Surfers aren’t the only ones who care about high and low tide, and there are many places where the information is vital to local businesses. In locations where the tide is particularly extreme, it can be the difference between safely leaving the harbor and being stuck on land for the day. Whittier, Alaska in Prince William Sound is once such location, and Lazy Otter Charters has relied on tidal information for 30 years to operate tours in the area. To help them do that, Instructables user rabbitcreek built this giant and adorable otter-themed tide clock.
This tide clock measures a whopping four feet in diameter, and features a cute illustrated otter holding a paddle. The paddle acts as the hands of the tide clock, with one side indicating the time of high tide and the other side showing low tide. Around the edge of the clock face there is approximately four meters of Adafruit NeoPixel individually-addressable RGB LED strip. That LED strip is used to set the lighting to approximate the daylight outside, which is calculated to reflect the huge variations in daylight throughout the year that far north.
The Giant Tide Clock is controlled by two Arduino Nano boards. One controls the hands of the clock, while the other performs the daylight calculations and controls the LED strip. The hands are driven by a powerful TM-785HB Servo Gearbox, which has enough torque to turn the massive paddle. The clock face and frame were constructed from wood, polycarbonate sheet, and 3D-printed parts, and then finished with body filler, sanding, primer, and paint. The result is likely the most wholesome way to keep track of the tides in all of Alaska, and provides valuable information to Lazy Otter Charters.