Kit lets you build your own retro Nixie Tube Desk Clock
By Ben Coxworth
May 11, 2012
If you’re a fan of things retro and an electronics do-it-youselfer, this might might be just the thing for you – it’s a kit that lets you built your own clock, that displays the time using wonderfully outdated nixie tubes.
First of all, what are nixie tubes? They were once commonly used for electronic displays, and consist of a gas-filled glass tube, inside of which are nestled ten cathodes, each one formed into a different numeral from 0 to 9. Those cathodes are stacked one on top of the other, any one of which can be made to glow orange when voltage is applied to it. If the selected number is at the bottom of the stack, you can actually see it shining through its unlit bunkmates.
ThinkGeek’s DIY Nixie Tube Desk Clock is a kit that includes all the parts necessary for you to build a nixie tube clock of your own, including vintage unused tubes. It even includes a nice modern microprocessor, in a nod to the whole old-meets-new thing. The kit does require the user to do some soldering, however, plus some basic knowledge of electronics would also likely come in handy.
For people who like the aesthetic but would prefer not to do-it-themselves, ready-made nixie tube clocks are available as oddities from various sources.
The kit is priced at US$149.99.