Old Nixie Display Rides Again As 3D-Printer Filament Meter

We’re not sure about the name of this Nixie tube filament meter that [Scott M. Baker] built. He calls it a “filadometer”, perhaps a portmanteau of “filament” and “odometer”, in which case it makes sense. It may not flow trippingly from the tongue and we can’t come up with anything better, but whatever moniker you use it’s actually a pretty cool build.

The filadometer started life as something completely different and utterly typical for Nixie tube projects – a temperature and humidity gauge. [Scott] decided to recycle the eight-tube display to keep track of his Prusa, and in doing so he reveals a pretty remarkable degree of forethought in his design process. The original Nixie display has all the usual trappings – the driver chips, the shift registers, and the high voltage power supply. What stands out is the modularity of his design: the tube sockets and drivers live on a backplane PCB, with a Raspberry Pi and a separate HV supply board plugging into it. The original display had a Model B Pi, so there was plenty of room for a new Zero W. A new printed case and a little programming to capture the filament use from Octoprint is all it took to put this nifty little build back in action. The video below shows the details.

We’re always excited to see new videos from [Scott] because we learn so much from looking over his virtual shoulder. If you haven’t checked out his stuff, take a look at his homage to the 8″ floppy or his dual-port memory hack for retro gaming.

9 thoughts on “Old Nixie Display Rides Again As 3D-Printer Filament Meter

  1. Sigh. I’m getting old. Every time I see those Russian Nixies, I want to scream, “WHAT? Was it too much trouble to make separate dies for ‘2’ and ‘5’ ?????”

    1. Doesn’t really matter anyway. Every time I see nixies It think “We have so nice LED 7 segment displays in any color or RGB, why bothering with this mess of wire grids and 3 digit voltages.”

Leave a Reply to BrightBlueJim Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.