2012(31)

Look behind the scenes of nixie tube making

The oven update

I am waiting for some stuff to come from US before I can continue building the inert gas manifold.. So I brushed up the parts of the oven for baking the tubes and made some progress on it. I found some Promasil fire-resistant boards in a local shop in 50% sale, perharps Christmas sale ๐Ÿ˜‰ […]

Finally moved..

I have been moving to new house recently, November was really busy month, almost no time for nixie research.. But there are also good news, I have more free room in the new house and big garden, where I plan a shack for nixie related activities (metal lathe and some other noisy and dirty tooling).. […]

Some other photos of the lathe..

The chuck is now mounted on the spindle, also the worm gears are now ready.. I wait for the jaws to be cut on the laser..

Another photos..

I have almost no time to spend on nixies recently (moving to new house, newborn twins..), so there are some photos of my previous work.. It is mostly preparing of tools for work in the future.. A glassworking torch, oxy-gas..

Some progress

Altough I haven’t written any post recently, I am spending almost all my free time on the nixie tubes making (or better – trying to make ๐Ÿ™‚ ). ย I am quite busy these days, mostly because of newborn twins ;-).. I built new spot welder (a tranformer based one) with a pincher and a stem […]

Helium leak detector running!

At the beginning – I would like to thank to Ron Soyland, I would not be able to get it work without his great help (hundreds of emails) and his extensive knowlege. Thank You Ron! When I bought the machine, I thought I will just google and download a manual for it. But it eventually […]

Spectrometer unit

I am step by step disassembling all the helium leak detector I bought recently. There are several things to do.. cleaning the flanges, replacing the o-ring, checking the oil in pumps.. Ron Soyland mentioned that he disassembled also the spectrometer unit to check the filament state, so I decided to do so as well. The […]

Stainless steel etching

I tried to etch a stainless steel today.. I used a mixture of hydrochloric acid (HCl), water and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The peroxide acts here as a catalysator, so when the solution stop etching, just add few mls of it and it start again (as long as there is still some HCl in it..). First […]

Helium leak detector (Alcatel ASM 51)

I accidentally skipped several levels in my research and bought a helium leak detector. It was located in France so I had to ask seller to arrange a shipment to Czech republic and.. it arrived yesterday! It is Alcatel ASM 51, 30 years old machine, but if it is working it will be much mightier […]

Stainless steel foil finally arrived

I finnaly got a stainless steel foil (316 type) I orded a few months ago from US. I don’t understand why such a primitive thing is impossible to get (or just find) in EU ๐Ÿ™ The thickness of it is 0.1mm, I was afraid it would be too thin, but it exactly what I need. […]

Some tubes to scavenge..

I got some old non-working tubes to disassemble as Ron Soyland does. There are some nice pieces of material that are I could hardly find else as a molybdenum sheets, nickel sheets and pipes, getters, tungsten electrodes.. It is also nice stuff to study for possible working techniques.

Induction heater

I will try to make an induction heater from common induction cooker. Ron Soyland have already warned me that it will perhaps be impossible due to too low frequency of the induction cookers (60khz, needed is several hundred khz). I will try anyway, it would be so easy to just replace the coil that it […]

Butt welding (lead-in-wires)

I used to spot weld wires for electrodes by placing them across and weld. That works but doesn’t look well and I think it makes strain in the glass when sealed (more steel wire in glass, different thermal expansions). I decided to make a simple jig from some aluminum junk so that I will be […]

custom stems: first attempt

The most difficult part of the tube will be definitely stems. More than 10 pins must go through, all vacuum tight of course, on small area. I have some ideas about how to do it properly, but the set up will be pretty complex. Furnace with inert atmosphere, high temperature (around 1000ยบC), some kind of […]

Sealed argon tubes

I spent last two weeks by making completely standalone argon tubes. I wanted to learn how to make a vacuum-tight feedthroughs and try to tip off the tube from filling system. I prepared a simple manifold for filling with argon, what turned out to be leaky, but I didn’t go for super purity gas and […]

Glassworking lathe, part II

I was struggling with a glassworking lathe recently.. All went well, until I tried to start the motor ๐Ÿ˜‰ My original shaft (inside the small bearings) connected to motor’s shaft was made from aluminium. But probably during pressing it into bearings and pulley, it bent slightly, so it became eccentric ๐Ÿ™ So the shaft was […]

HV Power supply

This PSU was made according to Lindsay’s PSU here: 40-400V, 20W power supply. I would like to thank for the writing of that great howto.

Glass working lathe

One of the most important tools for working with glass will be glassworking lathe. I decided to build one by myself, commercial solutions are too expensive or aren’t available.. It will consists of four ball bearings, two dc motors, one linear bearing, several aluminum profiles and some minor parts.. Synchronizing of the chucks will be […]

High-vacuum stopckocks

After some unsuccessful experiments with common (non-vacuum) stopckocs, valves, etc., I finally decided to use stopcocks designated for high vacuum. I found some on eBay for $25/piece. I applied a vacuum grease, set up an simple vacuum system with hoses and tried it. The stopcock is pretty vacuum tight, but there are still some other […]

Argon arrived

I’ve finally got an argon bottle, 1.3mยณ of pure argon (99.996%) pressed in 8l bottle. It is pretty heavy ๐Ÿ˜‰ The argon was chosen because it is has similar features to neon, but is much cheaper and – the most important – it is available.. This image comes from Wikipedia. The argon compared to neon […]

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 […]

First experiments with cathode glow!

I have successfully done my first experiments with vacuum and gas discharge.. It was quite simple, the vacuum pump is much powerful I expected.. I work only with air, I have no noble gas available yet.. There is a short video I made today. First, I turned on a HV power supply, then the pump […]

Vacuum setup

I planned to use a charging hoses with integrated valves to control provide and control the vacuum in all parts of system. But I found that the valves can’t hold the vacuum and let the air in ๐Ÿ™ So I cut the valves and currently I use only the hoses mounted on a glass tube.. […]

Vacuum pump running

I finally cleared the pump from mercury (at least what I found), placed new o-ring (what I destroyed myself) and refilled the original Ultragrade 19 oil. The pump is pretty silent (much more than I had expected), I am looking forward to test it.. Some photos..    

Spot (tack) welder

We can’t use a soldering inside the vacuum tube, the tin would melt during the heating of the tube because of the tin low melting point. Instead of that it is necessary to use a welding, probably the best solution is small spot welder, I choose a capacitive version. Large capacitor is charged on 16-20V […]

Borosilicate glass

As I mentioned before, I am going to use a borosilicate glass in combination with tungsten wire. This glass is used in labs for scientific glass blowing, so the first place where I started to look for that glass were e-shops with lab supplies. There ale lots of suppliers, but all want some minimum quantity […]

Vacuum pump

I bought a used Edwards E2M5 vacuum pump for $150. I had thought the vacuum pump would be the most expensive part of the system, what a luck to find a pump for that price.. The only problem here is that after unpacking the pump from the box, I found a few drops of mercury […]

Tungsten wire

I started searching for material by looking for tungsten wire.. I found several expensive offers on eBay, too much money for several inches of wire ๐Ÿ™ Then I wrote several wire manufacturers, there the price/length ratio was much better, but the minimal quantity I had to order was 10kg of wire ($1500) ๐Ÿ™ Finally, I […]

Vacuum gauge

For the rough measuring we can use a common manometer, for more exact measurement at lower pressures, it is necessary to use a gauge for high vacuum. As expected, such a thing is pretty expensive, so I look for some diy solution and I found ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is called Pirani gauge, it consists of one […]