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Nixie Tube Clock with artistic copper case and hardwood top. Retro technology in a modern design.

This project uses retro technology for a cool looking clock.  Nixie tubes were used in the 1950's, 1960's and early 1970's.  The goal of my project is help our generation not only understand how far we have come with technology, but also to appreciate the beauty of previous designs. 

Special Thanks to ...

Peggy Budai (my wife) for helping with the video and putting up with all my electrical and chemical mess around the entire house.  

Jamie, Kylee and Sarah (my daughters) for helping me clean up my lab area so I had a clean place to do experiments.

Kerry, my friend, for doing all the woodworking on the prototype clocks.  << Sorry I took credit that in the video. >> 

Possible changes

I am thinking about making the top in solid copper instead of wood.  I will be in contact with all people that are donating enough to get a completed clock.  I can produce both the wooden top and copper if there is enough interest in both.   

The Clocks

Copper with chemical finish
Copper with chemical finish
Copper with matte finish (no clear coat)
Copper with matte finish (no clear coat)
Copper with matte finish and a clear coat
Copper with matte finish and a clear coat

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The design is proven to work well but the sustainability of the project may be limited due to the limited supply of nixie tubes. That being said there are currently enough tube available for me to complete a few hundred clocks.

FAQ

  • They do not burn out like a light bulb, but they will not last forever either.

    A common light bulb creates light and heat with 20 to 100 Watts of energy. The nixie tube does not require very much energy to operate, they only require about 0.5 Watts of energy. The tube does not get hot. It produces an orange glow by activating the neon gas within the tube, not with a great deal of energy being pumped through a small filament like a light bulb does.

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  • I would expect these tubes to be good for 3 to 10 years or more. Nixie tubes were designed to provide a long life, I have worked with old test equipment that is over 40 years old and their nixie tubes were functioning fine..

    They can become dimmer, but the most common failure is parts of one or more digit will not fully glow because of contamination inside the tube. This contamination is call "poisoning" and usually can be reversed with a little effort.

    Another failure mode is contamination inside the tube causing two digits to turn on at the same time. In many cases this can also be reversed.

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  • I estimate all the components except the tubes will cost about $65. The tubes will cost $5 to $10 each and you need 6 tubes. The $5 tubes would be used, but I highly recommend new old stock tubes which are between $8 and $10 each.

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  • This clock uses IN14 tubes. The digits are about 0.7" (18 mm) tall. The tubes are about 2" (54 mm) tall and have a diameter of about 0.75" (19mm).

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  • Yes, it supports both 12 hour (as shown in the video and photos) and 24 hour. The user can select which time format they prefer. I will set the default format for all USA clocks to 12 hour and all international shipments to 24 hour clock. They user may change these default setting at anytime.

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  • Yes. It will come with a universal ACDC power supply that will operate from 100 to 240 VAC.

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    14 backers

    THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision.

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    1 backer

    Limited edition Nixie Tube Clock Project coffee mug. THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision.

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    A nixie tube clock printed circuit board with the microcontroller loaded and programmed. A printed list of all parts needed to build the rest of the clock. Perfect for a hobbyist that is familiar with soldering. THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision.

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    A nixie tube clock printed circuit board with the microcontroller loaded and programmed. A printed list of all parts needed to build the rest of the clock. Perfect for a hobbyist that is familiar with soldering. One solid copper box for your clock. A drawing for the wooden top with all dimensions. THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision.

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    1 backer

    A nixie tube clock printed circuit board with everything professionally loaded except the nixie tubes. Includes the AC-DC power supply required. Nixie tubes are not included, but I will provide you with part number and the best location to purchase them. Perfect for a hobbyist that is familiar with soldering but doesn't desire to build the complete board. THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision. Estimated delivery: Nov 2013 Add $10 to ship outside the US

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    5 backers Limited (25 left of 30)

    A completed nixie tube clock with matte finish. THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision.

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    16 backers Limited (14 left of 30)

    A completed nixie tube clock with matte finish, with a clear coat finish. THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision.

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    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $425 or more
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    14 backers Limited (16 left of 30)

    A completed nixie tube clock with a chemical coloring treatment, with a clear coat finish. THANK YOU -- Your name will proudly be displayed on my office wall in thanks for your support in realizing my vision.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Funding period

- (30 days)