2016: Year in review

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.

Zen Nixie Clock

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Zen Nixie clock – update #2

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.

Silver satin

Silver satin

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Zen nixie clock – development update

The Zen nixie clock is successfully evolving, right time to share the current phase in a post!

Display case

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.Zen nixie clock with case

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The blog is back!

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.

And you can also subscribe for our newsletter to be informed about the most important things! Subscribe here.

Electronics for pirani gauge

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..

Feel free to contact me.