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Nixie Tube Necklace

Necklace hanging from a wine bottleQuick post for today. This is my take on the Nixie Tube necklace, inspired by the original that turned up on the Makezine and documented a little on flickr. I haven’t seen any remakes of this lovely idea, so I wondered how well I could emulate the aesthetic (as always, feedback welcome). Visually I was aiming for something like a light bulb, pointing slightly upwards to illuminate the wearer’s neck and jaw. This is a front looking tube and as such is ill suited to a front facing design as it would protrude strangely away from the body, another reason why an upward/forward facing design was selected. The two wires really do carry the power (1.5 volts) and the two contact bolts carry the power inside the enclosure. The boost converter is contained within the aluminium housing.

This type of tube has a number of interesting symbols such as ~, +, -, %, A, V and omega. There is no audible whine that can sometimes be heard with this type of boost converter – the low load probably has something to do with this. On a single AA battery this design should stay illuminated for several days (I will test this when I find a single AA battery housing that I like).

Main Components

  • Boost converter (salvaged parts from camera flash) £1
  • Aluminium tube (salvaged from a solar garden lamp) £1
  • Nixie Tube (a Mullard ZM1021 from ebay) £5
  • Audio cable offcuts – free (scrounged)
  • Cork from a wine bottle (free)
  • Hard drive platter spacer ring (salvaged)

Time to Make

This design took about 3 working day evenings from reverse engineering the camera flash circuit, dismounting the components, creating a new compact board, shaping some corks, cutting the tube and mounting it all together. I’d imagine that if you knew exactly what you were doing you could have one done in three hours or so assuming no hiccups.