Look behind the scenes of nixie tube making

Getter flasher building photos

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:

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, […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Test tube

Finally! Something more like a nixie tube 😉 I made a test tube what will be possible to pump and fill with gas and than isolate by a glass high vacuum valve. I will test with it right pressures, gas mixtures, electrode distances and many many more.. Pictures of glowing numbers will follow soon!

Leak detector update

I spent some time on the leak detector recently. There are two fans, AC 230V, one for the diffusion pump, one for cooling the electronic box. Both started to make loud noise, so I had to replace them. I was surprised that the new fans are absolutely identical to these original 30 (or how many) […]

Gas filling manifold

I started to build gas filling manifold, the previous solutions were not satisfactory 🙁 This manifold should have these features: all parts brazed together (by AlSi compound) kf-25 flange connection baratron connection evacuation tube connection valve for fine control of neon valve for fine control of argon valve for fine control of vacuum, when the […]

First chuck finally complete!

I have just finished first chuck for the glass lathe. The last part – worm holder – turned out to be much more easier than I had originally thought. I just drilled a hole into U holder cut (laser cut), cut a half of the hole and got a groove for the worm axis. All […]

A valve for filling the tubes with argon

The high pressure valves from eBay finally arrived yesterday. The seller dailyappliance2010, item number #290804664389. It is not intentionally a vacuum valve, but as Ron reffered, this valves should be leak tight, at least for the purpose of filling the tubes with gas.. I bought two brass adapters with hose nozzle on one side (hole […]

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 😉 […]

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..

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 […]