Outside of a few hardcore collectors vinyl records have largely gone the way of the dodo. This means there is a whole lot of them available to purchase on the cheap.
To make a clock you need the movement/mechanism, and the hands (hour, minute, second) the vinyl record acts as the face/dial. You can either make the clocks from the whole record or you can have it laser cut into a particular shape.
This is a manufacturing business, so you factor in your material cost (vinyl record, clock mechanism, hand). If you are having the record laser cut into a shape then you need to factor in that cost as well, ditto if you are supplying the clock with a battery then you factor in the battery cost.
Then there is another thing to consider are you going to add numbers to your clock, professional stick on numbers are not cheap and cost around R30 a set, or are you going to paint on or use sign vinyl for the numbers.
Then you have to factor in the labour cost – the time it takes to assemble the clock. Luckily the assembly is relatively straightforward – The shaft is attached to the movement/mechanism, put the rubber gasket (if included) on the shaft then the hole in the centre of the record goes into the shaft acting as the clock face or dial, then the washer and nut affixes the two together. Then you add the hour, minute and second hands. Often times the second hand acts as the cap nut, but if you don’t have a second hand often a cap nut will be supplied so the hour and minute hands don’t come off.
One other thing you need to consider is that your shaft – the diameter may be too thick for the centre of the record, if this is the case either source the correct thickness if you can or simply drill through the center of the record to make the shaft fit. I often use the same mechanism for CD clocks as I do for record clocks, as the shaft is nice and short meaning it won’t stick out and look unsightly and often have to do this as the shaft does not easily go through the hole of the record.
Laser cutting vinyl records
This is a big trend at the moment, vinyl records laser cut to a particular shape and then made into a clock.
Once you have considered all this you have to consider your profit margin: big enough to make this a viable business yet small enough to not be too expensive.
Sourcing Materials & Services
There are three different suppliers for materials you will deal with:
Vinyl record – The best source for vinyl records is flea markets, bric-a-brac, curio and charity shops where people donate their old stuff. You can use 12, 10 and 7 inch records for this purpose. 12 inch records are often cut with a laser cutter, while 7 inch are often used whole as is. The record you buy does not have to work, so it’s a waste product. Ideally you should not pay more than R5 for this part.
Clock parts – Those are sold at clock shops
Batteries – If you supplying batteries with your clock, then you cannot supply expensive makes like Energizer, best place to buy batteries is your local China Town.
And a laser cutting service:
Laser cutting service – Various places offer laser cutting as a service. Check places that do laser marking and engraving as well, they may also do it.
Target Market / Marketing Your Product
These types of businesses are most successful if you can get into a high traffic sales channel: like a retail shops that sells handmade items. Selling to interior decorators is another avenue. You can also sell via local classifieds such as Gumtree or Facebook groups in your area. Another plus is if you are making laser cut faces then that will be a great fit for an Instagram account.
Image credits: First two images are from a Google search for “vinyl clock” all copyright belong to their respective owners. Clock movement / mechanism: AliExpress. All other images copyright Khoi.biz.