May|2019 – visiting Paul Parry, new lab, TV spot

Estimate reading time: 4 minutes

Meeting Paul Parry

Finally, after years of email communication, I had a chance to personally meet Paul Parry with his wife and see his workshop. As you probably know, Paul Parry creates nixie clocks and other devices under brand “Bad dog designs“. Among others, Paul is creator of the wonderful Bombe clock.

We spent many hours talking about the work and life in general, about life in Great Britain and Czech Republic. This was my first visit of Great Britain since high school and first visit with “local guide” – Paul had to answer many questions 🙂

We already meet a group of tech geeks, one of them Max – you could already read an article about nixie tubes from him.

Paul, thank you for being our host!

New electronics lab

At the beginning of May, we started reconstruction of our old, ugly and messy electronics lab into new, beautiful and well organized place. It is very time consuming process and time will tell whether it was good idea to even start with it. It is allocating lot of our resources (time, money) which could be spend on development of our product, but I believe it will pay off in log run. The situation now is that we often spend tens of minutes searching for electronics parts, often we need to order parts which I know we have, but we can’t find them. Organized lab should eliminate these problems (any many more) and also provide nice place to work and live at.

I shot many hours of video during the process, I am planning to make a video for our Youtube channel. This is another time consuming process, so it will take some time as well 🙂

Space Odyssey lab :-)
Space Odyssey lab 🙂

Edit: the video is finished

First part of burn-in machine completed

We (okay, Sebastian) finally completed first part of our new burn-in machine. It is column for 6 tubes, the whole machine will contain 5 such columns for 30 tubes altogether. The hardware is capable of monitoring electrical parameters during burn-in for each tube and sending them over internet to our cloud where our software (under development) will automatically sort out bad tubes or tubes which differs from standard parameters.

Sebastian giving a finishing touch to laser cut parts for the burn-in machine

Now we need to finish the remaining columns, the common hardware part and then software. There is still lot to do – burn-in routines, calibration routines, algorithms for identification of the bad tubes..

This is the ultimate quality control tool for our tubes. I believe there was no machine like this in the past to check consistency of nixie tube production.

Sebastian finishing first column for the burn-in machine
Sebastian finishing first column for the burn-in machine

Blub clock update

Development of the Blub clock continues well, we plan to send first orders in September. The sad thing is that we had to back-off from the project with MoMA. The plan was to make the Blub clocks available via MoMA design stores.

I was under pressure with solving the “fog problem” and the development of Blub clock was not running fast enough to meet MoMA’s time schedule – there would not be enough time for thorough testing. And I really want to make things 100%.

Stable team

We now have very stable team, which allows me to focus less on manual work or administrative and move more time to tools/product development and communication with customers/followers. Whenever one of the team members is missing, I can see it immediately. For example, Renata had a week long vacation in May – since first day, the amount of email communication, paperwork etc.. was overwhelming. There is now no way back to one-man show which it was few years ago. I must keep this in mind and always keep going, developing, inovating to be able to afford our great team.

We were aired in national TV

In May, we were shown in national TV for first time. One day I got an email from freelancer reporter working for Czech TV asking for possibility to shoot a short video for Gejzir – one of the programmes on the TV. Few weeks later they arrived.. I was expecting a TV crew with fancy cameras etc.. Instead, it was just two guys with DSLR, tripod slider and light. But it was apparently enough, they know what they were doing, all was quick and smooth and the result is great. We were pictured as an interesting small company, with exciting product – all in postive light.

The irony was that at the same time I was fighting with the “fog problem” – we had cash for only 4 weeks of normal operation left and I was clueless about the root cause of that problem. Eventually I figured the problem out and learned so much valuable information obout our own production process.. Details about the fog problem soon.

TV star was just born :-)
TV star was just born 🙂

I was also surprised how many people still watch regular TV – I am more video-on-demand person (I especially love Youtube). For many business partners, friends, relatives etc.. this video in TV was finally an affirmation of our success – that we finally made it. Just because it was said in national TV.. Crazy thing how media forms other people opinions..

Fun point at the end – I told ladies about the TV coming two days before shooting. I thought just to let them know so they are present at that day. However, my message caused a panic – I didn’t expect they need some time to arrange hairdresser, nails etc.. Lol, lesson learned 🙂

Link to the video:

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