WHAT IS THIS PROJECT?
This aim of this project project is to establish a Steampunk Nixie Clock as my first "signature model" piece of artwork. By funding the clock through Kickstarter pre-orders I will be able to more affordably source materials, develop high-quality and durable templates, make some small but necessary equipment upgrades and generally streamline and improve production. The process of transitioning my shop from a custom one-off commission style of manufacturing to a 'signature model' style of production will also allow me to more readily offer similarly projects in the future. The funding goal for this project is based off orders for the (5) Early Backers clocks as well as (5) Regular Backer clocks.
The Steampunk Nixie Clock is a project I have been wanting to undertake for some time now. As is often the case it seems, the development of this project arose out of my looking for a something (in this case custom Nixie clock) that turned out to be either non-existent, or not quite what I was looking for when I found it. The steampunk Nixie clocks that I had seen on the market were either a little too minimalist (tubes sticking up out of a sleek case) or too engineered and expensive (custom milled brass, $1000+ etc). If I was going to make a clock I would aim for a middle ground between these two opposite ends of the spectrum. I wanted something that could be affordable, but also showcased beautiful wood and a high quality of design and finish. This clock is the end result of that effort.
SO....WHAT'S IN THE PACKAGE?
The Steampunk Nixie Clock Package includes one (1) handmade clock, one (1) AC adaptor for your specific country (CAN/US, EU, UK or AUS) and (1) Set of Instructions For Operation. The Steampunk Nixie Clock is approximately 16" long x 5"wide and 9" tall.
AND WHAT IS THE CLOCK MADE FROM?
I select all my wood personally, from rough stock, and process it no differently than I would material for a piece of fine furniture. All of my woods are chosen specifically for quality, figuring (where possible), and appropriateness of grain. The hardware is a combination of brass, steel, plastic, and chrome/copper finishes.
The nixie components will be provided by a small custom Nixie producer in the UK, using Nixie tubes sourced from the good ol' former Soviet Union. All clock components will be tested upon production, and then once again for several days before final shipment. This will ensure proper functionality (although this second test period is largely a formality).
BUT HOW DOES THE CLOCK WORK?
A nixie tube is a cold-cathode low-pressure vacuum tube that lights a series of digit filaments surrounded by neon gas. A small electrical current is then passed through the tube, lighting the digit filament. Despite this constant electrical feed, since the tubes are classified as cold-cathode and therefore run at a very low temperature, there is essentially no risk of overheating.
Nixie tubes utilize stacked filament numerals that create a very real sense of depth as the numbers change. Each number is its own filament and as a result the numbers jump forward and backwards within the tube. The tubes are controlled by a custom circuit board contained within a plexiglass housing.
- The clock can be easily programmed for time (Hours/Minutes/Seconds) as well as the date (MM/DD/YY).
- The date can also be programmed to scroll across the clock every minute, and there is also an input for GPS modules (GPS Module optional).
- The clock also features a night mode (can be dimmed during nighttime hours).
- The clock has a programmable alarm (beep only) and snooze function.
- The clock has 3 separate RGB LED's installed, and they are fully configurable. This provides for over 700 different variants of backlight color, which can be programmed for every hour. Choices!
But most importantly, the IN-12 Tubes and circuit board are not dependant on AC current and can be run in any country. Science!
HOW MUCH DOES THE CLOCK COST?
The standard retail for this project was to be $649 for the base package, but I have released 5 Early Backer Specials (SOLD OUT), and now dropped the price to $599 for the duration of this funding campaign (this includes shipping within North America with electronic tracking, full value insurance, and expedited shipping service. Shipping service and times vary for International orders).
There are also more elaborate versions of the clock available. GPS Modules are now available for $75 with a Regular/Early Backer Unit. Module's are included in some reward levels where noted).
