Life Clock – Escape from New York

Life Clock – Escape from New York

In 2007 I was approached to produce two life clocks from the movie Escape from New York. In the movie, the main character is given 24hrs to live and a watch to show how much time he had left. From reference photos and constraints of the required electronics I was able to generate some design files. The final piece was to be machined from brass, have a translucent screen and contain all of the electronics.

I first designed and built the electronics. At the time I could not find super thin 7 segment LEDs and did the best with what I could. Finding a batter with enough current was also hard. Where were cheap LiPo batteries? The final design was pretty small but still used mostly through-hole parts, something that is no longer a limitation to me.

The case was then machined on my first CNC mill. It took a few tries as my machine kept loosing steps (There is a reason it was my first, not my last). I inserted a thin piece of smoked plexiglass and closed up the case. You can see the two black buttons on the left (Not present in the movie version but required to control the state of the circuit)

The unit was shipped to the customer who then finished the prop with a nice leather band. I have unfortunately lost his email and cannot cite him at this time but the photos he provided to me are shown below. If you are reading this and these are your photos, please email me and I will be very happy to cite.