Assembly test No.2

I made some minor changes is the last nixie tube design and decided to get it etched from brass. It would be better to have it made from stainless steel, but the company I use for etching experience some problems with photo resist, so I decided to use a brass, only for this test. Brass is nice material, it is unfortunately impossible to use it in vacuum tubes. It relieves a zinc into vacuum during a bake out phase, the zinc then condensates on the colder glass envelope.. It is also too soft and numbers made from brass would sputter heavily.

This assembly should be fully working, the numbers are insulated by ceramic beads and the wire inside them is insulated by thin glass tube. There are no shorts. I plan to put it into vacuum chamber to test its behaviour, glow evenness, brightness, breakdown voltage and so..

The mica sheets were cut by scissors, I plan to make a circular cutting knife and use a press to produce nice and even circle..

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Heathaway glas lathe in the shop!

New addition to the workshop, Heathway glassblowing lathe. I got it on eBay and it took almost a month to arrange a trasport from UK here to Czech republic. But it finally came off and it is now sitting firmly on the concrete block for my future garden lab (masked as garden shed) 😀 This lathe was manufactured in 1968 in UK and served all its life in a university glassblowing lab. That lab was cancelled around 2012 and the equipment was sold out.

I am currently spending all my time building the shed so that I can accomodate all the stuff here. Once it is finished I will feed You with glowing wires continuously 😉

I plan to use that lathe for doing all the glasswork for nixie tubes..

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First nixie digits assembly

Hi all, the frequency of posting updates decreased significantly, but don’t be afraid, I am still working hard to produce real nixie tubes. I am building a garden shed now, I collected so many crazy stuff that I need more room again. I will post some photos of the garden shed later 😉

I am developing a layout for etching all the metal parts necessary for assembling a nixie tube, such as digits, anode grid and so. My plan is to make Z568M reproductions as I consider these tubes the most beatiful ones! I found that using a 0.1 mm thick stainless steel for all the parts is quite tricky, it is too thin and especially the anode tends to twist.. I will have to find a supplier of 0.3mm stainless steel sheet and I now this will be pretty hard here in Czech Republic.

There are some photos of the test assembly.. It turned out that I used wrong line thickness for the anode grid so it was etched out 🙁 There are also some other minor problems that will be fixed in next layout. The enclosure is pretty creased because I fold it in hand, I plan to use some bending tool for real production to achieve right angles and perfectly flat areas.

I would like to thank to etching company Etchworks.cz for their patience with me!

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Feel free to contact me.