Steampunked Nixie-tube-switch




About: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one side I am fascinated in neon lights and small electronic ...

Hi everybody

I promised you to show in this instructable my next astonishing steampunk aparatus. It is called: "Steampunked Nixie-tube-switch"

or in german: "Junhophor-Plasma-Kraftstärkeregler".

My first instructable is an steampunk Plasma-converter. This object needs a switch-component and an telegraphing machine to send the created plasma beams around the world. So here ist comes

The switch:

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Step 1: Starting With the Nixie-tube

Step 2: The Electrical Circuit

On a data sheet for this nixie-tube I found this simple circuit and I decided to build exactly this circuit.
So you can switch for your own to the different numbers of the tube and watch it.

Step 3: Here Comes the Steampunk Design

I took another brass fire hose valve as you already know it from my plasma-converter project and followed this design.

Ont the top you see the 10-step switch and in front there shines the Nixie-tube. The small screws on top only shows the position of the switch. The bigger ones stop  the crank.
Look at the pictures and follow the steps

Step 4: Inside the Valve and Bottom

As you know the nixie tube, as a special form of neon gas filled plasma bulb, only works with hogh voltage but low current.
I generate this HV with an electronic  from an flash of an disposal camera. In my other plasma projects I used the same modified electronic so I don´t want to repeat this step here again:-))

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    12 Discussions

    could you please let me know how to obtain the 10-step switch or what they are originally used for.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    No, in my opinion (like im3733's) it's kind of a cheat.
    Why do and or understand basic electronics if all you're gonna do is slap a computer in there.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Because as much as DIYers like to believe doing something the hard/complicated way doesn't make it better. You slap the computer in there to simplify your life so you can spend time building and designing the complex systems. Its not cheating its using the right tool for the right job.

    I agree with mlah. It's not "cheating" to use the latest tech to build something. It's just a different way of doing it. That said, I've always found it useful to learn "how it was done in the old days" so that I have a better comprehension of what I'm trying to do and how it works.

    In woodworking, we refer to refusing (as much as possible) to use power tools as "neanderthal woodworking." So refusing to use arduinos is "neanderthal electronics." It's not wrong, just a different way.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha, an arduino is just as much electronics as other projects, but yeah, why use email if you still can have a letter delivered by stagecoach and sure, vinyl records sound better than CD's.

    Good Morning,

    as I told you on the phone, this is really amazing.

    With kind regards,

    H. Steam


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I remember the first commercially available Calculator. It was played up on the news in the morning that they were for sale in NYC. I took down the address and went to see it. Had to go by train alone and NYC was an hour away. When I got there I saw the machine had Nixie Tubes as a readout. About 15 of them. I wanted one so bad but they were a little out of my price range at ten years old. Only $2000 dollars.

    Wow, I would have though that Nixie tubes were beyond my capabilities,but something similar to this setup I could do! Thanks for the inspiration (and indirect encouragement!) and as always keep up the awesome work!