I’ve always had an interest in contemporary products which use vintage/traditional technologies. They fit in well with today’s aesthetic trends but still retain that sense of nostalgia and sentimentality. Nixie tube technology is a great example of this. I’d seen quite a few tube clock designs online, but couldn’t find one whose character matched what I was after, so I decided to design my own. The prototype clock had a lot of interest and people were asking where they could get one, so here I am on Kickstarter to help me share the design with you and others and set up a small production run.
I started with some sketches to find a shape I liked, and produced some hand renders to demonstrate the design details and materials. I chose the clock body to be made from CNC machined aluminium, bead blasted and clear anodized for durability, and the visible fasteners would give it an honest, industrial aesthetic.
I created a CAD model and printed many different 1:1 scale views to achieve the proportions I was after. A couple of drawings later and I was ready to make a prototype. The prototype was CNC machined from solid aluminium, blasted and anodized. The electronics, designed by engineer and physicist Jonas Jasulaitis, were assembled, tested, installed and the aluminium top plate was secured to the body.
A number of Blub units will now be available with blue backlighting! The brightness level will be adjustable or you can turn the backlighting OFF or ON as you like.
Your contribution will help me purchase the parts, bulk materials, CNC machining time, certification and production equipment needed to make this project a success.
The clock display is made from four nixie tubes, which are glass tubes filled mostly with neon gas. Inside each tube there is a wire mesh and a series of wire numerals which glow a beautiful orange colour when power is applied. They do not get hot and are completely silent. Overall dimensions of Blub are 111L x 56W x 72H (mm).
Blub runs off 12V using the supplied wall plugpack and consumes approximately 2W of power. There is a night time shut-off setting where the tubes can power off at a chosen hour and then come back on again at a later time in order to save power. To wake Blub up again during this time, you can press either button on the back. The flashing indicator on the front of Blub can be customized to flash once each second, stay constantly lit, stay constantly off or become lit only during PM hours.
The clock modes are easily changed using the two buttons on the back. Setting the time is much like setting the time on a digital watch (hold the mode button until the digits flash, then press the set button to cycle through the numbers until you arrive at the time you want, then press the mode button once more). The same goes for the alarm, date and other clock functions. Easy! Blub comes with a full set of instructions to make things nice and simple.
Risks and challenges
As with any project, there are can be hiccups along the journey to completion. Through my experience as an Industrial Designer I have managed and minimised these risks. I have already developed good relationships with suppliers and manufacturers to support the fulfillment of Blub. All assembly and testing will be completed by myself to give maximum control over the end product.
I will be providing regular project updates, so there shouldn't be any unpleasant surprises (only good ones!).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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