The approximate budget breakdown of the Kickstarter funding goal is as follows:
- 10% - Packaging, non-clock rewards, production improvements
- 10% - The Tax Man (Kickstarter & Payment processing)
- 25% - Build Materials (black walnut, screws, finishing supplies etc)
- 25% - Nixie Tubes, Boards, Casing etc (all the electrical)
- 30% - Labour
STRETCH GOALS ARE NOW LIVE
Stretch Goal #1: $7500 UNLOCKED
- Early Backers & Regular Backers now automatically receive Print Set #1 in 5"x7".
- Elite Backers have their included print sets upgraded from 5"x7" to 8"x"10.
Stretch Goal #2: $10,000 UNLOCKED
- Early Backers & Regular Backers will also receive Print Set #2 in 5"x7".
- Elite Backers will have one of their 8"x10" prints framed and signed with a personal note from myself.
Stretch Goal #3: $15,000 UNLOCKED
- All Backers that purchased a clock will receive a custom handmade keychain with a copper etched TGT Studios Nixie logo, mounted onto a wood disc made from the same wood as your clock, and then finished by hand.
Stretch Goal #4: $20,000
- Early, Regular, and Elite/Custom Level Backers will receive a TGT Studios Canvas bag for all their swag. The re-usable canvas bag will be custom designed with a TGT Studios insignia and Nixie clock logos. All of your extra goodies will be loaded in here, so prints, keychain, power adaptor, instructions, etc. Swag bag!
WHAT IS THE TIMELINE OF PRODUCTION?
Upon the close of the Kickstarter effort (February 23rd, 2014), I will immediately begin purchasing materials. All materials and suppliers have been sourced already. All of the woodworking, assembly, and finishing will be done by me.
All black walnut and purpleheart will be chosen by myself, in person, at a local wood shop with whom I have had a long standing professional relationship. I am highly particular about my wood selection and if they don't have exactly what I'm looking for I will wait and check back. Depending on the number of clocks sold, it should not take more than a few trips to the distributor (two hours each way!!!) to fulfil the materials requirements.
The Nixie Clock components will be ordered within the month from my distributor and should arrive in 3-4 weeks. Country appropriate adapters will also be ordered at this time.
All remaining hardware will be obtained through a combination of in-person purchase at hardware/joinery stores, and online specialty suppliers.
Each clock takes approximately 20 hours to build and finish. I am confident that the first clocks purchased will be shipping by the end of May 2014. A hypothetical production of 50 clocks can be completed by November 2014, just in time for Christmas.
Special Thanks & Acknowledgements
In advance, thanks to anyone that supports this project. You mean the world to me. Your vote of confidence will not go unappreciated, I promise you that. Its hard to make a go of it as an artist full-time and every bit of support puts me one step closer. Thank you.
I'd also like to thank my wife, who has always supported my work and who continually pushes me to keep being creative. My daughter, who I do this all for even though she isn't old enough to understand yet. My father-in-law who helped me get my first shop (plastic sheds and extension cords FTW!), my parents, and my aunt Frances, the first artist I ever knew and who I always looked up to.
I'd like to thank WinterWolf Studios, who has always taken beautiful shots of my work. If you are in Ohio and need a photog, MUA or model please check them out, I can't recommend them enough!
I'd also like to thank the Steampunk (and online) community that has continually supported my work by visiting my site, following me on twitter, up-voting me on Reddit, and liking my posts on Instagram and throughout various blogs. It might just be a click for you but it has a very real impact for me. I live in a small town with no real venue for sharing my work. Without the positive support I have found online I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. I can't thank you all enough for that.
Risks and challenges
There are essentially no risks for this project. I have a working model of the clock which I have fired up, run for days, and has had no issues. The Nixie clock components come from a reputable producer, and I have had no issues with the quality of their work in the past. I also personally have a resume of completed projects with high profile clients that showcase both my craftsmanship and ability to complete projects. If you buy a clock, you're getting a clock, and it will look exactly like it does in the photo (with some variation of wood grain). The funding goal for this project is based off orders for the (5) Early Backers clocks as well as (5) Regular Backer clocks. Based on this amount of orders, there should be no delays in obtaining all necessary hardware and components.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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