Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Nixie Tube Clock

nixie clock

Nixie tubes were the state of the art in electronic numerical displays during the mid-twentieth century. By the 1970′s they were almost completely supplanted by the cheap, long lived, low power-consuming seven segment LED’s. The nixie is a neon tube, typically with 10 stacked cathodes, one for each arabic digit. I can remember seeing them is some electronic test equipment and old pinball machines as a kid, but I had long forgotton about their existence.

When my friend Danny over at Mavromatic showed me how some folks were putting these old tubes back to work as displays for clocks, I knew that i would be building at least one nixie clock, and as it turned out, two.

I love designing and building furniture and cabinetry, but circuit design has never really been my strong suit. Fortunately for me, there are several people offering up circuit board kits that you assemble to drive your tubes. I chose a board kit offered by david forbes from Cathode Corner to drive the German Z560M tubes that I bought on ebay.

nixie clock I made a simple rosewood enclosure with a brushed aluminum faceplate and neon colon seperators. I’m pleased with the way it turned out. I added a switch to the circuit that cuts out the high voltage to the display, but leaves the current to the PIC processor going so that I can turn the tubes off at night and on the weekends to extend tube life but not have to reset the clock all the time. I have a second clock in the works, which uses the beautifull and large Russian IN-18 side-view tubes. There is a highly rated IN-18 board kit available from Claus Urbach at Nixieclocks.de if you would like to have a go at putting together your own nixie clock. IN-18 tubes will cost about $25 each. End-view Z560M tubes are going for about 10 bucks a tube.

12 Responses to “Nixie Tube Clock”

  1. praytothemachine » Nixie Clocks. Says:

    Holy crap, I want one of these Nixie Clocks bad enough I can bore Laura with all my jibba-jabba.

  2. Brenda Helverson Says:

    You might get a copy of The Art of Electronics by Horowitz & Hill Here’s the booksite:


    If you are able to do this level of mechanics, you will find electronic design to be a lot of fun.

  3. Peter Says:

    Wow… just stumbled on this page. You rock! I love to see people get inspired by links to $300 clocks then figure out how they can build one themselves with a little research, time and $50 instead. Kudos.

  4. rdp Says:

    “several people offfering up circuit board kits”

    could you eliminate the extra f in offering?

    cool clock! looks great!

  5. Dan Says:

    These folks build an entire company around these:


  6. me Says:

    rdp Says:

    ““several people offfering up circuit board kits”

    could you eliminate the extra f in offering?

    cool clock! looks great!”


  7. ogilumen Says:

    Mmmmm, rosewood.

  8. KRW Says:

    These are the illuminated numbers counting down on the a-bomb in the climax of the 1964 Bond film “Goldfinger.” They stop at “007.” I never knew these were called nixie tubes.

  9. Olek Says:

    Beautiful clock.
    Here’s the my nixie clock:

  10. sofiaa Says:

    Any chance of an RSS feed for this blog?

  11. Lee Epstein Says:

    can anyone suggest a person to repair my nixie clock in the San Francisco area?

  12. Nixie Clocks Says:

    [...] make clocks now. Most of these look like bad science experiments or bachelor pad accessories, but Finkbuilt has made a stunningly beautiful clock using the more unusual end view tubes. It’s too bad you [...]