Customers often ask questions related to lifespan and reliability of our nixie tubes. We recently made a tube with serial number #3000, I think we now have representative sample of tubes to make some nice statistics. In following months, I will write several articles covering all the problematics.
Recent 6 months were pretty busy, we now make much faster progress in development of our little nixie tube factory than anytime ever.
This blogpost is a summary of our successes and also problems we face to. Let’s take a look what’s been going on here:
Zen Nixie Clock
The Zen Nixie Clock is what has been making us really busy. Since summer 2016, we’ve shipped over 100 clocks and have received great feedback from customers. Apart from nixie tubes themselves, customers like minimalistic design and also electronic features of our clock (internet connectivity with automatic time synchronization, clock settings accessible from website, easy online update with new firmware etc..) and level of craftmanship. The Zen clock is now our main product and project which pays the bills.
Zen clock was also a complex lesson regarding to understanding of who is our customer, motivation to get the clock and most important – customer’s expectations! All these information are invaluable for our future creations.
We now ship 1-4 clocks every week, in a bit unpredictable pace. With 18 suppliers involved (just the clock, not counting the tubes!), issues (and delays) appears regularly.
We now have 34 orders for Zen clocks. We were shipping at lower pace than orders were coming, so I decided to stop taking new orders to catch up. I expect to finish all these orders in 3 months, then I would like to open orders again – stay tuned (http://www.daliborfarny.com/newsletter/)!
Year 2017 is here, right time to review year 2016. Year 2016 was about transformation from one-man-show to small company. And because business is about numbers, I decided I will share them with you. Maybe business people among you will have some notes to my decisions 😉
One year ago, I set myself a goal to arrange things in the company so that I can hire an employee to help me with the manual routine works on nixie tubes. I was working alone, with Karel, a pensioner, for small ad-hoc jobs. My wife Eva was helping me with administrative tasks (accounting, all the bureaucracy, etc..). And I urgently needed a help. This new employee should have been someone who would step by step learn all the processes of cleaning and assembly of inner tube parts and would become a regular employee in long term perspective. During first months of 2016, we had approximately $5.000 monthly stable turnover, IMHO right time to hire first employee.
After some time, we found a skillful lady (Monika) for half-time job, she had experience with soldering and similar jobs. I offered a bit higher salary than common for manual job of this character. She was first employee and the last thing I would need is to lose her after training because someone else offered 20% more (economy is growing fast here, unemployment very low). In two months, she learned lot of operations from the nixie tube manufacture. The beginnings were tough, I was learning how to train, prepare the work, check the results and what to do when you run out of parts for assembly 😉 After few months, Monika was eventually able to work almost independently on me. I finally found this whole process worth all the struggle, I could start with new project – Zen Nixie Clock.
Middle of September is here – expected time of shipment of the Zen Nixie Clocks, let’s take a look at what is ready and what we are waiting for.
New updates regarding the Zen Nixie clock are here!
Aluminum parts surface finish
I just received first small batch of tube bases from Adruu, Netherlands based company specialised in surface treatments of aluminum parts. The results is amazing – uniform surface, very nice satin texture. The bases are bead blasted first, then bright dipped and eventually anodized to final color. Special thanks to Adruu’s commercial director Joran van Bussel for very very kind attitude in whole process of this order!
The bases will be available in Silver, Champagne gold and black finish. Case aluminum stand, nixie tube bases and colon tube bases will have the same matching finish.
The Zen nixie clock is successfully evolving, right time to share the current phase in a post!
The case is designed in a minimalistic way to emphasize the nixie tubes themselves. The overal shape of the case and surface finish of the parts will fit every interior. The stand is made of aluminum, it sits on 8mm tall rubber feet. The cover is made of glass and protects the tubes against possible damage and also keep away dust.
It has been almost two years since my last post on the blog. In 2014, I decided to switch to Facebook and add only short posts with photos. Facebook is great platform for sharing short posts and interact with people, but I found I miss writing more detailed posts. We are now working on several interesting projects which deserves to be described more in details, so I decided to revive the blog. Of course, I will not make posts daily, but it will definitely be more frequently than once per year 😉 Every post will be share on Facebook, so if you follow us on FB, you will not miss anything.
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I was working on electronic part of pirani gauge a few weeks, so there were no new posts.. I moved the system from breadboard to the plastic box, added display and microprocessor. Measurement and control of the display is based on arduino.
I am not going to describe the function of pirani gauge, there is a lot of information on the web. All the electronic system is taken from this pages, I only added a pull-up resistor for wheatstone bridge, because after turning it on, the voltage on bridge stayed on 0 – both branches were equal, so now the static branch is slightly (xM ohm resistor) pulled up. I also added a atmega, low-pass filter on voltage reference, display..
Range of the gauge is from 3.3V (maximal voltage, atmospheric pressure) to somewhere around 0V. It is not calibrated yet.
Pirani gauge unit, on/off led, switch. The knob on the right is used to balance the output voltage to 3.3V – compensation of temperature and atmospheric pressure differences. The pirani gauge itself is in front of the box.
Back view, supply port on the left, pirani sensor port on the right.
I am going to place a PCB and scheme here..