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Thread: Nixie tube clock... or is it?

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    Default Nixie tube clock... or is it?

    Been thinking of building a nixie tube clock, but both the high cost of desirable IN14 / IN18 / Z568 tubes and the limited lifespan has put me off.
    And then I came across this eBay listing. It looks very convincing, but of course photos can be deceiving. With "RGB" in the title, I expected mini OLED displays to simulate a nixie tube display, but this looks like it has some genuine 'depth' to the display.

    Can anyone shed some light on how these modern look-alike 'tubes' look so much like the real thing? Or is it sleight of hand with the photos?



Look Here ->
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    Each 'tube' contains 10 rectangular pieces of clear acrylic plastic, with the numerals 0 thru 9 laser etched on each piece. The acrylic plastic used is chosen for it's ability to be 'edge lit'.

    There are RGB leds mounted on the PCB, at the bottom of each 'tube', aligned in such a way that when activated the light enters the edge of each plastic piece ~ the light travels up through the plastic, and highlights the laser cut numerals.

    To complete the 'illusion' they include some 'decorative' perforated stainless steel mesh over the sides of the piece, to give it that vacuum tube 'grid' look.

    You'll get a better understanding by looking at this (because the images show different colours, not just orange) ->

    In real life, they look nothing like 'nixie' tubes at all, but that's advertising for you ~ you can really only appreciate a nixie tube when you can look at it in 3D (and not the 2D plane of a photo)

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    The assembly manual shows it all clearly ->

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    This video should give you a better picture:
    This era of thoughtless consumption must end so we can encourage a world of creative geniuses rather than consumer idiots,
    while ensuring that we get don't get wiped out by our creations .


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    Russian nixies are usable and not that expensive, built a few projects with them.
    This era of thoughtless consumption must end so we can encourage a world of creative geniuses rather than consumer idiots,
    while ensuring that we get don't get wiped out by our creations .


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    i reckon they are cool. I remember seeing them on photocopiers years ago.

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    Yep, Very Cool.. added to my 'TO DO List'.

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    It appeals, but, seriously, I cannot justify having one, nor do I really have the space for any more "goodies".
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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    Gee, we just about throw out nixie tubes. I do try to save them or give them to people who appreciate them.
    I don't collect myself else I'd have hundreds of them. I kept a few spare but then I realised they're kind of stupid, big displays that have no useful purpose other than to look cool.
    So I've left the old school nixie behind and just use 7seg or some other modern display.

    If I really loved nixie tubes, I'd just get into making my own. It requires a bit of hardware, but if I was going to do it, I'd cut up a lot of old ordinary tubes and repurpose the glass and metal, then pump he bugger down, add the gas and pump i down again. Though I'd consider using different gases for some cool colours.

    But that's all talk. While i have a few pumps and access to gas manifolds etc, I'm frickin hopeless at blowing and welding glass and have crap mechanical skills.
    Yes I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.

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    I collect and have 'hundreds' of them but not the desired ones as mitaux seeks.
    Some are so tiny you can make a watch with them.
    No clue when that happens, too many other projects but they may end up in my revised low power flux capacitor circuit.
    Currently still figuring out what to do with the Neural Engine in my M1 chip, so that can take a while.
    Last edited by Uncle Fester; 03-06-21 at 09:02 PM.
    This era of thoughtless consumption must end so we can encourage a world of creative geniuses rather than consumer idiots,
    while ensuring that we get don't get wiped out by our creations .


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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Fester View Post
    I collect and have 'hundreds' of them but not the desired ones as mitaux seeks.
    Some are so tiny you can make a watch with them.
    No clue when that happens, too many other projects but they may end up in my revised low power flux capacitor circuit.
    Currently still figuring out what to do with the Neural Engine in my M1 chip, so that can take a while.
    Have you got a Delorean yet?
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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    There was a Delorean at the local car meet last weekend!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lsemmens View Post
    Have you got a Delorean yet?
    Like Nixies, the Delorean is cool but dated and there are times when you might have only little time to get to 88mph.
    Tesla S is the vehicle of choice these days + the time frame of travel will be very limited when you have to rely on petrol, which the Delorean has to rely on even with a built in fusion device.
    Yes I know there have been some attempts to electrify it but not so great performance.
    Last edited by Uncle Fester; 04-06-21 at 03:36 PM.
    This era of thoughtless consumption must end so we can encourage a world of creative geniuses rather than consumer idiots,
    while ensuring that we get don't get wiped out by our creations .


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    Here you go trash: a complete how-to on making your own nixie tube. Truly an art & science in equal measures.

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    Thanks for that video mitaux, It was fascinating!
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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    Quote Originally Posted by lsemmens View Post
    Thanks for that video mitaux, It was fascinating!
    +1

    Fascinating indeed.....and it shows what can be done with patience and some imaginative ingenuity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitaux8030 View Post
    Here you go trash: a complete how-to on making your own nixie tube. Truly an art & science in equal measures.
    There are other similar, extremely interesting videos by the same person on youtube, via the link you gave us, mitaux8030.

    Have a look.

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