Minor Changes

So after completing the project, we have since made two minor changes.

(1) The Raspberry Pi we used has been replaced with a Raspberry Pi Zero (much smaller than the standard Pi), and the speakers have been replaced by a fitted 'Speaker pHat' that sits on top of the Pi Zero. This has saved lots of room. The strange white cable is a USB connector that allows the Pi to access the school wifi - although anyone about to start a similar project might want to use the recently released Raspberry Pi Zero W (with built in Wifi).

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(2) The analogue clock face now has the same background 3D printed shapes as the other faces.

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Last jobs and project completed

On Monday of this week the children planned out and added the code to make a Raspberry Pi chime and bong so that it sounds like the real clock in London.


And today the small speaker we were waiting for arrived, meaning we could finish off the project.


The Raspberry Pi, the USB powered speaker and the3D printed base were all placed inside the tower.

It was plugged in and the children eagerly awaited the working clock to show half past.

As half past twelve arrived, we heard the unmistakeable chimes of Big Ben, and at one o'clock we again heard the chimes followed by a single bong.


Project completed!

Holding the Pi

The Raspberry Pi and speaker that will be needed to make the clock chime every hour will need to have a way of staying inside the tower - even if the tower is lifted, and so I've used the Morphi 3D design app to create these two files.


The base of the tower will sit inside the cut out groove to add stability and also give an internal solid base. The cut out on the right hand side will allow the power cable for the Raspberry Pi to reach inside. The small speaker could sit on this base if the pupils choose.


This wil sit on top of the base piece (above). The groove will allow the Raspberry Pi to be fitted and stand at a slight angle. As with the other piece, the power lead will pass through the cut groove. The small speaker could also sit on this level if pupils decide they prefer it higher.

Chiming the time

The clock is almost finished, but already there are requests to do more with it. The DHT has asked whether it could go in the hall, and chime like the real clock does.

I've not spoken to the children yet about this as I want to make sure it's possible - but I'm thinking a Raspberry Pi Zero, a speaker, the computer clock and some audio files might help it to chime.

Watch this space!

Update: after testing with an older Raspberry Pi Model (version2) and a set of headphones, I'm pleased to say that the idea works. A short program in the terminal window of the Raspberry Pi, a change to the cron settings to run the program automatically and that's it!


Adding the clock

Today we finally added the working clock to the 3D printed tower. I had drilled a hole in preparation for this session (as I couldn't let the children near a drill!) so that the children were able to get on with the fitting of the working clock parts.

The back of the clock was placed inside the tower section, but then a problem was noticed - the sections on the outside of the clock that create the clock face were too wide for the retaining nut to be fitted to the clock mechanism and so they had to be removed before they could continue.

However, once the washer was in place the hands were fitted easily, and then cut to size to fit within the rectangular clock face.


A battery was fitted to the mechanism, the time on it adjusted and then...

there was a working clock installed into the model.


The final job to be completed will be a little bit of tidying up, painting over areas that have peeled, and adding an effect behind the working clock face.

Our next project is chosen

We've decided on the next idea once Elizabeth Tower is completed. We'll be building a computer game using 'Bloxels'.

But what is Bloxels? 

"Bloxels® is an innovative video game development platform that allows you to create your own video games. With easy-to-use physical and digital tools, the imaginative gaming worlds of young gamers come to life in a cool retro arcade style. You decide what the game looks like and configure how it is played. You tell the story of the characters and design their looks. You create the obstacles and the power-ups. And then not only can you play, but you can share your game with fellow gamers for both game play and content remixing"


The tower is put together

After weeks of painting, the tower is beginning to take shape;


A little more painting, and then the pupils get to add the working clock parts to one side of the tower so that they have a working clock face.

A 3D shield design in 2Design&Make

After setting the little extra task last week we had a bit of absence and illness and only one pupil has managed to use 2Design and Make from PurpleMash to design half of a 3D symmetrical object.

Fred decided he wanted a shield, and designed half of it - making good use of the 'nodes' in 2D&M to create a smoother curve.


Viewed in the 3D viewer, his half shield looked like this.

Purple_Mash_-_the_award_winning_educational_resource_from_2Simple_Software_-_Site 2
This design was exported as an .stl file, and then opened in our 3D printer software where we duplicated the design and began to print two copies of it.


Once completed Fred was able to take both halves and glue together to create his finished shield.


A little side task

I've given the pupils a little side task whilst they work on creating their working clock version of Elizabeth Tower. I've set them a "2Do" within PurpleMash - an online learning resource we use in school - to create part of a well known logo and design a 3D object that could be printed out two (or more) times and fixed together to create the complete logo using a user friendly CAD tool called 2Design and Make.


An example is the Bat sign - I designed one half of it in 2D&M (the software only allows 16 "nodes" within a shape and so it would have been impossible to design the whole sign in one go)


then 3D printed it twice and stuck it together to create the finished object.


I'm looking forward to seeing what great ideas they come up with, and how it will look when they 3D print their designs and fit them together.

A second coat

More painting of the pieces in todays session. When the pupils looked at last weeks work they realised that they had missed several areas within each piece of the tower, and that they needed to go back and carefully add a second coat to

(1) ensure none of the original white plastic was showing through, and

(2) ensure that a consistent colour was applied across each piece.