Bad Dog Designs - a brief History

If you're here then you may be deciding to commission a clock, or just a little curious as to who or what Bad Dog Designs is all about - so here is a little bit about myself, what I do and how Bad Dog Designs came into being. At the time of writing this, I'm in my mid 40's going somewhat grey and wondering a little what to say! I have always been, since a child the sort that will take things apart to see how they work, and then put them back together - sometimes even in the right order. Fascinated with electronics, I remember my parents stopped buying me toys and instead my father took me to the local scrapyard and I would come home with a car full of old radios and TV's and god knows what to dismantle and fiddle with.

My career started as an apprentice at an electronics company, here I gained experience and my electronics qualifications through to HND back in the day. I then moved into some R&D work with embedded micros, and then ended up as a commissioning engineer taking me all over the world commissioning communication equipment. After I got tired of that, I ended up in management, looking after a team of maintenance engineers. I started to miss the hands on, and didn't want to loose my skills so late 2014 I stumbled across a Nixie clock online, and I remembered the Nixie tubes from some of the equipment I used to dismantle as a boy. All the Nixie clocks I saw looked pretty similar, a circuit board in a clear plastic box with 4 or 6 tubes poking out of the top. I thought 'I can do that' so I decided to have a go. My fist thought was to get some Nixie tubes, so I found an old Advance Instruments counter that had 7 of the GN-4 Nixie tubes inside, and then got hold of a Nixie clock kit, and converted the counter into a clock.

The First Nixie clock that I made out of an old Advance Instruments frequency counter.

An early picture of the workshop, in the spare room at home - note the relatively undamaged desk!

My first Brass clock - I hadn't even discovered Steampunk back then.

I guess this little clock I called 'Ambrose' was the first wooden clock that I made.

It soon dawned on me that people liked these slightly different Nixie clocks, the first Advanced Instruments clock I put on eBay with a cheeky Buy it Now price of £250 and it sold in less than 4 hours! I then went on and found another 6 of the same Advance Instrument counters, and made them into 6 clocks. With each one sold, it allowed me to buy more tubes and bits of equipment to convert into clocks.

In addition to the old test equipment, I also enjoyed making clocks out of wooden boxes with some brass decoration. I did not realise at the time, but what I was doing was making things in the 'Steampunk' Genre, this fascinated me when I discovered a whole Steampunk world out there, so I gradually dropped off the Test instrument based clocks and focused more on the Steampunk ones - These proved even more popular than the test equipment ones as well!

As I enjoyed making the clocks in my own time, Karen and myself decided to set up as a business - my hobby may as well become a 2nd source of income as well as the day job! So one day we were walking Max, our Retriever and trying to decide on a name for the business. Max has this affinity for stinking muddy puddles, and true to form on this day he vanished into the trees and after much shouting and calling, he eventually returned - tail between legs and absoloutely fithly and stinking, it then came to us to use 'Bad Dog'

Max the Retriever, who Bad Dog Designs is named after, dont be fooled by the vacant expression!

The workshop is now a dedicated workshop with its own premisis. A lot bigger than the spare room at home.

Myself and Karen, with Theo Paphits when BDD won the #SBS Small Business Sunday award early 2016.

Probably one of the largest collections of vintage equipment in the UK and still growing..

Since late 2014, Bad Dog Designs has moved from a simple Sole trader business to now running as a VAT registed Ltd company in the UK. I am now part time at the day job and before the end of 2017 I will be just making clocks and following my passion. One of my best moments was winning the Merit award in the international Arts & Crafts design award 2016, I have never considered myself as an artist, of had any formal training in the field so I was delighted to be recognised as an independant Artist.

I love what I do, and enjoy trying to turn clients ideas into reality. I have a creative streak and I now have the opportunity to share it with whoever I make a clock for.

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