The supply of Nixie tubes from east European stock piles is still enough to keep their prices down. But once those start dwindling, prices will move north. Besides, if you want to use them, you need to work with high voltage supplies and worry about not getting zapped while trying to debug a circuit. [FilleK] had some time to spare and decided to build a cheaper substitute for a real nixie tube using a regular 7 segment LED display.
We have already seen this hack before, in the Arduino-based ENIGMA replica. But [FilleK] improved on that by adding an extra LED to simulate the radiant glow typical of Nixie tubes. His project log describes the fairly straightforward process using parts that can be found easily. A piece of plastic, painted in a shade of copper and fixed around the 7 segment display, acts as a nice baffle to contain and reflect the ambient glow of the back-light LED. A nice improvement would be to add a random flicker to the background LED. Maybe add an Octal socket (the decimal point had to be nixed though!), and cap it in a proper glass tube. If you’d rather work with the real McCoy, check out our archives.
15 thoughts on “Nixie Inspired 7 Segment Display”
Neat, but it’s just not the same. High voltage is part of the fun, and the warm glow of an old-school Nixie is heart-warming.
This is probably a bit safer for cosplaying though.
I like the edge-lit plexiglass ones, they more closely match the shape of the nixie digits. one in a casing like this would be pretty convincing.
Is this what you mean?
Being a nixie collector/hoarder/lover myself I must admin that these “fake-nixies” actually doesn’t look thad bad at all. They might even be acceptable in some situations with a less picky public. But it’s kinda hard to tell from photos, need to see them in real life….
Interesting! I think I would fake it with a vacuum formed “glass tube” – with some thin plastic. And yes, a little flicker would fool anyone that’s not a crazy person like most of us!
Watch who you are calling a crazy person. I’ve never tested positive for person….
Now just encase it in some clear tubing and there you go!
Printed PLA with that trick from an earlier HAD post to make it glass clear?
Id like to appologize, it turns out there is not a 1:1 model of a radio tube top on thingiverse, so I created one.
One of the big deals about nixies for me is the sense of depth. I think I’m off to play with some EL wire. Size will be kinda big, but what the hey.
also clever… curious to see it.
I think I might actually make a nixie 7 segment tube.
I always liked how the digits in the nixie tube moved forward and back as they count.
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