Cornell Clock Tower


I have been attending Cornell for the last two years and played on the football team, so I have a lot of school pride and the clock tower is a huge landmark at Cornell. I think it would be cool to have a small model of it in your dorm room and figured it was a fairly simple structure to model. I used pictures of the clock tower online to sketch out any detail on the sides. It was very difficult to get a straight on angle of one of the faces, so I had to mostly use angled, aerial shots. This made it a bit difficult to scale the different details exactly, but by using multiple pictures, I could reference the size of details against one another.

Picture Links:


Final Object


I started with a box that was 20mm x 20mm and 100mm tall. I then made a sketch on the top and created an offset plane 25mm from the top of the box. I put a point in the middle and then extruded and tapered a rectangle out of the original top sketch to the point on the offset plane. This created a nice pyramid shape on the top for the roof.

The rest of the the clock tower was symmetrical on each side. It has a group of windows at the top, the clock and then smaller widows all the way down. I figured that I could start on one side and just copy the sketch to each side. The trim and windows were not hard, the only issue I encountered there was trying to space everything evenly down the clock face. I just had to measure how much room I had below the bigger windows and clock, and then try to divide that up evenly.

The hardest part of the entire building was the actual face of the clock. You have to give something texture to give it detail in 3D printing, thus, I wanted to extrude all of the clock’s roman numerals and clock hands. In hindsight, I should have thought about the smallest feature of my model and base my scale off of that. It was very difficult to work in the small circle I had allowed myself and it took quite some time for me to figure out how to evenly space the numerals around. I didn’t end up finishing all of the numeral because it took me way too long to get the first half done, and I later realized that the numerals and clock hands won’t show up unless I made them significantly bigger (10x). I later went back after previewing the print in CURA and made the clock hands 0.2mm bigger all around in order to show up. Only one roman numeral and the clock hands shows up in the final version, but I would consider that sufficient enough for people to know its a clock and I will learn to better consider the scale of the small details in my models.

The last issue I ran into was copying the sketch across to each face of the clock tower and then extruding out the windows, trimming and clock face details. I successfully copied the sketch to each side, but ran into issues when I tried to extrude. Two of the faces came out perfectly, but I was unable to extrude a majority of two of the faces. With help from the professor, I was able to fix this. I had made some sloppy lines in my sketch that were preventing me from extruding and had to remove these. Once these were removed and I could fully extrude, the final model came out satisfactory.

I definitely learned that I need to scale my model’s based off of the small details. I also learned that I need to be very careful to not create extra lines in my sketch because those lead to weird edges and gaps later on. The most useful things I learned were rotating and copying sketches, and the ability to create an offset plane in order to extrude to certain points.

Printer Settings:

  • Layer Height: 0.2mm
  • Support turned off
  • No additional adhesion
  • Time for print: 2 hours, 13 mins
  • Type of filament: eSun PLA
  • Filament amount: 19g
  • Infill: 20%

Thingiverse Link:

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