When I caught my first glimpse of a Nixie Clock four years ago, it was love at first sight. They just have this cool steampunk vibe that makes them coveted like a modern grandfather clock. I set out to build two of these, one for myself and the other for a great friend to commemorate a recent milestone.
The clocks themselves are based on the NCS314 kit distributed by GRA&AFCH out of the Ukraine. The firmware has be overhauled to include some awesome new features. We will get to put my new Carbide Nomad 883 Pro CNC to the test by milling circuit boards and a wooden case.
The evolution of my clock build is spread out over a three part video series. All my design resources including 3D printed parts and custom firmware can be found on this page.
Part 1: Assemble the Kit
Part 1 in this series covers sourcing a kit and what to expect. Then we head over to the microscope to solder up all the surface mount components. Finally, we compile and flash the stock firmware.
Part 2: WiFi & Firmware Upgrades
In part 2 in this series, we start tweaking stuff. This includes milling a custom PCB to incorporate an ESP8622 which will allow the Nixie Clock to fetch an NTP time sync. The firmware also gets some refactoring to add a timer to shut the tubes down during the night and an LED display mode that is synced with the ambient room temperature.
Part 3: Making a Case
In the Final video in the series, we make it pretty. This covers going from raw material to a finished white oak case and how I designed and generated tool paths using Fusion360 to mill the case on my desktop CNC.
How much would you charge to make another case?
Sorry, I wouldn’t make another for money. My hobby is to show others some possible ways of doing it themselves!
Good afternoon. I talked with Alexej Fomin about the firmware of their production watches (GRA@AFCH), he told me that you managed to implement in your firmware a change in the brightness of the backlight of the lamps depending on the time of day. Can you share this sketch?
Best wishes, Eugeny.
Hi, please have a look at the video series on this project and the associated GitHub repo with the code and precompiled firmware.
The project is a bit older now so I can speak to my code working on other board revisions.