This project started like many others have, while browsing through recommended YouTube videos.
I came across a video of a man producing some kind of analogue output device. This man who I later found out was Dalibor Farný and the device was called a Nixie Tube.
Nixie tubes were manufactured mainly from the 50’s up until the 80’s when digital displays started to emerge. Since this technology was now outdated and there was no need for these devices, the complex knowledge of manufacture of nixie tubes literally died with tube factory’s engineers, glassblowers and machine operators. Now there is only one person still making these wonderful tubes and that is Dalibor.
Fortunately people like Dalibor have revived the retro technology and tech enthusiasts like me have now found new uses for the Nixie tubes.
I would highly recommend you watching this video by Dalibor showing how he makes his new Nixie tubes, it really outlines the amount of work that goes into each device.
The first step was to purchase the parts necessary to make the clock.There are two main parts to the project, the nixie tubes themselves and some kind of circuit to power them.
Fortunately, I found PVelectronics, a UK based online shop which specialises in making and selling kits to make your own nixie tube clocks.
The next task was to find somewhere to buy the tubes themselves. They are harder to find than you may think, many places have no stock or have very small quantities in stock and therefore are extremely expensive.
Places like eBay are your best bet when it comes to finding some ‘new old stock*’ IN-18 tubes. I managed to pick up 6 tubes at a reasonable price from the Ukraine.
*Because the tubes are no longer produced anymore, people sell new old stock. This just means that they are new, never used tubes but were produced years ago.