Time-keeping Device: Water Wheel


To make a time-keeping device, we had an idea to make a water wheel. What we had in mind is to measure time with water wheel rotation. This is the visual that we found on the internet that might be the starting point of how we would want ours to be.


For the first attempt, we made use of existing materials that Shuhui had at her home: SG50 fan, cups, water pump, and fish tank. We attached the cups to the fan, in the hope that the cups will transfer the water to each other and generate the circular motion. However, this prototype did not run well as the fan does not rotate consistently. It even went back and forth uncontrollably.

Since the cups were rigidly fixed to the fan, they could not pour the water to the next cup consecutively. Therefore, for the next attempt, we tried to make the cup loosely attached to the sticks. Technically, the cups could pour the water, but apparently, the cups were too light to be stable. We, then, attached some weights to each cups. Unfortunately, our mock up was not strong enough to receive the water flow as it was made of wood sticks, and tape was used to secure everything.

Finally, we asked for our friend, James Sky from product design major to help us made the water wheel out of acrylic using laser cut technique. Now, the water wheel is stable and could consistently rotate with the help of the water flow. We, now could know how much time has passed every time the wheel rotates. One rotation is equivalent to approximately 10 seconds.

Should we have more time and resources, I would personally want to use wood as the main material of the water wheel as it would look more natural. In addition, I would also put some fish inside the container so that the this time-keeping device would have more functionality.

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