Someone sent in a tip that pointed us to this Magic: The Gathering forum thread where a user named [DistortedDesigns] made a life counter for Magic: The Gathering out of Nixie tubes. While there’s not many details for this build, it’s just too cool to be forgotten in a single forum.
The project began by etching some plexiglas. There’s some earlier examples of [DistortedDesigns]’ work that look very professional. The electronic are extremely simple – the 25 LEDs run off of 2 AA cells, and the nixies run off of 2 C cells. We were wondering when [DistortedDesigns] would drop the A-bomb, but it looks like this build doesn’t use a microcontroller.
The controls are back are toggle switches to power the LEDs and nixies. There are two knobs on the back, and from the write-up it’s pretty easy to infer that these are 10-position rotary switches. [DistortedDesigns] says, “the knobs in the back rotate around and supply power to each digit one at a time,” so with a transformer this seems like a very simple build.
It’s an excellent build that didn’t get enough attention when it’s author posted it. If you know of any under-appreciated builds, send it in send it in to our tip line.