Bomba-style retro flip clock

Originally published at:





The Bombas aren’t vintage, they are recent-retro. Solari and Copal were the real originals, though my friends who had flip clocks in the 70s all seemed to have GEs and Panasonics, complete with scratchy AM clock radio. They kept terrible time.

If you think the stand for your clock is cheesy, you should find someone to make you a nice walnut case which you can slip it into. Or a plastic case covered in really bad walnut contact paper for that genuine 70s vibe.



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Really slick. You can also find one of these old flip clocks in a thriftshop or ebay or wherever and take the case off and they’re surprisingly badass looking. A lot cheaper too. Just remember to put hot glue or electrical tape or whatever over any exposed electrical connections!

And you can still buy the Bomba clocks for $70. So not cheap, but not unattainable.

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owww my eyes.
I feel the ugre to wear that jacket to inflict it on others.

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[meme deleted]

Fair enough, it is hard from the vantage point of my aging decrepitude to know what you kids know about the past.

I’m serious about the case; I’m tempted to buy a cheap one of these and rehouse it myself.

You can also buy discreet mechanism retrofits which allow them to keep better time.


Interesting. Got a link by chance?

While searching for “discrete flip clock mechanism” I stumbled on this Instructable doing basically what I was talking about:

Personally I find it much easier to start with a flip clock that doesn’t have a radio built in. Then it’s basically remove the cover, cover the electrical leads, add some kind of stand (long thin machine screws match the aesthetic nicely) and you’re done. In my admittedly limited experience with it I’ve never had issues with the time drifting.

Sorry, no. I read about it in a clock or gadget forum last time I was interested in flip clocks, several years ago. Maybe I should edit my post to say “IIRC at one time you could buy…”

It shouldn’t. They were driven by an A/C motor and the 60 Hz line frequency is adjusted to compensate for drift. If it’s been a little slow, they run it fast until everything is back on track.

The most likely problem is cheap plastic gears that wear or get dirty and skip. (If they wanted a planned self-destruct, a mix of metal and plastic gears.)

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The funny thing is, I was cleaning out a closet and had a flip clock radio lying in the middle of the floor. I was going to junk it, or gift it to a charity collection, but now I think I’ll put it in the junk pile in the basement for later use.

The clock part would look nice inside a cheap 6" short glass bell jar. (Not Russian nixie tube nice, but okay.) On the plus side, the jar would muffle the knocking sound the motor always seems to develop. It’s just a matter of finding the right bell jar. (Like a butter dish in a kitchen warehouse place or something.)

Huh. Now I’m thinking that this would make a cool Raspberry Pi & display case, with a nice vacuum tube vibe going for it:

Don’t worry, Rob. We’ll all be dead soon, our consumerist urges and anxieties hushed and washed away after our species extincts itself and most other life on the planet in an one final orgy of fossil fuel expenditure; distant fleeting fireworks in a dark, cold and endless night.


You went deep on that one, well played.

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I’ve always wanted to take a flip clock and replace the numbers with little drawings. Maybe they’d all work together maybe they would be in related, it just seems like a thing to do.

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Maybe Lost-like?


Should be available everywhere, because IKEA.

Yes, I was looking at that. A short metal tube, threaded on the ends, through the base with the cord up the center, would position the mechanism at the mid-point of the jar.