Enclosure design

A project log for Nixie Tap

Minimal USB powered Nixie display and IoT button

mladenmladen 10/04/2017 at 18:572 Comments

Device design will be as simple as possible, so that it can fit any environment: work desk, coffee shop, or library. This means no backlight LEDs, no huge logo, only streamlined material shapes.

So, we need:

- "raw" materials  

- streamlined design

- manufacturable design 

This log is work in progress.

Prototype 1

The starting idea was to use aluminium and wood, and after short brainstorming this came out:

Natural materials are present, but enclosure is not smooth, and manufacturing is complicated, due to two materials. At the same time, top aluminium plate looks like it's missing something, a CNC marking, which further complicates the manufacturing. 

Prototype 1.1

Frustrated by the previous combination of materials, I moved on to a single wood (or Aluminium) block:

Now everything is smooth, manufacturing is simpler. Enclosure can be painted glossy black, or manufactured in a nice wood, such as mahagony, which would give it that nice "Rolls-Royce dashboard" look.

Before plunging in to CNC wood milling, I decided to manufacture this prototype on a 3d printer in a local service in Serbia. After a short wait, it arrived: This prototype illustrated why you should always prototype before production.

It appears that Nixie cutouts are too big, which means that the whole device can be scaled down a little. Also what became apparent after playing around is that the device itself looks way nicer when tubes are recessed:

On the rear side, I planned to have a cover plate, made from FR4 or Aluminium. This cover plate is attached to the enclosure via two screws, one for left and one for right side:

Time to move to Prototype 1.2 version.


davedarko wrote 10/13/2017 at 19:20 point

this looks like it's been printed on a Zortrax machine - with a small heatgun or hot air soldering station you can (carefully) "recolor" the whitened plastic.

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mladen wrote 10/15/2017 at 16:11 point

Good guess, I didn't ask which one it was, but this company does have an M300.

Thanks for the tip, this was a disposable prototype :) Next one is printed on a Stratasys 1200ES. 

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