I am bringing new information regarding the Zen Nixie Clock progress.. Briefly, 99% of all things ready, whole project is now blocked by issues with the aluminum stands.
We successfully went through prototyping phase of the stands in August. Machining company was instructed to make three stands prototypes of 6061 aluminum alloy (good for both machining and anodizing), they delivered it and we sent it for surface treatment (blasting+bright dip+anodizing) to anodizing company. They made great job and the result was amazing, nice silver color in case of blank anodizing and beautiful rich black in case of black stands.
Fortunately, the tube manufacture is running well. Monika ( responsible for inner systems assembly) is well trained and needs very little of my attention, she is big help to me! All the equipment and tooling is doing great job as well. We never had so many tubes in the shop at once!
Here is the first clock built using the black stand from prototyping series, thanks Nima for taking this video:
In mid August I went ahead and ordered batch of 35pcs stands (same 6061 aluminum alloy) from machining company. They made first batch and just before shipping, their QC found the countersing for DC connector too shallow, so they had to rework it – over 2 weeks delay. 20pcs were sent to anodizing company on the beginning of October for the same surface treatment. I was reported in middle of the month that the first treatment was not successful and they are going to repeat the anodizing – this means to strip the current oxide layer and do whole blasting + bright dip + anodizing phase again.
On the beginning of November, I received a call from anodizing company that the second try was unsuccessful again. Probably material fault – grain structure, anyway, I immediately ordered new batch from different supplier, using 5083 aluminum alloy from the source that I know. First piece from this supplier is now at the anodizing company and will go to test ASAP, full batch of the parts will hopefully arrive in the week from 21th to 25th and will be immediately resend for the surface treatment.
While I was struggling with the stands, we received second batch of glass covers, second batch of crates for the clocks and all other parts.
The demand in Zen Clocks and nixie tubes in general is growing, so I asked local authority (the castle owner) for two more rooms – one for general workshop (machinig, drilling, grinding – dirty jobs), the other one for clock assembly, testing and packaging. Their guys are now making reconstruction of the walls, electricity etc, so that we have nice polished space!
We are now 7 weeks behind the estimated shipping time and it drives me crazy. It will take our suppliers few more weeks to finish the new batch of the aluminum stands, but I believe it is worth of waiting.
I am extremely grateful for the patience all my customers have, there is no pressure from you and there is 41 of you! Thank you, guys!