Deutsch English

Wooden Rolling Ball Clock "Serpina"


Serpina is a so-called rolling ball clock. This clock type is relatively unknown although the first examples were built in the 17th century. Serpina was inspired by the design of Sir William Congreve from the early 19th century. These clocks are popular collectors' items. It makes just fun to watch the ball, rolling down his way and then to see how the Seesaw starts the process all over again. It was not without reason that these clocks were formerly in shop windows to impress pedestrians. Your friends and visitors will be impressed, too. Rolling ball clocks are primarily great entertainers. Although Galileo Galilei already discovers, that a ball needs on an inclined plane always the same time for the same distance. In practice, however, all rolling ball clocks have a problem with the accuracy, because dust on the seesaw destroys the theory. The name Serpina is a modification of serpentine and refers to the path traveled by the ball when rolling down the seesaw.


Operating Principle

Rolling Ball Clocks are working without a pendulum. Instead of the pendulum a ball is rolling down an inclined plane, for which it takes 20 seconds. Then the Seesaw tends to the opposite direction and the process begins again. Serpina is driven by a small motor which eliminates the process of winding the clock. Another advantage of the electric drive is the compact design. The clock fits perfect on a shelf or a sill. You don't have to be an electrician to build this clock. The clock runs with safe direct current and in the plans is exactly described how everything must be connected. Additionally I have documented the build very well in the movie above.

Woodworking Plans

The plans include detailed assembly drawings, a step by step guide, a materials list and drawings of all parts in original size.

The plans are completely in English and German. Dimensions are of course indicated in metric (mm) and imperial (inch).


Owners of a CNC machine can get the dxf file free-of-charge from me, after the purchase of the plans.