Norwegian Engineers Redesign the Nixie Tube Clock
Tom Spendlove posted on February 15, 2019 |
Millclock has created Nixie Tubes with smart bases to control clock display.

Millclock is a group of Norwegian engineers and makers calling themselves “a guild of technicians” with a love of Nixie clocks and Nixie Tube technology. They work hard to make sure their projects are aesthetically pleasing but their Nixie clocks and watches are built to engage the user - compel them to communicate and interact with the pieces. The team is running a crowdfunding campaign for their new Nixie Tubes called Reborn ZIN18.

As Nixie tubes become more difficult to find, Millclock worked to create their own alternative and this video highlights the craftsmanship required to form the glass and the electronics required for the system. The cylinders are slimmer and each tube has a ‘smart base’ that holds the circuit board that controls the display. An iOS and Android compatible app controls color and light intensity. Touch control at the front face of the clock is also included.

Estimates say that these ZIN18 Nixie Tubes will last around twenty years or 200,000 hours of service. The minimum supply voltage is 170 Volts, minimum cathode current of 5 milliAmperes, and maximum cathode current of 8 milliAmperes. A full six tube clock is 160 x 100 x 305 millimeters and weighs 3.4 kilograms. The clock case is built from anodized aluminum and the tubes are glass with stainless steel inside. Bases for the tubes can be polished aluminum, black anodized aluminum or sand blasted aluminum.

The ZIN18 Nixie Tubes and clocks are a great example of maker spirit working with craftsmanship and programming. Creating modular tubes with controls attached to the unit is a great selling point for me, letting users choose how they want the clock displayed. The campaign video definitely shows off the craftsmanship that goes into the build of these units and the campaign page includes more videos that show programming and assembly. The campaign ends on March 18, 2019.

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