About Us

Our Story

How we got started

At the start of the pandemic I came across nixie tubes and nixie clocks as part of an instructables email.   I was instantly hooked:  how could I have not ever seen something this cool - and how was it already bygone technology?

I had taken some microprocessor classes back in college and always loved writing low-level code.  However I knew nothing about designing circuit boards, 3D printing, writing modern embedded code - or anything really.  So I started reading about everything I didn't know - and reached out to some Ukraine folks on Ebay that were selling them (and waited for them to come....). In the meantime I purchased an 'Arduino starter kit' off of Amazon and started playing around.

September 2020: The First signs of life 

I purchased a 200V power supply and hooked up my first nixie tube.  I had been doing coding all summer on Arduinos - so was ready to start the design of a Nixie Tube clock.

October-December 2020: It's getting more complicated

See if I could use a shift register to output the codes I needed into the classic K155ID1 driver chips that would allow me to programmatically make the nixies display the correct digits.

Which then got more and more complicated....

and added a display, a clock battery, buttons, buzzer, all all sorts of programming to display on the nixies various things like the date and time.  I also added an ESP32 chip (an amazing little guy that can host and serve web data and wifi)

Jan-Feb: Failed Designs

I started learning eagle (which is a free digital circuit design program) sometime that fall and had boards printed - most of them wrong (and also 200V when you touch it gives a rather startling shock)

March 2020-March 2021: More iterations

Lots of failures, iterations (stacked vs flat board designs), and web programming.  Also getting the arduino to talk to the esp32 web server to send and receive commands ensued.

April-November 2021: Its coming together

I had learned a lot and was moving faster and with more confidence - my boards also started to come together.


At some point I dropped the buttons and LCD screen and moved everything to the web admin (mostly because I was experimenting with building the boxes/enclosure and knew next to nothing about woodworking - making the LCD panel and buttons fit nicely into a wooden box with everything else going on was out of my depth).  The extra hardware was also unnecessary since I was building a web interface to control the clock.

December 2021-April 2022: Boxes, materials and the enclosure

I bought a 3D printer to help with possibly printing out the boxes to house the units in (also made some basic boxes on a tablesaw).   After learning blender and doing various prototypes was able to figure out clearances and how the hardware would fit into an enclosure.  They looked pretty horrible.

and then started working on a hybrid between wood and other materials using the 3D printer as a way to fast-track sizing and fit.

Also worked on learning how to route the wooden supports to accept a top and bottom.


April 2022 - December 2022: Polishing

Spent the remainder of 2022 fixing programming issues, working with different. materials for top and bottom (including paint and colors).  Also, for the big clocks - they run better at 200V (brighter, less blue spots) however with the K155ID1s they 'ghost' and have a glow even when turned off - so had to rewrite the display routines to cut the voltage vs just turn the lamps off.  There was also a bug where the clock would crash due to memory issues.  As of December - we are ready to start selling a finished product.

Thanks so much for reading about our journey.