Never one to pass up on a challenge, artisanal Nixie tube maker [Dalibor Farný] has been undertaking what he calls “Project H”, an enormous array of 121 Nixie tubes for an unnamed client. What’s so special about that? Did we mention that each Nixie is about the size of a sandwich plate?
Actually, we did, back in May when we first noted Project H in our weekly links roundup. At that time [Dalibor] had only just accepted the project, knowing that it would require inventing everything about these outsized Nixies from scratch. At 150 mm in diameter, these will be the largest Nixies ever made. The design of the tube is evocative of the old iconoscope tubes from early television history, or perhaps the CRT from an old oscilloscope.
Since May, [Dalibor] has done most of the design work and worked out the bugs in a lot of the internal components. But as the video below shows, he still has some way to go. Everything about his normal construction process had to be scaled up, so many steps, like the chemical treatment of the anode cup, are somewhat awkward. He also discovered that mounting holes in the cathodes were not the correct diameter, requiring some clench-worthy manual corrections. The work at the glassblower’s lathe was as nerve wracking as it was fascinating; every step of the build appears fraught with some kind of peril.
Sadly, this prototype failed to come together — a crack developed in the glass face of the tube. But ever the pro, [Dalibor] took it in stride and will learn from this attempt. Given that he’s reduced the art of the Nixie to practice, we’re confident these big tubes will come together eventually.
14 thoughts on “State Of The Art For Nixies Gets A Boost From Dalibor Farny’s Supersize Prototype”
You are a great fellow! And you have golden hands!
Everything will definitely work out! Success is near!
If you will allow me, I will advise you … To avoid deformation on the front side, you need to displace the joint. It seems more logical to me to combine a little lower.
This guy is a wizard. I´m waiting for the time he will unroll the first ever matrix Nixie displays :)
Something like VFD displays that mimic LCD character displays? Would there be a market for such a display? And these would be rather more expensive than even VFD ones…
All the best, Dalibor. Great work as always, pushing the boundary. You have faced these issues
and overcome them and am sure you will do so with this giant nixie too. It looks beautiful – look
forward to the final product.
Amazing craftsmanship, I couldn’t take my eyes off the video.
I was hoping he would put the whole assembly in a bell jar under vacuum and fire it up.
The digit electrodes look they can short with no support in the middle.
Yes, this is one of the lessons learned, we will need to change the design…
Can he not drop tube back to argon (thus preserving the expensive getters) in a glovebox then repair the glass with a conventional blower?
As kool as it is, Anyone else disappointed after watching a 22 min video and not even getting to see the thing fire up.
Cheer up! There are more prototypes to be build. And in summer 2023 we already need to have all 121 tubes installed and running anyway :-)
If you are disappointed, think about Dalibor and the enormous amount of effort which goes in
to replicate these vintage technologies – keep repeating experiments to get things right. Hence our
appreciation for the guy and what he has achieved.
Beautiful, but exorbitantly expensive compared to competing products.
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