Sunday, 24 November 2013

Nixie not

I have for some time intended to come up with some kind of instrumentation that you need to peer into on the time machine.

The idea is that it's something that will show you a readout of consequence without it being as modern as an LCD screen. To force the whole 'peering' thing I decided it would have to be seen through a security door viewer. Besides I happened to have one kicking around.

In a perfect world what you peered at should be something made from Nixie tubes but realistically that just isn't going to happen.

The next idea was an 8x8 LED dot matrix as they are cheap, very versatile and I have one kicking around, along with the serially driven driver chip to make it easy to use. I've been intending to go with this for a while but struggled with how to make it look good.
All the LED matrices I've seen have been pretty chunky things, designed to act as a big bright visual display. Smaller things tend to be done with LCDs, for understandable reasons.

So I've struggled with how to make this work physically. I was going with hollowing out a knob from a newel post but it was simply huge and started to go awry as soon as I started doing it.
Last night it occurred to me that going more old school and using a seven segment LED display would give me a much more compact option and keep the 'primitive' feel at the expense of being a less versatile display.

Some very quick fettling up of a plastic tube originally holding vitamin pills has turned out a pretty good looking viewer in my opinion.
Once you actually peer in it's pretty obvious it's not a piece of steampunk tech but until then it's a tube with a glowing display in and pretty much exactly what I wanted.

I may experiment with pushing a little paper or cotton wool inside to diffuse the display so it looks more grungy but it'll pretty much do as it stands.

No comments:

Post a Comment