I think it might be interesting to write down all the info about my participation in the When Prague Meets Shanghai contest as it eventually became one of the milestones in my fight for resurrecting the nixie tubes manufacture.
Do You count yourself as a nixie tube enthusiast?
Would You like to become a part of nixie tube’s rebirth?
I worked really really hard past two years, on full time basis, putting a small scale nixie tube manufacture together and I am almost ready now.. I designed first nixie clock with tubes made by myself and the only thing I need now is a handful of customers, crazy enough to rush in and help me with testing!
You are going to get:
– An amazing single-tube clock controlled via amplifier-like rotary knob, with geeky 3D printed case. The nixie tube has 50mm tall numbers and is made using the latest technologies (in nixie tube manufacture), incorporating helium leak testing for 100% vacuum tight seals, high vacuum pumping, pure gases, getter, a mercury dispenser for long-life. I put many hours of handwork into each tube.
– The electronics itself based on AVR AtMega328 mcu with Arduino, uses high quality parts for long life and efficience. It uses a highly precise DS3231 RTC chip for timekeeping. The clock will be delivered as a kit with a comprehensive manual, You will enjoy a lot of fun with assembling the case and soldering the boards!
– The funcionality is only as a clock, no alarm is present. However, the clock functionality is tuned, You can choose from various options of displaying the time (fading, flipping)..
– Each clock and tube has its own serial number, first customer gets #1, the second gets #2…
– 10 years warranty for both electronics and the nixie tube – one of the rules I based my work on is long life span, even if it means extra time and extra money spent for me.
The estimated date of shipping of that test-batch is in the middle of June 2014.
You are going to give:
– A reduced price, including economy shipping (10-20 days). Shipping via UPS Express Saver (2-3 days) would cost $15 more (only for US, CA available now). 30% to be paid now, the rest just before shipping, PayPal welcome. The prepayment is due by 31 May. Orders to be placed via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone +420 724 321 571, comment under the post or Facebook message.
– And your feedback of course 😉
As You can see, I present only brief information, I want to keep all the photos/details/clock name for the real product launch, once it is ready and tested by You! Isn’t that going to be a great surprise package? 😉
I currently build a getter flasher according to Ron Soyland‘s design (he will publish it on his site soon). There is a few photos from the building process:
Soooo.. After six weeks of intensive development, I am posting first photo of finished ShanghaiTime clock. As I already wrote, I designed this clock for a glass-art contest “When Prague Meets Shanghai” arranged by a czech company producing high-end glass chandeliers called Preciosa. I plan to write more, attach some photos of the innards, electronics etc., this blogpost is just about to share my excitement from how great it turned out to be on a photo!
The ShanghaiTime clock, photo: janskrasek.com
I am working hard on a clocks for a contest called “When Prague Meets Shanghai” (more about contest here: WPMS). This is a first oportunity how to present working tubes in a real product.
I experienced big success today. I sealed first really working nixie tube (or nixie retort ;-). I surprisingly didn’t forget to do any individual step in the making process and ended up with a tube that by far exceeded my expectations.
I tested the tube carefully on the helium leak detector several times, I also checked all the vacuum system, gass filling manifold and gas connectors. I found one small leak on the teflon washer on one of the needle valves (for neon filling) – repaired – and one on the connector to neon bottle – placed a new o-ring. I pumped down all the vacuum system for several hours, gass filling manifold included. I then rinsed both gas branches with gases to get rid of remaining air, closed both needle valves and made a overpressure in those branches so that no air would get in. It turned up that this step was critical for gas purity.
The tube was baked out to 410C (then it broke down, should go to 480C) and then it was filled with neon and argon (5×10-2 torr of argon accorging to thermocouple – very inaccurate value).
Number “0” is not working as the wire sticking out of the tube broke off 🙁 Also the stainless steel assembly inside is attacked by something that made it “rust” 🙁 I don’t know what.. The tube has so strange shape because I didnt have a tubing of so large diameter, so I had to blow it from smaller one..
The most important thing is that I achieved values of striking voltage that are almost like industry made tubes! That is the most important thing for me!
1 – 139V
2 – 136V
3 – 141V
4 – 140V
5 – 131V
6 – 149V
7 – 126V
8 – 124V
9 – 136V
Finally, the shed is finished and I can start moving all the equipment that I gathered in recent two years there. Building of the shed was the major job during last 5 months, I didnt have much time for real nixie tube research, but that changes! I made the glassblowing stuff working today – torches, propane-butan bottle, oxy concentrators, manifold and so.. I also moved some of the stuff here, it is waiting to be sorted out..