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Author Topic: Design help for clock based on a display tube  (Read 824 times)
sgt_bear
Swab

Switzerland Switzerland


« on: May 22, 2016, 10:35:43 am »

Hello!

This is my first post, i hope i don't bother here. I'm building clocks with NIXIE-Tubes (maybe some of you heard of them), these are glass tubes, like vacuum-tubes, and can display orange glowing digits. Here is a example of a tube from my page: http://swissnixie.com/index.php?tubeID=ZM5660MRFT

I'm now want to build a new clock with a very special tube, a pandicon, it contains 14 digits in a row, like many single nixie tubes, but all in the same tube.

Since i know that Steampunk Builders are mostly familiar with pipes of all kind and metal works, i choose to post a topic here. Sadly i have no experience with metal work or pipes, that's why i hope you can give me basic advice.


Here is an image of the tube


Here is an image of the socket for the tube, one on each side


Dimensions are:

Length: 18cm / ~7 inch
Length: with sockets attached: 21cm/ ~8.2 inch
Diameter: 29mm / ~1.2 inch

I want to place the tube inside a metal pipe, that has a window cut out, the pipe should connected to bend-pieces that will be mounted on a wooden base. Here is a schematic drawing of my idea..



So, can anyone tell me what i would need to accomplish this?
  • What kind of tools i would need this?
  • How can i securely mount the tube inside the pipe?
  • What material do you would use? I was thinking of copper, because its not very hard and looks great
  • How can i mount the bend-pieces that the are stable, but can be disassembled?

Any help, comment or idea is very welcome Smiley It's just a first idea, maybe there is a better way to do it!

Thanks!
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Hektor Plasm
Zeppelin Captain
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


All-Round Oddfellow.


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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2016, 12:30:52 pm »

Welcome! Also hello!

My first thoughts are:- This is easily doable with hand tools but if you have a power drill or a multi-tool (Dr****) it will be easier. A small hacksaw, drills, files and emery cloth will be at least what you need.
Copper is great- brass may be better but harder to find fod just tubes that fit together, and harder too, but not much harder to work.
To mount the number tube I'd say use a bit of clear silicone on the back of it, and perhaps on the egde of the sockets when plugged together.
To mount the metal tube- silicone perhaps to join to the bends, and then two flanges to mount the bends to the surface- think top-hats with the tops cut off and screw holes in the brim.

Sorry if this sounds a bit too beginnery (?) but perhaps there are beginners reading this...  Smiley

HP
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Drew P
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States


« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2016, 01:46:16 pm »

You say you are building clocks, have you built some already in the past and do you have any photos of what you have done?
Or do you mean that you want to start building clocks, but are unsure of how to go about it?

It sounds like this may be your first attempt at building and designing, is this correct? You may want to search through this Tactile thread section and look at everything that has been done and read through the "How to" section, also.
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Maets
Immortal
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United States United States

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Airship Builder


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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2016, 03:01:03 pm »

Start in the local pumping supply looking at copper tubing.  You should be able to find the main parts of what you need.
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sgt_bear
Swab

Switzerland Switzerland


« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2016, 03:52:05 pm »

Welcome! Also hello!

My first thoughts are:- This is easily doable with hand tools but if you have a power drill or a multi-tool (Dr****) it will be easier. A small hacksaw, drills, files and emery cloth will be at least what you need.
Copper is great- brass may be better but harder to find fod just tubes that fit together, and harder too, but not much harder to work.


Thanks, for your answer, i have power tools, but manly for wood. I will get some metal drills now. Hacksaws and files i have plenty  Smiley
Yes, i was also looking at brass, but i only saw very thick pipes, the copper ones seem to have much slimmer wall thickness.

You say you are building clocks, have you built some already in the past and do you have any photos of what you have done?
Or do you mean that you want to start building clocks, but are unsure of how to go about it?


I have built a few clocks, but not with metal components, they were made from wood (handcrafted) or from factory cut acrylic. Here is a wooden one: http://swissnixie.com/index.php?go=z5660mclock.

I want to make this one with pipes because i think it would looks cool, and with the rather special tube i have shown, it would be even look better (i think).


