More improvements coming!

A project log for Foxie Clock

Fully open-source RGB clock with nixie-like edge-lit acrylic digits. Or... an RGB pixel matrix display clock, if you like!

will-foxWill Fox 03/29/2020 at 16:420 Comments

Like everyone, I'm at home adjusting to this new normal.

I have had a list of things I wanted to improve some things for the Foxie Clock for some time now.

1. Digit assembly sucks. I'm sorry. It just does. Peeling paper off 60 pieces of plastic is the worst.

2. Digit thickness variance in the raw material has made the clocks less than perfect for some people. I'm sorry about this too. I tried to "fix" this as much as I could with the 3d-printed digit positioners, but they aren't the best fix possible.

3. Even though 3D printed cases are awesome, I also really enjoy woodworking and I wanted to see how I can combine woodworking, 3d printing, and laser cutting.

Let's tackle these one at a time. I've come up with a better design for cutting the digits that vastly improves assembly time by keeping them all attached as long as possible. It is possible to peel nearly all the plastic off the back of these in one shot, and due to improvements in the 0, 4, 6, 8, and 9, it is much easier to continue to peel up the plastic for these. In my experience, this reduces total digit peeling time by about 40 minutes, or more than 50%. One final change I will be making to this is to change the number order slightly to streamline assembly.

Second, digit thickness variance and rigidity of the assembled digits. One of the things I tried was a narrow strip across the top of the digits:

However, I really didn't like this for several reasons:

- It makes it much more difficult to read the digits off-axis (that is, not directly from the front), which is one of my favorite parts of the clock. It is also prone to clouding up the digits, which is completely unacceptable.
- It is a terrible idea to suggest super gluing at the top of the digits to people for assembly, due to badly clouding up the digits.

So, I tried the "digit positioner" idea between 2 sets of digits again, but with clear acrylic and gluing them at the base (FAR less prone to clouding up the digits), and it was MUCH better. Unfortunately my first attempt made the "teeth" between the digits far too long.

This made little bright rectangles at the bottom of every other digit when they're lit up! Not great. After further iteration and making the "teeth" much shorter, I came up with a design that holds the digits rigidly and doesn't add distracting rectangles. 

So, all future clocks will ship with new clear acrylic digit positioners that are meant to be glued in place with a drop of superglue at the base of each digit. This also has the affect of permanently placing the digits in the lid after assembly.

I also have decided to provide the option of pre-assembled sets of digits for the clocks for people that want to open the Foxing box and get Foxie as quickly as possible. That will be available in the near future.

Finally, let's look at some exotic wood! (snicker) In the previous picture, I'm sure it was noticed that this was a different case design...

Here is a close-up from the side:

This is leopardwood, and looks incredible in person. It has various reflective bits, imperfections, and a ton of character, even after careful sanding. Also, this was the very first one I assembled and glued, and it isn't perfect either :) I've improved my assembly skills and 3d-printed (of course!) jigs since this case was created.

I will be launching a new Wood Foxie Clock product line, using Solid Oak as the standard (but beautiful!) wood option. Cases made from exotic woods such as Leopardwood, Purpleheart, Padouk, and Wenge will also be available. These cases are for those that want to really want their clock to stand out. I'll also be offering custom laser engraving for your own message on the back of the case.

Lastly, as indicated in the log a few weeks ago, the mobile app. It runs on both iOS and Android (8+) and is close to being ready to launch. I'm holding off on it for a bit for some further polish, but intend to launch it around the time I start shipping again.

Thank you for reading and following this project!

P.S. Further down the road, how about a Mini Foxie Clock? Extra Large? Or a totally new Analog design, mixing edge lighting with traditional analog display?