Look behind the scenes of nixie tube making

Introducing: ShanghaiTime nixie clock

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 […]

Facebook page established

I decided to establish a Facebook page for nixie making project. I plan to add there some random photos, snapshots and so.. I called it “DaliborFarny.com”, on that domain will be a static content and some products for sale I hope 😉 You are welcome here: Facebook page

Nixie clocks for a contest

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.

Another nixie tubes made

As I promised, I started making a sample tubes. I am now working on a project for one local contest, more later.. And I made two new tubes as a prototypes for that project. All three tubes, from oldest to newest.

Big progress: Lab Sample No.3

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 […]

Garden shed finished

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, […]

Metal parts for nixie tubes

I got a sample of etched parts today, the quality is absolutely outstanding! Sharp edges, no etched spots, no under-etched places. I cant wait to put it all together! Sorry for quality of the photos, all were made in a hurry, as usual 😉 Hexagonal anode grid

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Oxygen concentrator

I decided to switch to oxygen concentrators from liquid oxygen in tanks. The tank is empty really fast and getting a full one is bothering, time and money consuming 😉 So I bought a slightly used Oxymat 3 from eBay, it was sold as-is and I counted with some malfunction. This one is a new […]

Another update: digits for nixie tubes

It has been some time since my last blog post, don’t be afraid, I am still working on nixie tube project! Around 2-3 hours a day in average. I am building a shed on the garden where I will place all the workshop. I hope it will be finished in one month. I am also […]

Another failure of the leak detector

My leak detector suffered another defect. I was just doing some tests of the filling manifold while the filament was suddenly turned off and the needle of the vacuum gauge went out of the scale. After some time spent by looking for the problem, I found that the transformer is really hot, 110°C, that was […]

Should have been first nixie tube :-(

I decided to build a tube what would use the technologie like original nixie tubes. I made a mica sheets, used a glass spacers, build an enclosure for digits with grid.. I also made a new style stem with evacuation tube inside, just as experiment.. The tube could have a round top cap.. The tube […]

The oven for baking out the nixie tubes

I almost finished the oven for baking out nixie tubes.. I had to replace the heating element because the previous one melted 😀 The only thing I had to add is the fuse 😉 The oven will work up to 500°C, I plan to bake the tubes at temperature of 480°C. The limiting element is […]

First sample "nixie tube"

So, there is my first nixie tube. I was really eager to make anything sealed, so I didn’t pay much attention to details and lifetime of the tube. There are two (stainless steel) cathodes – “0” and “7”, a small piece of stainless steel sheet is used as the anode. Distance of the cathodes to […]

A Milestone: first neon glow!

Finally! I saw a neon glowing today, first time in my system! I filled the tube first on 1 torr with argon, then to 32 torr with neon, so the ratio is 1:31 = 97% neon and 3% argon. The glow doesn’t cover whole digit, the shape of electrodes is not perfectly parallel and there […]

Neon bottle connector

The last thing I had to make was a connector to neon bottle. This is a low pressure (12 bar) disposable aluminum bottle used in neon sign making. There is 7/16 UNEF thread, it uses the same standard as cans for camping stoves. I machined it from brass so I would be able to solder […]

Homemade vacuum needle valve

I have been looking for reliable vacuum needle valve for a long time. It should not be to expensive, it should allow me to control the flow fine and not cost much. I tried glass system, cheap valves from China and more, but I was not satisfied with any of these. But as usually, Ron […]

Baratron controller

The last part of the manifold was the pressure gauge, I had the 0-100 torr baratron, but no controller. The baratron needs supply of +15V and -15V. It gives linear output of 0-10V for 0-100 torr. So I build a simple power supply using two zener diodes (15V) and two 15Ω resistors. If You are […]