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A rock gnome can create a clockwork device with 1hp. The ability states that it takes 1 hour to build or repair the device.

However, there is no clear rule as to what happens when the device is “killed,” i. e.: it gets caught in a fireball spell.

I assume the device would turn back into shrapnel that they need to rebuilt over an hour, but I believe I can use the mending cantrip to repair it in one minute.

Would this work RAW, and could I take it a step further and use mending to recreate the “repair” mechanic to keep it functioning for another 24 hours?

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Mending: It's up to the DM.

Mending states:

This spell repairs a single break or tear in an object you touch

It is entirely up to the DM to decide the nature of the damage to the device. If the DM decides the damage is anything other than a single break, mending will not help you.

You probably have to spend the money again if it is destroyed.

The Tinker feature states:

Using those tools, you can spend 1 hour and 10 gp worth of materials to construct a Tiny clockwork device (AC 5, 1 hp). The device ceases to function after 24 hours (unless you spend 1 hour repairing it to keep the device functioning), or when you use your action to dismantle it; at that time, you can reclaim the materials used to create it. You can have up to three such devices active at a time.

The feature specifically states that you may reclaim the materials when you intentionally dismantle it, which may imply that you may not reclaim the materials if it is dismantled by other means.

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