I have always wanted to create a 3D printed watch but I never took the time to research what components would be required and where to buy them, that was until Lulzbot posted an almost fully 3D printed watch. I essentially took the bill of materials from that build and designed my own modular watch version and here it is. I wanted to be able to swap out the designs and colors relatively easily. For the build, I have created 3 outer watch case designs and purchased 2 watch bands along with 3 printed parts that can be all different colors which allows for a ton of different combinations. Note- this is more of a concept build at the moment, next steps will be testing and seeing how it works with daily wear.
What You Will Need
Any/all necessary protective equipment.
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3D Printed Parts
(~3-5 hours @ 60 mm/s)
- Filament with high quality surface finish.
- Highest resolution layer height. I printed at 0.06mm on the Ultimaker 3.
- 50-100% infill
- Support required for the outer case, however, by adjusting orientation you might be able to skip. Face and Watch Base does not require support.
Finishing 3D Printed Parts
Remove any support material if it was used.
Sand the printed parts using 150 - 400 grit sandpaper until smooth.
- Use Bondo spot putty to fill in any remaining surface defects. Once dry, sand until smooth.
Using a lightly damp cloth, wipe down sanded parts to remove any dust.
Apply 1-2 coats of primer.
Lightly sand down dry primed parts with 600+ grit sandpaper
Using a lightly damp cloth, wipe down sanded parts to remove any dust
Apply 2-3 coats of paint. I used standard spray paint for the colored pieces and an airbrush for the metallic looking paint.
Apply 1-2 coats of clear coat.
Heat up a soldering iron. Place heatset inserts into the back of the outer case holes (2). Using the soldering iron, press down lightly on the inserts until the sink into the hole and end up flush with the surface.
- Trim off the end of the watch movement as we will be adding an extension and finally the crown.
Using a microfiber cloth, pick up the watch glass and place into the outer case being careful not to touch the face with your hands. Push into the slot until it sits flat.
Place the watch movement into the watch base.
Add the watch face onto the watch base and make sure the movement piece is poking through the face so you can apply the watch hands.
Install the hour hand and then the minute hand onto the movement through the watch face.
Place the outer case over the watch base, be sure to feed the extension for the crown through the hole before you secure the two pieces together.
Once the watch base and outer case are in place, screw the 2 pieces together using the M2 screws.
Add the crown to the extension and set the time.
Thanks for taking the time to explore the project, I hope you try it and if you do I’d love to hear your feedback and see pictures of your build!