Nixie Pipe – Modern Day LED Nixie Tube

Nixie Pipe is my interpretation of a modern day Nixie Tube – the cold-cathode vacuum gas-filled tubes from the 1960s. The project came about when I decided to make a clock for my kitchen, with specific requirement for an egg timer function! I’ve always wanted to make a Nixie Tube clock but having completed a Nixie Tube project recently and one pipe failing after around 6,000 hours, I wanted to come up this something better. Something that didn’t require high voltages, special driving circuitry, could be easily interfaced and was modular, but which maintained the unique visual depth of a Nixie Tube. At around the same time, my dad showed me the above from an old telephone exchange. It’s a 70s way of displaying digits by using engraved light pipes, lit by channeling emission from filament bulbs within. Putting the two together, Nixie Pipe is the design I came up with. I’ve called it Nixie Pipe because it uses light pipes. Each Nixie Pipe contains ten individually controlled RGB LEDs, which sit below channelled layers of acrylic acting as light pipes. By laser engraving the acrylic layers, the piped light diffracts, creating controlled illumination.”