In the beginning…

My Haunted Mansion Clock.

So, I’m not sure where to start with this. This will be my first big build. A while back I was hitting Disneyland a lot. A sentimental place since as a local socal kid I had spent a lot of time with an annual pass visiting on a whim for years. Now I live a couple hundred miles away from the parks. Although I still get to visit more than most, I miss it. Due to this, and my new love for making stuff, I’d decided to bring a little bit of the parks home with me. My favorite rides, constantly fighting for the number one spot, are Pirates and the Mansion. It’s a bit more difficult to bring subtle yet noticeable nods from Pirates into the home than the Mansion, it seems, after all, the Mansion in itself is a house.

I’ve also always been a big fan of watches, clocks, horology in general. So one day I was riding through the Mansion and got the big idea that it might be nice to have a replica of the big grandfather clock in the Mansion hallway. I’ve always wanted a grandfather clock. From there I searched all over (finding a few really wonderful recreations online, some even complete with measurements) but I wanted mine to be a bit more… real. It was really tough to try and accurately estimate the sizes, measurements, or even proportions of the real Mansion clock as it’s only in view for a few seconds, and it’s hard to get the quality photos I needed of it because you have such a limited window. As much as I’d wanted to, I NEVER break down in front of the clock, just everywhere else and even if I were to get a perfect crystal clear photo, I’d still only have a two dimensional photo to scale from. I want this to be perfect… despite the numerous allowances I’ve made in the scaling of my real-world replica of this beautiful clock.

In comes the Disney toy Mansion clock replica, my savior. I bought it on my first trip to the parks after its release. This toy clock, paired with the fact that my parents own an actual grandfather clock, should allow me to scale to a very reasonable representation of this clock and turn it into what one may expect to find if this were ‘real’. I’m looking at it in the same way as a cartoon->live action translation, but kinda ‘fantasy world->real world’ translation, I guess. I’m trying to keep it as accurate as possible, but it has a few weird measurements that would make it really odd at full size, so I’m having to compromise a little bit to keep the fantasy clock within real-world clock dimensions. I’m trying to keep the face, accents, base, and all of the important accented parts therein as accurately scaled as I can get them, while lengthening the body and keeping the width based off of my real world clock. I think the body leaves a lot of room for un-noticed compromises to help get the height I want while keeping the width from getting too cartoony. As long as the top box is perfect, I think I can stretch the body a bit to get my height/width proportions perfect on this thing while only making it look a little bit better in the process.

I’ve been working on this project for a little while already and have made a bit of progress so far. I’ve still got a lot of work to do and I’m playing this one really cautious as I don’t want to get each step right the first time. The first few updates will come pretty quickly, but they may slow down a bit after I catch up with myself. I’ll be posting all of my measurements, math, and material sources as I go (and probably in full at the end) for anyone who wants to play along.

The toy I’m basing this all on…


And a tease of the dial thus far, this has been the fun part (along with a hint of the box, and what’ll probably be powering the quarterly/hourly chimes.) It ain’t finished yet, but I guess it is technically a working clock at this point:


Updates to come soon!