A Victorian-Style Nixie Tube Clock

Nixie tubes were, at one time, a great option if you needed to display digital data without blinking lights or a dial of some sort. Though…

Jeremy S. Cook
3 years ago

Nixie tubes were, at one time, a great option if you needed to display digital data without blinking lights or a dial of some sort. Though beautiful, they have been replaced by more modern display methods, and are no longer even produced. Certainly in part because of their scarcity, these bulbs have become prized as retro-tech displays, and can often be seen in the form of custom clocks.

This particular clock, by Redditor “tonyp7,” features three sets of two Nixie tubes under separate glass domes. This allows it to show the time in hours/minutes/seconds, or the date in day/month/year format. The enclosure is laser-cut out of walnut, and a receptacle for each of the tubes is cut into the top wooden section. A button behind the domes switches from date to time, and three knurled knobs in front are used for time/date setting via an encoder.

The device is powered by a Mega Pro Mini module, which features much of the functionality of an Arduino Mega in a much smaller form factor. Tony’ intended to use a full-sized Mega board, but had trouble fitting it into his enclosure. Though he did a good job or organizing his wiring, he still used over 10m of wire to hook everything up, and space needs for electronics can add up fast!

The clock looks like it was a lot of work, but the result is a beautiful build that would fit in nicely in a mad scientist’s laboratory or a steampunk display!

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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