This is my first Instructable. I am Brazilian and English is not my mother language, so I hope you can understand my strange English.
I am electrical engineer and a compulsive maker. I love old tube valves, and when I saw on the web one Nixie clock…. I said “I need to build one”.
After a long search, I found here in the Instructables, one Nixie clock project very well detailed by Andrea Biffi.
As his post is amazing, I will not enter in details in how I construct the circuit and etc. I just followed his incredible post.
What I will show here is how I constructed the case for my Nixie Clock.
Step 1: Build One Nixie Clock
First, thank you Andrea Biffi for your patience answering all my questions!!!
You can start building your own nixie clock here: https://www.instructables.com/id/simple-user-adjustable-DIY-Nixie-Clock/
Step 2: The Case
I decided to transform a remote control organizer in my nixie case. After a long search for a proper organizer, I found one in wood in the exact size I was looking for.
Step 3: Removing the Internals
The case was perfect. Natural wood without any finishing.
The first step was remove all the wood pieces inside the case. To do this part I used a simple hammer. Be careful to not apply more force than necessary.
To remove the nails I used a cut pliers.
Step 4: Template
I decided to not use any light dot between the valves. Even if I decided to use, I could not due the size the box I was using.
In this project I used nixie IN-4 tubes. I measured the diameter of the tube and with the correct value, I could calculate the correct space between the 6 tubes (hh-mm-ss).
When satisfied with the layout, just transfer it to the case.
Step 5: To Drill
This was the most critical phase in my project. I noticed that the wood used in the case was not solid. Is something like a agglomerated wood, covered with sheet of wood (not sure if plywood is the correct name).
I used a normal electric hand drill to open the holes. I used one flat wood bit (25 mm) to open the holes. I had a good luck, because the bit did not damage the surface of the wood.
I was planning to glue the tubes to hold it in the wood, but I had a great idea and I decided to test to see if it would work. To use one O ring rubber seal to hold the tubes.
Using my Dremel and a cutter bit (dremel bit #114) I dig a channel to install the O ring and hold it in place.
Patience is the most important tool in this process!
With the O ring installed, was necessary just to apply a little force to install the tube. It worked very well!!!
You will need to find the correct size to your tube. The tip here is to use one o ring that hold the tube without any clearance.
Note: in the pictures you can notice that I applied some finishing in the wood. I just applied shoe wax polish (brown) in the box and polished with a horsehair brush (or any kind of brush).
Step 6: The Soul of This Project
Before to install the electronics inside, I tested the tubes to see if everything was working perfectly.
In the original project Andrea fixed the tubes in a PCB. I had several problems with my tube's PCB, so I decided to wire the tubes one by one, eliminating one PCB (the tube PCB is a nightmare).
By doing it I saved time and had no more headaches 8 ) .
Step 7: More Holes
To make the adjustment easier, I didn't weld the on-off switch and the set buttons on the PCB. I installed them in the box and wired it in the PCB.
Step 8: Installing the Electronics
In this phase I just installed the main PCB inside the box, using a bolt to fix it in the wood.
After I installed the tubes in the correct position. Just pay attention to not change the order of the tubes (hh -mm -ss).
To protect the internals I cut a piece of plastic and I did some holes to help with the ventilation. I fixed it with some screws.
Step 9: The Clock
And this is the final result.
I hope you liked my project so far!