All posts for the month July, 2012


Sheet of display bases being machined. Total time for a sheet about 5 hours, produces enough bases for about 2 1/2 sets depending on waste. A couple more days of these and there will be enough for the first batch of kits, then I’ll probably move onto the board coil bases.

I’ve compiled a list of what the full kit will contain, there may be some changes to the exact case parts but this is just about complete.

IN-7 Display pieces: Surface mounted components

34x    Display PCBs
34x    Coil spacers
34x    33mm Dia. coil bases
34x    Piece base cases
25x    IN-7
9x    IN-7A
102x    ’D’ socket pins
136x    Diodes
272x     Capacitors

Main board PCBs: Wired components

8x     PCBs 180x120mm
66x    Coil connection holder pieces (sub base)
66x    Coil base pieces 35mm Dia.
66x    Coil spacers
66x    Coil top pieces 35mm Dia.
54x     1/4W Resistors
100x    Capacitors
66x     MOSFETs
35x     Electrolytic capacitors
20x     Diodes
10x    Zener Diodes
8x     Microcontrollers
132x    M3x6 bolts
66x    M3 washers
66x    M3 nuts
110g    Enamelled copper wire
?g    Solder unleaded

Main board case parts:

1x    Engraved top board 400x400mm
1x    Base board 400x400mm
32x    1.5mm strips for laminated sides
9x    M4 Brass dome nuts
17x    M4 Brass thumb nuts
26x    M4x? Brass bolts
35x    M4 Brass washers
10x    M4 locknut washers
10x    M4 Nuts
8x    M5x25 Bolts
8x    M5 Nuts
16x    M5 Washers
64x    1.5mm Spacers

Cutting the coil formers just now, the piece PCBs are done and I’ve just had a message from ‘Border Force’ to say they have a parcel and want me to delight them by filling in forms. As they haven’t even managed to get my name right as yet it may take some time to persuade them to part with a large box full of nixies from ex Soviet Russia that are obviously dangerous….

Just a quick post updating the parts that have arrived:

Electronic components – Almost all bought, just the film tuning capacitors left and no availabilty problems.

Laminates – Available, buying it as needed as there’s no discount for the quantity this is using.

Brassware – Screw supplier on holiday, thumbnut supplier on vacation, I do have the washers though :).

Tubes – Have 280, the rest have just been posted earlier this week and if there aren’t any holdups should be here in 3-4 weeks.

PCBs – about 1000 piece base PCBs should be ready by the end of this week, enough for 30 kits. Board PCBs will be next weeks work.


When the PCBs are ready I can assemble one kit and prepare the kit instructions, about a week after that there should be some ready to start shipping.  Maybe. ;)



All the 50 kits I’d planned to put together have been allocated to potential buyers, but if  anyone missed out it’s still worth sending me an email to register your interest just in case anyone drops out.

I’ve decided that due to vastly underestimating both the cost and time required to make these kits available that it just won’t make sense to take orders for a further batch, plus there are other projects waiting to distract me. There is a little Lexel Argon laser sitting on the floor here, over the last 2 weeks I’ve only had time to lift it off its’ pallet and look inside for broken glass. Sorting out a power supply and chilller for it will have to wait for now….

Sorry for the lack of updates but there hasn’t been much spare time recently.  Currently the chess piece PCBs are being made, next will be the baseboard which is being redesigned. Instead of one large board – which was impressive but not very practical, a single manufacturing failure would mean scrapping the whole board – I’m going for a modular approach…

The new design will be made up from either 4 or 8 independent boards which can be assembled and tested on their own. Faultfinding on a 14×14 inch board with 64 driver circiuts, even with resistors to isolate sections, was never going to be fun and it was clumsy to handle when assembling. It seemed a good idea to make the base board rigid but it actually tends to bend and adds nothing to the stability of the case.  The new design will add a couple of pounds to the component cost but  savings in time, hassle and rejects should be more than enough to cover it.


Update: There will now be 40 kits available with cases and 10 PCB only. I’m also considering making a small quantity of kits available with the surface mounted components presoldered – no price as yet as it will depend on how long the first kit takes to assemble, this first board was built over many weeks with many modifications and I didn’t keep a record of how long each stage took to assemble.


Over the weekend I’ve been emailing those of you who have asked about kit purchases to confirm your interest. Based on the response I’ve decided to order materials and components to build 25 cases and 50 PCB sets, if more than 25 complete kits sell a few more cases can be machined for use with the remaining PCB sets. Once they’re gone though it’s unlikley there will be enough interest to make a further batch so in total there will probably only be 52 of these boards made unless/until a larger seller decides to copy it.  Each kit will be serial numbered from 02-51 on both the PCB and the case.

To all those who have confirmed by email I’ll reply directly in the next couple of days to give you an estimate of when I hope to have your kit ready for despatch. Once they’re cleared any remaining kits will be listed on Ebay and in our shop. I’m sorry if this has been a bit confusing but I wanted to make sure those who asked for a kit first would be among the first to receive one.