Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nixie Clock Enclosure Project

One of my more recent projects was to design and build an enclosure for a Nixie clock kit purchased from Dave at  At the heart of the kit clock is PIC micro-controller surrounded by 6 Soviet era IN-14 Nixie tubes that illuminated by LEDs.  I purchased all the components based on Dave's BOM, had the circuit board made, and fully assembled the working kit:
Completed Nixie Clock kit, (photo courtesy of Dave Thorpe
Dave includes .dfx files for a cnc-based enclosure, and I have seen a variety including wooden boxes, laser-cut wood and plastic, and aluminum - most very cool and well made, but I wanted something different.  A common themes in many of my projects is the use of reclaimed/re-purposed material, particularly metal and wood.  And so I decided to take a piece of old-growth 2x4 I had and make an enclosure out of a solid block of wood.  I created a design in Google Sketchup which allowed me to visualize the final product and incorporate specific dimensions, make changes, and experiment with various decorative edges.

Design done in Google Sketchup.

Based on the drawing I began to fabricate a prototype enclosure out of the wood by drilling the holes out and carving out the middle piece into the box shape.  All of the sides were cut to spec, finished with linseed oil.  I drilled holes for the clock buttons and added a pvc plastic piece with rubber stand-off feet.  The fabrication details are as follows:

Old-growth redwood is really nice to work with; it is soft, gives off a nice aroma, and really shows off the tight grain with the linseed oil finish. I can many more projects using re-purposed redwood from remodelling jobs.

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