Steampunk Nixie Tube Clock

by fastkite Mar 1, 2018
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Is the 3D print all in PLA? How hot does the unit get in your estimation? Everyone I show it to says it looks cool but immediately wonders if it is a fire hazard.

The hottest part of the tubes gets maybe 2C or 3C above ambient room temperature. It is barely warm to the touch. Many of the consumer electronics you buy get much hotter, and have fans/heat sinks. This Thing doesn't need any type of cooling. You can buy plastic cases for this kit from the manufacturer, the PLA print works fine with no distortion at all. Actually, leaving the print on the dash of your car on a sunny day is far worse than the heat from the Nixie tubes.

Excellent! I appreciate the thorough explanation

Hello! Can you please remix it to fit a Nixie Maestro Kit??


I would be very grateful :)

I don't have one of those kits. The process of making and verifying the 3D print took a fair bit of measuring and test fitting.

I will try to do it by myself. I dont know about CAD software but seems a good project to start learning.

Thanks btw!

The process of designing, testing, and refinishing a thing is really awesome. I very much look forward to checking out your results. I used Solidworks to create the clock, and I included the source files. When creating the thing I did not consider others might modify it for another clock size. I apologize if the parametric is messy. I put a fair number of kludges in at the end to "just make it work".

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Looks like a fun build. Anyone know a US seller for the clock or is it UK only?

Nice design until you ruined it with worthless gears...

If you aren't skilled enough to remove them mounting holes digitally, just fill them with putty when you finish the clock. There's dozens of hours at least to put a nice paint job on it, the extra 5 minutes it takes to customize this design to your own seems reasonable.

I totally agree

This is a really cool design. I've got a 6 valve IN12 set from PV Electronics. I'd love to amend your design to take this kit. Would you 've willing to share your CAD files? I'm new to all things 3D printing (including designing in CAD) so this would be a Labour of love :)

KindaMagic, the SLPDRP files attached to this Thing are the original SOLIDWORKS files you can use to modify the design. It isn't the most organized CAD design I've ever done, so modifying it could be a bit of a chore. I am working on a new design for a tube amplifier in the same theme. It will take several more months to complete the design, parts, and paint.. I found it much easier to start from scratch when creating the CAD for it.

Had a look at the SLPDRP files - I can only see two for the buttons. Are you able to upload the ones for the front and back? Thanks.

This is the matching steampunk tube amplifier. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3386380

Steampunk Vacuum Tube Amplifier

Looks good. Thanks for the reply to my other question. I'll give it a go. If I manage to do anything vaguely acceptable, will post it as a remix.

My apologies, I thought that I had uploaded them. I just did it now.

That's great. Thanks very much.

The main body slices really oddly in Simplify3D. There is a gap between the main body and the 'bolted down' piece. I couldn't seem to repair it. Giving it a shot in Cura.

Arbello, sorry to hear this is giving you problems. It printed fine for me in Cura. I looked at the 3d and didn't see any obvious issue or way to fix it.

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i can't wait to print this. i made a funclock and never got around to building a case. it sits naked on my desk!

It's getting printed in woodfill right now. Sliced with cura, says 30hrs lol. Here we go!

Awesome share some photos when you have it finished!

WOW awesome !! Love this !!

very expensive is there another company thats clock would work in this

no there isn't. and if you do your homework you will find this is in fact the cheapest nixie kit on the internet save another guy on tindie.com. This kit, however, is far easier to build.

I do not know of any, I did spent a few weeks looking for a Nixie Tube Clock kit and found these to be a reliable quality source at a competitive price. I could have saved a few ($10-20?) dollars less on eBay from Asian providers, or buy the tubes separately, but decided not to chance it and opted to go for the well prepared instructors, pre-flashed microcontroller and support available from these guys.

One thing to pay attention to is to ensure the Nixie Tube is connect via a socket, so you can replace the Nixie Tube in a matter of minutes without soldering. I would hate to damage the clock replacing tubes in the future.

That said, if you find an alternative please share it with us.

Example: This one is a little less expensive but the PCB layout very different and I felt it wouldn't have ended up looking as good. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nixie-Tube-clock-KIT-with-IN-12-LED-Alarm-Black-/172319700960

Awesome paintjob! Thanks a lot for sharing your models and the part list.

Thanks! I'm glad you like it. I was a very satisfying build.

I actually have an assembled FunClock sitting on a table, this will be a great home for it. Do you plan on doing any cases for the Maestro or Halo kits?

I don't have a Maestro or Halo to take measurements from, but perhaps I will look into making one in a future project. I made this one since it is a perfect size for my desk. If anyone wants to modify the file to fit a Maestro it wouldn't be too difficult, I can provide the source Solidworks files. The Halo looks really nice also, but would require more extensive changes to the 3D files to make it all work.

The dimensions are in the downloadable manuals on https://www.pvelectronics.co.uk.
I have built many of the kits but just got started 3D printing in November. I'm trying to learn how to use the 3D design software but it's been slow going with detours to printer mods and the fact that I had some mechanical drawing background 45 years ago so the concepts are there but the terminology has changed. You did a great job on this case and a lot of nixie heads build lots of kits hence my question.
Thanks for what you have done!

I'll look at the manual and see if there is enough information to create a case. With the FunKlock there were a lot of measurements that had to be taken from the actual assembled device.

I found a layout for the Halo in my file archives. I can't find one for the Maestro but I can measure the holes in the case I have (I have 2 of these, 1 in a case and the other not). But I totally understand if you don't have time or the interest in doing this. I've got someone wanting me to print pen blanks to be turned in a lathe and I don't think PLA will take much of that.

This diagram would make it easier to create a Halo version, though usually I have to print a few versions to get the tolerances correct. I'll look into getting a Halo Clock Kit.

Don't go to a lot of trouble on my account. I need to learn to use the design software! But if you do let me know!

Very very cool. Did you design the electronics from scratch?

The electronics where designed by a company in the UK. https://www.pvelectronics.co.uk. The kits are unassembled, so you can solder the parts to the PCB yourself.

Magnifique. Très beau travail. Félicitations.

Very cool design ;) Love it

That looks great and thanks for posting a complete build guide and parts list!

Most welcome, if you see any errors or improvements please feel free to share them. This thing is much too awesome to be the only one.

Your design is very good! Everything fits super snug. I didn't want to use the gears, however, but didn't realize until after I printed. I should have filled in the holes on the top in cad first. Maybe offer a version that has a clean smooth top? Also, I think a really cool set of stick legs would look awesome on this case. Four holes in the bottom, and the choice to either print some legs or use brass rod...

This is so cool. How hot do the Nixie Tubes get?

The tubes are a little warm to the touch, perhaps 5 degrees over room temperature. They suggest a 6 watt power supply, so likely the actual heat output is around 3 watts.