September 15, 2016 Dalibor

Zen Nixie Clock – Update #3

Middle of September is here – expected time of shipment of the Zen Nixie Clocks, let’s take a look at what is ready and what we are waiting for.

Zen Nixie Clock detail

Zen Nixie Clock detail

 

Zen Nixie Clocks in front of the castle where they are built

Zen Nixie Clocks in front of the castle where they are built

Zen Nixie Clock - Black Satin case

Zen Nixie Clock – Black Satin case

Zen Nixie Clock - Silver Satin case

Zen Nixie Clock – Silver Satin case

Zen Nixie Clock

Zen Nixie Clock

Zen Nixie Clock

Zen Nixie Clock

Zen Nixie Clock prototype

Zen Nixie Clock prototype – with green glass and unfinished plating on the pillars.

Case

Case is the main factor which delays the shipment – specificaly the aluminum stand. First batch of the stands had a small defect, it was rejected and manufacturer had to make the batch again. The stands are already manufactured and on the way to us, we expect them to come around 20th of September. Once they are here, they will need little surface preparation, then will go immediately for surface finishing – I expect 14 days to make it ready.

The glass covers are already manufactured and ready. We asked the manufacturer to use Optiwhite glass which is clear and doesnt have the typical green tint on edges.

Cases for Zen Nixie Clock, made from Optiwhite glass - clear glass without typical green tint on edges

Cases for Zen Nixie Clock, made from Optiwhite glass – clear glass without typical green tint on edges

Brass pillars which hold the electronic board on the aluminum stand are manufactured, prepolished and waiting for final finishing and gold plating. Gold plating protects them from tarnishing as brass would eventually do. Polished brass is first nickel plated, then gold plated. The nickel barrier prevents the copper (from brass) from diffusing into the gold layer, which would make the gold layer tarnish as well.

Gold plating setup

Gold plating setup

 

Gold plating solution

Gold plating solution

 

Four nickel plated pillars, one gold plated

Four nickel plated pillars, one gold plated

Polished brass bolt

Polished brass bolt

Electronics

The boards are completely ready, soldered, assembled and cleaned, waiting to be mounted to the clock stands. We cover all the high voltage parts with insulation layer to protect customer from accidental touch. The voltage used (170VDC) is not particularly dangerous, but you can get freaked out and drop the clock, hit the tubes etc..

Clock boards soldering

Clock boards soldering

 

Detail of protective insulation layer on high voltage components

Detail of protective insulation layer on high voltage components

 

Testing of Zen Nixie Clock boards

Testing of Zen Nixie Clock boards

 

The power is supplied to the board via the pillars – this makes the clock completely without any wiring inside. I use the metal parts to conduct the electricity – aluminum stand + 9 pillars forms the ground (negative terminal). The positive terminal is on the middle back pillar (isolated from the ground). All electrical joints formed by threads use electrical joint compound which prevents galvanic corrosion, dissolves the oxides and provides reliable electrical contact.

Electrical joint compound application

Electrical joint compound application

 

Power connectors - ground is connected via the threading

Power connectors – ground is connected via the threading

 

Nixie tubes

30 tubes for first batch of 10 Zen Nixie Clocks are ready, the rest is almost finished.

Zen Nixie Clock

Zen Nixie Clock

 

Zen Nixie Clock

Zen Nixie Clock

 

Packaging

Because of fragile nature of the clock, I ordered a proffesional packaging company to create packaging for it. The box is made from plywood, inside is foam which fixes the clock from movement. Uses also anti-corrosion bag and desiccant.

Packaging for the Zen Nixie Clock

Packaging for the Zen Nixie Clock

 

packaging

 

Available colours

There are currently two color options to choose from – Black satin and Silver satin. I had planned also a champagne gold colour, but it turned out that it is very difficult for the surface finish supplier to achieve consistent results with this specific color, so I decided to not offer it. If you are seriously interested in this color (or any other), please let me know – it is possible to have the parts for whole clock made in one order (stand + tube bases), so that the color is identical.

When I can expect my clock?

The only thing we are waiting for is the batch of case stands. I expect the package with stands to come in a couple of days, it will take another 10-14 days to have them blasted and anodised. Once this is ready, we will start shipping – I expect first week in October all the clocks will be shipped.

Questions

If you have any questions or comments, please make a comment below the post. There was many helpful comments last time! Thank you!

 

Comments (6)

  1. Allan Hansen

    Regarding the color options…are the parts receiving color the Nixie tube bases only? Or, both the tube bases and the aluminum stand? Will you have samples so we can see how they look before we decide?

    Oh, and shouldn’t there be 60 Nixie tubes for the first 10 clocks?
    🙂

    • Joseph Florentine

      Man these look great, I still need to buy tubes for the clock I am working on… that lifetime warranty on 2016 tubes is good until January first right? Those boxes look super solid. sorry if I am out of the loop, but are the : tubes shipping with it?

    • Allan Hansen

      Okay, now that I’ve actually looked at your posted pics I have answered my own question. Definitely black stand and Nixie bases for me!

  2. Allan Hansen

    Also, forgot to say – THANKS for the update! This is looking very nice and professional. Much appreciate all of your efforts on this project. Hope to participate on anything you do in the future!

  3. Nick W.

    These clocks look awesome and are seriously making me question building my own. When do you think the second round of production will begin/end?

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