Nixie clock exhibits well fabricated metal bezel

[Matt Evans] achieves a total win with his Nixie clock. Not only does he have the benefit of the retro display hardware, but he really catches our eye with the enclosure he built for it.

The project had its genesis when he came across a set of the Nixie Tubes in a surplus store. This was back in 2007, and with parts in hand he built the high-voltage driver circuit and a control board. The thing kept time, but was housed in a temporary case that was a bit rough looking. There it sat, waiting to become the focus of his attention once again.

When it did finally come time to build a proper case [Matt] started with a small sheet of recycled copper. He made the cutouts and bends by hand. He mentions that it’s a little uneven; maybe, but we don’t think it detracts from the design. Some black screen (like would be used on a porch door) covers the openings, giving texture and contrast to the facade.

We love the look, and the ATmega48 with a clock crystal for the RTC functions should make this a reliable time source.

Comments

  1. Per Jensen says:

    WOOOOOW! – That’s what i call handiwork! – That guy has his hands screwed right on, beautiful handmade case. Those special Nixie sockets and tubes come from an old Hewlett Packard Digital Multimeter or Frequency Counter. I have an old HP 3440A kicking around, and it still works just fine ;-)

  2. anyone says:

    very nice use of ИH-12A. still hate to be that guy but if the clock falls over, aren’t the tubes vulnerable to breaking?

    NM i take that back, im just so happy you didnt use adruino

    • mjrippe says:

      Actually the article states they are Burroughs B-5991 tubes. I’m sure that’s what the Soviets later copied, but they used the same digit reversed for 2 and 5.

    • Per Jensen says:

      Actually, the faces of the tubes are quite solid, so no, i do not think they will break.

      See the weight he added at the base in the back – it doesn’t look it’s going to tip over.

      • anyone says:

        so i actually checked out the link and youre right, it is another tube and it is weighted. again i retract my comments.

        also checking out his other projects ill be the first to admit that this guy is another tier of engineer (compared to me anyway). i get discouraged and usually drop a project when it comes to reverse engineering a >100pin device. yet he take that vertex device, figures it out, adds ram and gets it to do something. i have trouble enough laying out a board with a FPGA+RAM

        sir fine job and maybe we could meet one day when on the west coast

  3. Technics says:

    Wow. What an inspiring project. I have designed a few nixie clocks myself but never had much luck coming up with a good looking case. Great work.

  4. This is the first nixie clock I have ever liked. It is the only one I’ve seen so far that actually looks like the nixies belong in it–historically and aesthetically. Great design, wonderful fabrication. Top marks!

  5. 1000100 1000001 1010110 1000101 says:

    Handmade? Wow…beautiful!

  6. Hirudinea says:

    1948, eh? Looks more art deco to me, Matt should outsource this to China, I’ed buy one.

  7. Srimech says:

    Great piece of metalwork!

  8. MattE says:

    Wow, guys, thanks for your brilliant comments, you’re very kind! I guess I had a few years to plan out how to finish the case. Your comments are really motivating me to finish more stuff!
    @Per Jensen, exactly right, HP sockets… I admit I pillaged an old broken HP frequency counter ;(
    @Hirudinea, you’re right, deco-style (and a mashup of the decades). I bet China can make one regardless of what I do ;)
    @anyone, the “another tier” stuff is bollocks, I’ve just been trying/learning for donkey’s years & finally pulling small victories together. Just needs some time & enjoying the trip :-) So good luck with all of your projects!

    • Th3Trickster says:

      Hey great work there!

      I’ve always wanted to be able to build stuff like this (hence me always browsing hackaday :3 )and unfortunately I never had the chance (more like time) to learn (been busy with school, I’m 18 btw); Any advice on how/ where I could find tutorials?

      I am a fast learner :D. I know very little about electronics.
      I know how to solder, etc. Basic components, I’m also don’t mind buying stuff online.

      Anyone can and is welcome to reply ^3^

      (I do apologize for my horrible use of English, French being my first language.)

      • MattE says:

        Th3Trickster, since I date from the days before Arduino etc., I have to suggest Forrest M. Mimms III’s famous “Getting Started With Electronics” series of books. Great explanations of how/why various components work! :) Also I might actually suggest looking at Arduino stuff– there are many projects, examples and tutorials around so you may find ones at an appropriate level. But mainly, just try stuff & experiment, it’s much better (even when things don’t work) than just reading books about it. Et, bon chance!

  9. Colin says:

    great clock, I’ve been meaning to get around to one of these.

  10. bitreaper says:

    Beautiful! Amazing work, and very well done!

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