So my best friend got married and I needed a wedding gift. I’ve had this case of vintage IN-14 Nixie tubes in my closet for far too long, so this was a perfect opportunity to use them! I wanted to combine this old display technology into a clock along with a Glowforge created case. Even though it would mostly be created with the Glowforge, I really wanted it to look like it wasn’t created with a laser. Smooth curves, hidden joints, etc.
The design itself was inspired from the concept of two beings becoming one, which is reflected not only in the organic shape but also with the contrasting wood colors that make the top and the bottom.
Top: Walnut Hardwood and Maple Hardwood
Curved form: Draftboard living hinge
Curved wood: Oak veneer
Feet: Sign standoffs with draftboard spacers (laser cut edge was left as is)
Here is how the top and bottom were made, two pieces of walnut and maple. Finish was Danish oil. The top also has an inlaid maple accent:
Initial edge shaping done with an 1/8" round over bit. This was done a shaper, and I also created some draftboard blanks and taped them to the piece as a guide for the router. Then it was a lot of hand sanding to perfection.
I also created an interior draftboard form to wrap the living hinge around, before applying the veneer and clamping it all together. The veneer was dampened with a wet cloth before bending around the form.
As an electrical engineer, I had started designing the Nixie clock PCB myself, but realized my time was too short. I went with a nice board from PV Electronics in the UK. It was a few nights of hand soldering, but both kits worked the very first time.
The curved veneer side piece is totally captured with the maple outline. I did add two coats of wood glue to the inside of the living hinge for stability, but it probably was an unneeded step.
Mounted board with living hinge and veneer:
And a short video of the clock all powered up:
(and a shout out to my good buddy and master carpenter Tony for suggestions finishing the wood, how to use laminate, and for the shaper work)