VFD clock (ends the world)

We honestly thought [Jason's] VFD clock was some form of new terrorist attack when we came across the RSS. Thank goodness our relations with Russia aren’t as MAD as they used to be.

The main components are an IV-18 VFD with a MAX6921 driver, which to an untrained ear do sound surprisingly threatening. However an Arduino settles our hearts down and assures us this only has as much potential as blinking a VFD. While the main code, schematics, and CAD aren’t available (open source coming to a theater near you soon) at the moment – you can check out [Jason's] inspiration, the Ice Tube Clock, which runs many of the same components.

Enjoy a video of it in action after the break. We love the ‘countdown’ feature the most.

[via Make]

15 thoughts on “VFD clock (ends the world)

  1. ooh, nice! :)

    Didn’t know they made VFD displays in this format.

    Maybe use an old test tube and a display removed from a WEEE bin-condemned VCR?

    You can still get the VFD drive chips (UFD58something) from CPC last time I checked, or perhaps salvage some nixie drivers from a defunct calculator or ancient geiger counter (typically the tubes go bad not the drivers)

  2. Really good workmanship on this one. I immediately wanted to build one but then realized that those custom-cut parts must be a fortune!

  3. wow. that is a really nice build. he spent some time on the code as well to give it the feel of a real finished product. i’ve wanted to do something with a couple of those iv-18 tubes after i saw the ice clock. unfortunately, i don’t think i can top this one. really impressed with this project!

  4. The sheer awesomeness and truly fitting nature of this post title brings a tear to my eye, as the conceptual designer of the enclosure, and the Overlord of the Giant Pachinko Machine of Doom.

    Although if you’re looking for WMDs, I also wanted to build a prop Russian suitcase nuke using old Soviet nixie tube displays. :3

  5. the only way to top this is to build a mini nuclear reactor battery for it, so it makes nearby geiger counters go nuts :)
    anybody know what happens when you fire X-rays at Hafnium?

    (Hint: don’t try it at home.. or anywhere but a remote island or at least a desert nuclear test facility.)

  6. i saw the hafnium thing on the new knight rider.
    Kitt: “Even 1.5 grams of that could leave a 6 mile radius left exposed to radiation.”
    talking about bombarding hafnium with xrays.
    not sure how the real life research turned out though.

  7. Wow, i want! If they sold this i would buy it and take it when i travel. No Mr. TSA man no this isnt a bomb its only my clock. I swear let me plug it in. Noooooo and i get tackled.

  8. @tehgringe

    ebay… they’re chock full of them… its where i got my IN-12B tubes from. on failing that, try and find a good electronics surplus store, they might have some good parts. i got 8 tubes (i dont recall the designation) and their controller IC’s for all of $35, plus some other useful bits. not bad really

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