I will now look for a source of copper tubes, all my the local plumbing installers told me they don't use copper anymore these days..  Sad
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cossoft
Gunner
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2016, 04:33:06 am »

Taking one point at a time:-
Tools.  There are lots of machine tools you can buy, starting with a Dremel like rotary tool and advancing eventually to things like milling machines.  I personally don't like to buy too many power tools, especially the many function retail ones found in hobby shops.  I prefer to do it by hand most of the time.  A few good quality, carefully selected hand tools will give you great capability. If you have the hacksaws and files, great.  I'd only really suggest a rotary tool as that offers many additional  capabilities, especially in cutting.
Mounting. I would have thought that secure mounting was to be avoided.  The Nixie is fragile and complicated.  I suggest just wedging it /padding with some polystyrene packing foam sheet.  You might have it lying around the house.  You'll probably need to remove the Nixie so I suggest that any form of adhesive is ruled out.
Materials.  Copper with brass fittings would be the de-rigour style.  If Switzerland has gone plastic, you might consider plastic plumbing pipes and fittings sprayed copper /brass.  Can you get copper internationally?  They must use copper in Italy or France.  But what about http://ch.rs-online.com/web/c/rohrleitungen-rohrverbinder/rohr-schlauch-leitungen/rohrleitungen-kupfer/
That's copper plumbing pipe.
Disassembly.  Using plumbing fittings will allow disassembly as domestic pipework requires maintenance.  The (typically push fit) fittings sometimes require a small special tool.  They are very robust though and will easily support the Nixie.  Tank connectors would form good maintainable attachments to the base.
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Art
Deck Hand
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Australia Australia


« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2016, 02:10:13 pm »

Hi Smiley Self fusing silicon tape makes a good buffer between glass and another material (such as the copper).
If you can’t find suitable copper tube, PVC can finish well with a mixture of some metallic an non-metallic paints of the same type.
You can lightly spray some species of one paint over a solid coat of another. I’m sure there are guides for that kind of thing here.

The tube, do you have a bunch of element pins at one end, and digit select at the other?
It appears you’d have to multiplex them to drive it as an entire display.

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SeVeNeVeS
Immortal
**
England England



« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2016, 02:51:49 pm »

The diameter of the nixie tube being 29mm will be your first problem with standard EU copper tube.

35mm is the only way to go (1.5mm wall)

I would suggest maybe internal wooden chocks both for mounting the tube and to the base ( a holesaw of appropriate diameters)

If you squish the end of the pipe slightly it will still slide in the elbow but be tight enough not to move, so be de-mountable as required.

If you have limited tools, chain drill the slot then clean out with either a dremel or a file.

Never seen one of these types of tube, so please do post the WIP as it goes.
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sgt_bear
Swab

Switzerland Switzerland


« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2016, 07:15:28 pm »

I already found a source for pipe and fittings in Germany, they can deliver to me Tongue

I was thinking of 35mm pipe
http://www.grosshandel-hahn.de/shop/Installation_HeizungSanitaerGasSolar/Rohrsysteme/Kupferrohe/Kupferrohr_35_x12_mm_blank_Stange_5m__Mengeneinheit_lfm_pa26238.htm

and some matching angle pieces
http://www.grosshandel-hahn.de/shop/Fittings/LoetFittings/LoetFittings_Kupfer/Kupferbogen_5002_A_zum_Loeten_35_mm_90_II_pa1017.htm

Maybe add a T-Piece with an End piece and place a switch/button for settings there.

yes, wood chocks would be a nice idea, maybe screw the socket on to them.

i ordered some cut and grind pieces for the dremel.


Currently I'm designing the pcb and electronic stuff.
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von Corax
Squire of the Lambda Calculus
Moderator
Immortal
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Canada Canada

Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2016, 08:38:03 pm »

It occurs to me that it would look quite nice with the nixie tube unenclosed, simply suspended in the open between two elbow fittings with the ends / sockets tucked away out of sight.
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sgt_bear
Swab

Switzerland Switzerland


« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2016, 04:33:41 pm »

It occurs to me that it would look quite nice with the nixie tube unenclosed, simply suspended in the open between two elbow fittings with the ends / sockets tucked away out of sight.

I was thinking of that too, but that would leave the tube fully unprotected. I might leave the tube freely, but attach a small diameter pipe under and above the tube, to give it a little protection.
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sgt_bear
Swab

Switzerland Switzerland


« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2016, 06:15:40 pm »

If have got some copper.

These reduction-pieces are 35mm on the outside and something like 32 in the inside and have enough space for the tube-ending. I will add a 8mm pipe on top for protection.

In the T-pieces i can put a switch for control.

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SeVeNeVeS
Immortal
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England England



« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2016, 06:17:46 am »

looking good so far, are those tees 28mm? if they are you could use a garden tap backplate for securing to the base, 28mm slots over rather nicely. I use these alot for a little bit of added brassyness.
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