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RLB Designs' Nixie Tube Clock with Robin Birtles
April 2014

2.  Clock cases

I have designed a few case models around Robin's PCB clocks, which are presented here. The designs heavily draw from Streamline/Art Deco imagery, and leave the circuits apparent for an even more anachronistic look. As for now, only two case models have been fully built, with two more in preparation.

2.1   "Electron" case

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This first and lightest case design was completed in April 2014. Pictures can be found on the dedicated photo album.

Figure 2.1 — General front view of the Electron case. (Click to open a composite picture showing both sides.)

All pieces have been cut exclusively by hand ; all wooden pieces have been highly finished for a very fine shiny finish. The bars covering the wood disk sectors' edges as well as the L-shaped structures on the side are made of steel ; all the edges have been slightly bevelled for a smoother aspect while the surfaces have been finely sanded as well. The metallic "skirt" around the main base and the front circular decoration were both made out of aluminium, with different levels of polishing. Additionally, the front decoration is supported by a similarly-shaped piece of acrylic, which diffuses the UV back-lighting nicely.

Below are shown a few detailed pictures of the case.

2.2   "Tau" case

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Still more of a support structure than an actual case, the "Tau" model nevertheless makes for a much larger and heavier kind of pedestal than its "Electron" counterpart. The general shape represents some sort of stylized eagle, lying on the top of something, with its wings deployed. This case was finished in June 2014. Pictures can be found on the dedicated photo album.

Figure 2.1 — General front view of the Tau case. (Click to open a composite picture showing both sides.)

As always, all the pieces have been cut exclusively by hand and peculiar attention was brought to wood finishing to acheive the glossy look visible on the photographs. For the most part, the edges of the wooden plates were covered with aluminum/steel decorations, all of them finely polished too. Although not shown on the pictures here, there's a rubber layer fixed on the base plate (partly covered by the metallic skirt surrounding it) to ensure perfect stability, just like on the "Electron" case.

A proeminant feature of this clock is the illumination of the supports bearing the eagle from below, with eight warm white LEDs placed on the round plate, at the bottom of the clock. All the connections regarding these LEDs (including the current-limiting resistors) are made in the thin space between the two plates at the bottom of the clock, with only two wires (V+ and GND) getting out.

The main clock printed circuit boards, at the top, are supported by two C-shaped steel rods, fixed into the wood, via neodymium magnets, which ensure a very strong grip and yet leaves room for adjusting. Just on the right of it, is placed the real-time clock circuit, providing a very precise time-keeping, and the main power switch, which allows complete shutdown (nixies, backlight and case lightning).