Selling Nixie Clocks

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by magnet18, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. magnet18

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    Alright, I'm seriously considering seling nixie clocks, both kits and fully assembled, but I was wondering,
    1. Would anyone one here be willing to buy one, and,
    2. Whats yalls opinions on a good price?

    It's gonna cost about $150 to have 20 boards made, the only other large cost is the tubes and then the labor, (plexi glass, wood, painting, etc.)

    Thoughts?
     
  2. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I find these Vacuum Flourescent Display Tubes more aesthetically pleasing than the nixie tube displays. http://decadecounter.com/vta/tubepage.php?item=19

    That being said, if you offered a pre-made version of both, I wouldn't buy either one from you. No offense, I would just prefer to make it myself. I would maybe consider buying a kit from you, but would probably talk myself out of it because I'm cheap and could probably save money by getting all the parts myself. I anticipate that that's probably what most people on this forum would do. You may have more luck making them and selling/giving them to friends/family and let them advertise for you. That's what I did with my last hobby, knifemaking. I made a custom cleaning/skinning knife for my cousin for his birthday and he took it to the deer lease; next thing I know, I've got a bunch of his hunting buddies calling me offering to throw money at me.

    EDIT: oh yeah, about price. could I see your clock? maybe then I could better estimate. you need to figure how much it's going to cost you (both time and supplies) to make one and then see what the market is for them. if the 2 numbers are pretty close then consider seriously. you need to be able to pad that number. I see on google shopping they are selling for 150-400$ depending on fanciness. For handmade ones, with some artistic flare, you could probably ask more.
     
  3. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
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    About 10 to 15 years ago was the big nastalgic demand for nixie stuff. I made a small fortune making clocks and displays. The most popular were the clear plexglass cubes.
    Now only 2 or 3 requests a year for anything nixie but other than that....

    You may want to make a few for gifts and give them to select friends that have friends that may want to buy one to test the marketing waters.
     
  4. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    Not to rain on your parade, but,Nuts and Volts magazine sell a complete kit, including a cherry wood base for $150 to subscribers or $160 for non-subscribers(plus shipping). They have an advantage also in an already world wide advertising base that you will have to overcome.
     
  5. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    Sell your self,which due to this Forum you have a head start.
    You are on a forward tract,there are members waiting to offer
    you a job or back you. I don't give often give advise,stay a steady course.
     
  6. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I wouldn't worry too much about competition. I suspect the market is big enough to support two quality projects, it isn't like they have a monopoly on the parts.
     
  7. TBayBoy

    Member

    May 25, 2011
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    One way to go, is to build 2 or 3 and try to sell them at local craft fairs, that should help determine a potential market, as well as provide some income you could plow back into enlarging your stock.

    If they don't sell, you have your answer and a few really cool gifts to give away.
     
  8. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    As part of your market research Magnet, visit ebay and type in nixie tube clock.

    There are your competitors in addition to the one advertised in Nuts and Volts.

    Your product should be competitively priced yet better in all aspects of what you see during your market research.

    Of course there's the Flea Market route ... and should you pursue that for profit, keep good records for your tax professional. Either way, I'd get the free Quickbooks to track all my stuff .... income, expenses in pursuit of income, et al.
     
  9. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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  10. magnet18

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    I'm not too worried about taxes or competition, I only aim to sell a few to make some money back, and I know most people on here would just build there own, but there are plenty of people (like my dad) that would prefer a kit. (he has plenty of knife kits)

    I don't have any pictures of it, because I don't have one complete (still working on the PCB), but I'm going to make it look good and be unique. (hammered paint, plexiglass, vintage test equipment knobs)
     
  11. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    That's good. There are still some people out there who appreciate hand craft and one-offs.
     
  12. magnet18

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    That's what I'm banking on.
    If there are at least 20 of those people out there, I will be happy to have made my money back and then some, and will put it towards a new variac or something, and move on.

    And if I get flooded with too many requests, I might just set up shop and start cranking them out. Never hurts to be optimistic.

    And, like T Bay Boy said, if no one buys any, I have some nice gifts to give out.

    Plan of action-
    1. Finish pcb
    2. go over pcb approximately 9000 times with a fine toothed comb
    3. dust off excel
    4. order N pcb's, along with all the tubes and components that would be necessary to make N clocks
    5. make a clock
    6. post clock to see what you think of how it looks
    7. probably modify design
    8. $$$

    sound feasible?
     
  13. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    #4 & #7 seem to conflict with eachother, but other than that sure, sounds reasonable. If it were my list it would go like this:
    1. Finish pcb
    2. go over pcb approximately 9000 times with a fine toothed comb
    3. make 2 or 3 PCBs at home
    4. order all the tubes and components that would be necessary to make 2 or 3 clocks
    5. make 2 or 3 clocks
    6. post clock(s) to see what you think of how it looks
    7. probably modify design (and then go back through steps 1-6 with the new design)
    8. try to sell the 2 or 3 clocks and see how much money is in it before I proceed
    9. if the clocks sell good, then use the proceeds to order N pcb's, along with all the tubes and components that would be necessary to make N clocks
    10. make N clocks
    11. $$$
     
  14. magnet18

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    By number 7 I meant the physical case design, not the circuitry design.

    Also, I made the mistake of using expressPCB, which is a lockout when it comes to getting gerber files, they only give them to you if you pay an overly large amount for them, so basically they make it unreasonable to go to another board-house. They also charge 100 ish dollars for the first board, making a small run prototype highly unprofitable.

    Should I just re-do my board in eagle-pcb?
     
  15. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I would man. I spent about a week or so learning eagle and PCB making (toner transfer, ferric etch), and it's worth the experience. It might actually get you your PCBs faster than if you have them made.

    EDIT: I neglected to mention that in that week, I learned how to make crappy PCBs. I suck at it. which is also a good thing to learn (things that you suck at)
     
  16. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I find laying them out is the hard work. If you have them laid out, I would consider asking a vendor if a .gif file would work. If they won't accept it you can still re-lay it out, and it will be much, much easier the second time round.
     
  17. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    Stantor has the plan. Don't buy more parts than your prototype and a couple to sell.

    I wish you luck in your endeavor.
     
  18. debjit625

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2010
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    If you are making 2 or 3 of them ,why don't you do the PCB stuff at home.Not only in this project but in future also you have to make PCBs for prototypes, so I think its wise enough to spend some money on PCB stuffs.
    I myself is an Eagal user but I don't use gerber files as I make my PCBs at home(at least till now).Just print them and use photographic method.
    ExpressPCB is also very very easy to do to PBC Layouts.

    And good luck about selling of your Nixie Clocks.
     
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