Boat Anchor Nixie Clock Plays The Cold Warrior Role Convincingly

The early Cold War years may have been suffused with existential dread thanks to the never-ending threat of nuclear obliteration, but at least it did have a great look. Think cars with a ton of chrome, sheet steel toys with razor-sharp edges, and pretty much the entire look of the Fallout franchise. And now you can add in this boat anchor of an electromechanical Nixie clock, too.

If [Teti]’s project looks familiar, perhaps it’s because the build was meant as an homage to the test equipment of yore, particularly some of the sturdier offerings from Hewlett-Packard. But this isn’t some thrift store find that has been repurposed; rather, the entire thing, from the electronics to the enclosure, is scratch built. The clock circuit is based on 4000-series CMOS chips and the display uses six IN-1 Nixies. Instead of transistors to drive the tubes, [Teti] chose to use relays, which in the video below prove to be satisfyingly clicky and relaxing. Not relaxing in any way is the obnoxious alarm, which would be enough to rouse a mission control officer dozing in his bunker. [Teti] has a blog with more details on the build, the gem of which is information on how he had the front panel so beautifully made.

We can’t say enough about the fit and finish of this one, as well as the functionality. What’s even more impressive is that this was reportedly [Teti]’s first project like this. It really puts us in mind of some of the great 6502 retrocomputer builds we’ve been seeing lately.

13 thoughts on “Boat Anchor Nixie Clock Plays The Cold Warrior Role Convincingly

  1. This is a masterclass on enclosure design and finishing skills.
    Layout, labelling, the details on this are awesome for a project with this many details.

    Seriously good job to the creator of this, and now I kinda want to put a bulk order of relays…. And find a 2u enclosure to mount this in my server rack.

  2. absolutely BEAUTIFUL enclosure design. Seriously top notch work.
    That being said, I suspect those IN-1s will get swapped out with IN-12 tubes before long…IN-1s are notorious for failing early due to not having any mercury.

  3. This would have been right at home in the ESM / Radio suite on board the Sturgeon class Sub I served on, right next to the Cesium Beam frequency standard… I am in awe.

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