm talking about modeling a whole clock. The gears, the pendulum, everything. I want it to work, not just look like it does.

  • $\begingroup$ Short answer: no, not possible as in the real world. But what would you like to achieve with this? What is the output of your project? $\endgroup$ – Leander Oct 27 '16 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ Yes blender should be more than capable of modeling that though its workings would likely not not be entirely physics based, just manually animated. google.com/… $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Oct 27 '16 at 23:02
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    $\begingroup$ Yes you can model the whole clock and have it work, just by animating the rotation of one part. But it will NOT work with physics. You will have a bunch of constraints. $\endgroup$ – David Oct 27 '16 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ Use the copy rotation for the constraints and the influence for different gear ratios. $\endgroup$ – Bradman175 Oct 27 '16 at 23:50
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    $\begingroup$ Modelling each part is pretty straight forward. To animate it look at drivers and/or constraints. This paid tutorial series does have a lesson on creating an analogue clock, you may be able to learn enough from the free introduction videos to work it out yourself. $\endgroup$ – sambler Oct 28 '16 at 6:08

As many have stated above, getting a 'working' clock in blender is possible, although it highly depends on your definition of working.

You can:

  1. manually animate all moving parts using keyframes.
  2. animate all moving parts using drivers.
  3. be fancy, animate one moving part using a driver and link the movement of all the other parts to it's movement, using constraints.

You can't simulate the clocks physics in blender in order to let it drive itself (or at least you probably can't, in any case it would be extremely difficult).


  1. (as far as I know) the physics in Blender are not designed for accuracy and continuum mechanics
  2. models in Blender are not parametric but meshes. That means things like the forces transmitted between your gears will not be calculable by means of simple polynomial or differential equations, but rather FEM (don't even bother with that stuff).

TL;DR: Do, what all the comments above suggested or be ready for a major headache.

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