Plexitube Owl Clock Watches You Sleep

Wait, plexitube? Is that a typo? Surely we mean Nixie tubes!

For a Christmas project [Kurt] wanted to build some owl-inspired clocks — with bit of a retro feel. Given the complexities of finding and using actual Nixie tubes, he went with an alternative — a Plexitube.

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Closeup of Plexitube

Plexitubes look like futuristic Nixie tubes. They can have different stylized numbers. They’re crisp, they’re bright, and they are completely customizable. They’re made of edgelit acrylic! By laser etching the design onto pieces of acrylic and feeding LED light into the edge, very much like how a light-pipe works, it’s possible to have a neon-light effect — using nothing more than plastic and some LEDs.

He designed custom PCBs for the project, with SMD LEDs for the plexitubes. Making use of a laser cutter, he designed the actual owl to be made out of lightly formed wood cutouts — the entire thing looks absolutely fantastic.

As far as “Nixie tube” clocks this has gotta be one of the most aesthetically pleasing ones we’ve seen in a while, but if you’re looking for an all-out-Nixietube-extravaganza… take a look at this whopping thirteen tube clock.

[Thanks for the tip Lawrence!]

17 thoughts on “Plexitube Owl Clock Watches You Sleep

    1. From the author: “The first stack took me 2 hours to assemble. My finger nails were frayed from all the plastic peeling and I had 11 more elements to make.”

      Would likely have to refine the “individually laser cut and hand assemble” part of the assembly process though.

  1. When I was a kid in the early 1970’s my father’s lab had a digital voltmeter that used this kind of display, only it used stepping relays, an op-amp voltage comparator, and incandescent light bulbs to edge-light the glass numeral panes.

  2. Nice Nixie tubes! Sorry Brian, complain another day.
    But seriously, that is an absolutely beautiful work! Love it, great job on the wood. We just don’t see that kind of aesthetic put to good use enough.

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