For as many projects as we see using Nixie tubes in new and unusual ways, there’s a smaller but often very interesting cohort of displays that fit into the “Nixie-like” category. These are projects where something other than the discharge of noble gasses is being used to form characters. This scrolling phosphorescent single-character display is one such project, and we think it looks fabulous.
Following the *ixie naming convention characteristic of these builds, [StephenDeVos] dubbed this the “Glixie.” This is on par with the size of a [Dalibor Farny] handmade Nixie, but not so big to be unwieldy. The display modality is glow-in-the-dark film that rotates past a vertical string of UV LEDs, which light up in turn as the cylinder rotates, building up the dot-matrix character column by column. There’s some fading of the first column by the time the whole character is built up, but not enough to be objectionable. We like the whole build, with laser-cut wood and the brass and steel hardware. Check it out in the video below.
Building on [tuckershannon]’s previous work with glow-in-the-dark drawing, the brains inside this machine is a Raspberry Pi Zero. The laser itself is a 5mw, 405nm laser pointer with the button zip-tied down. Two 28BYJ-48 stepper motors are used to orient the laser, one for the rotation and another for the height angle. Each stepper motor is connected to a motor driver board and then wired directly to the Pi.
The base and arm that holds the laser were designed in SolidWorks and then 3d printed. The stepper motors are mounted perpendicular to one another and then the laser pointer mounted at the end. The batteries have been removed from the laser and the terminals are also wired directly to the raspberry pi. The Pi is then connected to Alexa via IFTTT so that it can be controlled by voice from anywhere.
Youtuber and rubber band enthusiast [JoergSprave] is a big fan of Star Wars, and he loved the look of the blaster that Han Solo gave to Rey. He’d seen a few replicas of Rey NN-14 gun, but hadn’t seen any that actually fired anything, so he set out to make one that did.
The build itself is from plywood, with a paint job to make it look like an old blaster. What makes the build really cool is the bullets used: glow sticks! [Joerg] created space in the magazine for three glow sticks, so you’ve got a couple of shots before you have to reload. Crack ’em, load them up and then fire away!
Terrestrial globes are almost a thing of the past in an era of Google Earth, but they can still be an exciting object worth hacking together, as [Ivan Miranda] shows with his glow-in-the-dark globe. It’s a globe, it’s a display, and it’s a great use of glow in the dark filament.
For the mechanical part of this build, [Miranda] used glow in the dark filament to 3D print a sphere and a reinforcing ring that hides inside. A threaded rod through the middle secured with screws and bearings make an appropriate spindle, and is attached to a stepper motor in the 3D printed stand. So far, it’s a sphere made of glowey plastic. Where’s the ‘globe’ part coming from?
To project a globe onto this sphere, [Miranda] used a strip of WS2812B LEDs stuck to the inside of the stand’s arc are programmed to selectively illuminate the globe as it rotates on its axis. After a brief hiccup with getting the proper power supply, he was ready to test out his new….. giant light ball.
It turns out, the filament was a bit more transparent than he was expecting so he had to pull it all apart and cover the interior with aluminium tape. [Miranda] also took the chance to clean up the wiring, code, and upgrade to a Teensy 3.1 before another test.
Despite the resulting continental projection being upside-down, it worked! [Miranda] added a USB cable before he closed it up again in case he wanted to reprogram it and display anynumber of imagesdown the line.
Looking for an eye-catching and unique way to display the time and date? Want the flexibility to add other critical information, like the number of YouTube subs you’ve got? Care to be able to read it from half a block away, at least at night? Then this scrolling glow-in-the-dark dot-matrix display could be right up your alley.
Building on his previous Morse code transcriber using a similar display, [Jan Derogee] took the concept and went big. The idea is to cover a PVC pipe with phosphorescent tape and rotate it past a row of 100 UV LEDs. The LEDs are turned on as the glow-in-the-dark surface passes over them, charging up a row of spots. The display is built up to two rows of 16 characters by the time it rotates into view, and the effect seems to last for quite a while. An ESP8266 takes care of driving the display and fetching NTP time and YouTube stats.
We’ve seen “persistence of phosphorescence” clocks before, but not as good looking and legible as this one. We like the approach, and we can’t help but think of other uses for glow-in-the-dark displays.
[cyborgworkshop]’s youngest sister is a fan of a character in a popular video game (Thresh from League of Legends) who wields an iconic lantern with a mystical green glow. He resolved to make a replica of that lantern. Perhaps as a gift for the cherished family member? Certainly not! [cyborgworkshop]’s goal was the simple joy of having something “to lord over her.” Ah, ain’t siblings grand?
There were some interesting things learned in the process of making the ghostly green lamp. The first part of the build log is all about post-processing the lantern model, which was 3D printed at a chunky 0.48 mm layer height, but the rest is about getting the ghostly green glow to come out the way it did. [cyborgworkshop] used both glow in the dark paint and glow in the dark powder to really make the object pop, but the process involved some trial and error. Originally he mixed the glow powder into some clear varnish, and despite the mixture turning pink for some mysterious reason, a small sample spot appeared to turn out fine. However, after applying to the lantern and waiting, the varnish remained goopy and the glow powder settled out of the mixture. He ended up having to remove it as best he could and tried a heavy application of the glow paint instead. This ended up being a real blessing in disguise, because the combination resulted in a gritty stone-like texture that glowed brightly! As [cyborgworkshop] observes, sometimes mistakes end up being the highlight of a piece.
After more glow powder for highlighting, the finishing touches were a thin black wash to mute the powder’s whiteness, and a clear coat. The result looks great and a short video is embedded below. Oh, and if anyone has an idea why glow powder would turn pink when mixed into varnish, let us know in the comments!
Persistence of vision displays are fun, and a natural for clocks, but they’re getting a little Nixie-ish, aren’t they? There are only so many ways to rotate LEDs and light them up, after all. But here’s something a little different: a POP, or “persistence of phosphorescence” clock.
[Chris Mitchell] turned the POV model around for this clock and made the LEDs stationary, built into the tower that holds the slowly rotated display disk. Printed from glow-in-the-dark PLA, the disk gets charged by the strip of UV LEDs as it spins, leaving behind a ghostly dot matrix impression of the time. The disk rotates on a stepper, and the clock runs on a Nano with an RTC. The characters almost completely fade out by the time they get back to the “write head” again, making an interesting visual effect. Check it out in the video after the break.
Our only quibble is the choice to print the disk rather than cut it from sheet stock. Seems like there has to be commercially available phosphorescent plastic, or even the glow-in-the-dark paper used for this faux LED scrolling sign. But if you’ve got glowy PLA, why not use it?