Awesome Stuff: Nixie Tube And Oscilloscope Clocks

from the retro-steam-punk dept

Okay, so the idea of Nixie tube clocks is hardly a new idea. Nixie tubes have been around for decades, of course, and a good friend of mine has had a Nixie tube clock for years, but new variations keep popping up on crowdfunding sites, so for this week’s awesome stuff blog post (in which we look at interesting crowdfunding projects), I thought I’d look at some Nixie tube projects — and one non-Nixie tube project, but which feels like it fits right in.

  • First up, we’ve got Blub, which is a pretty standard Nixie tube clock, but with some modern styling to the base. Not just a clock, it can also display the date and the temperature, and has a few nice features, like an alarm clock and a night time shut off.
    These suckers are not cheap, running between $369 and $399 Australian (~$321 to $348 US), but they seem to be selling well enough (the special limited edition black one (which does look the nicest) has already sold out. Either way, the Blub is well past its $5,000 goal, and is already well over $20,000 with three weeks to go on the campaign.
  • Nixie tubes scream out retro, so of course there would be a Steampunk Nixie Tube Clock, with some astounding steampunk designs from Kyle Miller, someone who has a long history of designing amazing Steampunk pieces, though traditionally just doing custom pieces. This is his first attempt to create a line of steampunk offerings.
    Something like this requires a fair bit of work to make each one, so it’s no surprise that they cost a bit more, running $599 Canadian (about $540 US). The project only has 10 backers so far, raising about $3,500 of the $6,000 goal, but there’s nearly a month left in the project, making it likely it will hit the target (and then some).
  • Okay, so that last one involved someone doing an elaborate design for you. But what if you’re more the DIY kind of person? Well, then there’s the Smart Nixie Tube offering, which is an expandable Nixie tube display module, with built-in Arduino Uno compatible hardware, allowing you to basically build whatever you want with Nixie tubes fairly easily. You can build your own clock, or whatever else you might want to display.
    The pricing here depends on how many digits you want, and if you want it assembled. But, for the most part, it’s $100 per digit assembled, but for $50, you can get the basic device sans Nixie tube, or $60, you can get it with a Nixie tube that you’ll need to solder into place. Looking over the current backers, it seems that $60 self-assembly model is the one that’s selling. This project is right near its target of $5,000 (by the time you read this it’ll probably be over it) with three and a half weeks to go.
  • Finally, this last one isn’t a Nixie tube clock, but rather an oscilloscope clock kit that certainly fits right in to the general feeling of the Nixie clocks. The video presentation is pretty terrible, unfortunately. Given how many examples there are of good Kickstarter videos, I’m always amazed at projects who don’t seem to put any effort at all (this video is just someone just doing a video moving around the clock, with no voiceover or explanation).
    This one ranges in price from $145 to $345, depending on how much of the assembly you’re willing to do yourself. Of course, there’s only a few days left on the project, and it’s sitting at only about a third of its $10,975 target, meaning it’s unlikely to get funded. There may be many reasons for that, but, again, not putting any effort into making a compelling a video can’t help. Too bad, as it looks like a cool project.

That’s it for this week…

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Comments on “Awesome Stuff: Nixie Tube And Oscilloscope Clocks”

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14 Comments
PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Kickstarter's mixed legacy

While Kickstarter is a great idea for niche items that would never be made via normal funding methods, Kickstarter has been a disaster for gaming. It’s turned into a way for game developers to generate income without any risk (or apparently, without completing an actual game). It’s led directly to the “early access” phenomenon of games being released in early alpha form. As far as I can tell, the number of “early access” games that have actually been completed and are available as finished, professional games is very tiny compared to the number of Kickstarted game projects.

Worse, it’s induced professional game developers and even some pretty big companies to go the Kickstarter route, which is kind of insulting, especially considering they rarely result in an actual game.

I don’t have a problem with people asking for charity, but if you want my money so you can manufacture something, you should be prepared to sell me stock and include me in the profits. If you want people to donate so you can make something, by all means go ahead. But it’s the risk that appears to be a necessity to quality consumer products.

2013 was one of the worst years for video games, despite the release of two next-gen consoles and computer hardware being more powerful than ever. I attribute the lack of great games in part to the Kickstarter effect.

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