View Full Version : NEW MEMBER: Hello CNC World!

03-01-2018, 11:51 AM
Greetings from a total Newbie.
My interests (addictions) are electronics and specifically the construction of clocks using obsolete technology such as Nixie Tubes.
I want to build cases for my clocks and my main idea is to cut them out from suitably sized blocks of wood using a CNC router.
A couple of weeks ago I got a small machine (3040) and am just starting to play with it.
I have a small (3040!) machine connected to a PC. I am using USBCNC to drive it and I am building gCode using something called 'SimpleCNC' which seems to allow me to do exactly what I want without having to come to terms with 3D modelling applications (which I have tried and failed with!).
My ideas are simple, I know what I want to achieve and I believe I have the right tools to do it.
My initial query will be all about bits, spindle and feed speeds (I expect this is a common one) so I will make sure I head over to what might be the right section and post my query.
I look forward to sharing my progress with you all (however small it is!).
Thank you.

john swift
03-01-2018, 09:25 PM
Hi scalesr1

welcome to the collective !!!!

which 3040 machine do you have ?
different manufactures use a variety of electronics
some good others you upgrade / replace very soon

2D and 3D modeling is something I need to get to grips with !

new Nixie clock designs have the advantage of having anti cathode poisoning routines built in to the microprocessor firmware the old TTL designs didn't have


04-01-2018, 04:34 AM

This is the one that I have 23536

At the time there was some suggestion that the 'black box' of electronics was in some way superior to the other 'blue box' variants so that is what I got. It came with a USB to parallel converter cable and all seems to work just fine.

I can see the shortcomings of such a relatively small machine: No limit switches, limited Z plane travel. I can see that it would be nicer to have a bigger and more powerful motor but for what I actually want to do it seems just fine.

I am still unsure about feed speeds so I am experimenting with those. I am now waiting for a 'down cut' but to arrive so I can see how that reduces the surface tear when I am carving holes in soft wood (before I even attempt to move on to harder woods!).

I have been addicted to Nixie tubes now for over a year. As you say, you can do a lot more with a microprocessor than you could with TTL though there still those that like to design things from first principals (I am not one of those, I even use micros just to control the additional LED lighting for my clocks!).

Kind regards

04-01-2018, 07:27 AM
Welcome. There'll be plenty more shortcomings, but that's part of the joy of hobbying - understanding what you have and how to best work around it. Playing with soft/hardwoods you might get more out of the machine than some others - so will be interested to hear how you get on. I'd also be interested in your enclosures - I've been tempted to knock up a nixie clock myself, though I lack a creative side to make a decent enclosure.

04-01-2018, 10:36 AM
Nixie Clocks - I am a total addict - ask me anything about them at any time - very pleased to assist.
Kind regards

04-01-2018, 10:42 AM
Ever seen the Dalibour Farny YouTube video,


Pure nixie porn.

06-01-2018, 04:59 PM
So much so that I am now the owner of some of his tubes!
That video though is amazing, I knew when I saw it that I wanted a set!
Pure Nixie porn indeed.

07-01-2018, 03:36 AM
Having spent most of my working life surrounded by high power valve-based wireless transmitters it is great to see such craftsmanship being revived. Reminds me of a visit to the English Electric Valve Company (EEV) works in Guildford nearly 30 years ago.

If you decide to use your router for making a different kind of clock, here's one I made earlier...