Nixie Clock Box on CNC Machine

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Hello everyone

I have finally create instructable for CNC contest, planning to do this a long time ago but never catch time… If you like it please vote :)

Nixie tube clock is something that every DIY guy have to have, since I have got myself a few nixies long time ago I consider that half of job is done but I couldn’t be more wrong. Afterward I realized that I need schematic + code + lot of soldering….. Which was altogether very much time-consuming for me. So after few years of having nixies put away in drawer I have finally come across offer on alliexpress with completed board for nixie clock (without nixie tube it was around 20eur), so I order it. At this point I have nixies and the board but I needed also a nice enclose for my clock, this is part where CNC machine is coming handy….

This instructable is about using FUSION 360 for easy modeling and preparing NC files for my CNC machine.

Supplies:

Tools:

· CNC machine + computer

· 3mm Wood cutter CNC Router Bits 2 Flutes Spiral End Mills

· V Bits Hardwood Processing Double Flutes Straight V Engraving Tools Milling Cutter

· Screwdriver , clamps, solder iron and so on

Material:

· Wood board 20mm x 220mm x 80mm

· Wood paint or lacquer

Link on Nixie board:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32881067142.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4dWq3rVL

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Step 1: Measure and Design

I have taking measure of pcb and desig a box in FUSION 360, I’m self-learner of FUSION 360 so every peace of advice is very much welcome

This is quite straightforward you just need to add new sketch and choose plane where you want to create your sketch, now simply by using available tools in FUSION 360 design your sketch.

I have added file and screen shots from FUSION360 in next steps.

Step 2: Create 3D Model and NC Files

Now when you have plain sketch you need to create 3D model from it. Just mark area you want to extrude and type height of extrude. This is very important for afterward process of creating NC files so the heights needs to be accurate.

When you are satisfied with 3D model you should switch to manufacture step in fusion360 (left upper corner button).

In manufacture you need to create new setup where you choose where does spindle start from and defined how big is your peace of material that you want to carve in (stock size). Because I wanted to make box for option with 4 nixies or 6 that why I separated carving of the holes for nixies. Check out the photos for info about settings.

For this project you need to use only 2D features

of fusion360 on the picture there is a marked features which I used, also a settings of the tool.

Just make sure you chose adequate feed rate, and multiple step down passes (you don’t want to broke your tool). In the NC files I provide it is set for my CNC machine and it take lot of time to finish entire carving.

Step 3: Process of Manufacturing - Engraving

I wanted to make some engraving on the top of the Nixie Clock just to give a clock a little personality. Moving gears are always a nice touch so I find adequate picture online and converse it with INKSCAPE to .SVG file.

When you have a SVG it can easily by imported in FUSION 360, other great tool for playing around with SVG files is online editor https://www.makercam.com/ (you can open SVG. File from attachment)

For pretty engraving first I paint the wood board afterward I use V bit for engraving pattern on it.

So at this point I had prepared .NC files from FUSION360 and prepared board for deep carving.

Step 4: Process of Manufacturing - Harvesting

Next step is dismounting nixie tubes from old display and test the board.

Desoldering was pretty easy and I was surprised how quality this tubes are, I come up on a problem because this nixie board from alliexpress is for tubes IN14 but mine were Z570M so the inserting of tubes needs to be a bit redesigned, like in the photo.

First test was successful and clock start showing the time :)

Step 5: Process of Manufacturing - Carving

The last step is to carve 20mm board to fit pcb in it, I have upload NC. Files. There is one File containing all of the steps altogether, program runs for more than 8h so I decided that it is “nice to have” divide the process in few steps, so whatever you choose to do it should work fine.

For cutting the holes for tubes you need to rotate the box upside-down (like during the engraving),there are 2 files, one is for 4 tube clock and second is for 6 tube clock.

Also I have design a bottom cover from 2mm plexiglass but didn’t carved yet :/ (files are uploaded) .

Also I want to paint the enclosure in one of this days , will upload photos soon.

If you like the project please vote for it in CNC contest, I would really appreciate instructable T-shirt J

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