NEW BERN – Craven Community College (Craven CC) and Tryon Palace recently partnered to repair a broken piece of a historic clock located inside the North Carolina History Center. College faculty and students utilized the college’s 3-D printing lab to design and produce a clock arm and replaced it on Sept. 1.
The 1911 Seth Thomas mechanical clock is currently located in the eaves above the inside entrance of the History Center. It served the city of New Bern until 1999, when it was dismantled and removed from the City Hall clock tower and taken to the Firemen’s Museum for repairs and upgrades. In 2010, it was installed in the North Carolina History Center in time for its grand opening.
The latest project began last year but was postponed due to the pandemic. A ticketing agent noticed something wasn’t quite right with the clock and informed Network & Exhibits System Administrator Rob Jones. Jones then met with Craven CC’s Career Programs Dean Ricky Meadows and instructors last August to get the project started. Computer-aided Drafting (CAD) and Composites instructor Jeff Brown took the lead, and he and many of his students got to work.
“The first part was we needed to get a duplicate model of it, a CAD rendering,” said Brown. “We took a 3-D scanner and scanned all angles, all sides of the two pieces that broke, and from there we were able to render a 3-D model. We had to create a new CAD design off of that 3-D scan.”
After printing a test piece and then making some modifications, the part was installed during a brief meeting at the History Center on Sept. 1. The clock is now fully functional.
“It was a great partnership between the North Carolina History Center and Craven Community College,” said Jones. “I couldn’t think of any better partner to get this clock back operational.”