Super Cool Digital Magic Counter

  • #1
    Hey Everyone, I thought I would share what I made. I had an idea to make a digital life counter. I wanted it to have a retro feel but kinda steampunkish. It took me a while to figure out how to build what I want and make it work the way I wanted without having to use digital board or a counting circuit. Basically you can rotate the knobs in the back and the neon tubes will display 0-9. I have a switch to turn all of the leds off and on. I have another switch that will turn the numbers to constant display or a pushbutton to show your life total so it conserves battery life. This thing took a long time to design, build, figure out how to wire, find the parts, etch the plexiglass, ect. I could do it again in half the time but who's counting. LOL

    Here is the front pic of the window. You can see into the guts of it through the M in the center. I have over 25 ultrabright led's in this. I have two underlighting the neon tubes. The tubes run on 170v but I managed to run this whole thing on battery power. That was difficult to figure out how...


    Here is the left side. I etched half of the face of some of the planeswalkers into the plexi. Jace and Chandra on this one.


    Here is the back side.


    Full back side with the knobs and switches.


    Here is the right side.


    Close up of the tubes.


    Close up of the M and leds.


    Here is the top view of it. The plexiglas on top is a dark hunter green and I etched the mana symbols into it. Little hard to see with the camera.


    Here a corner view.


    All in all it turned out pretty well. It took me about 30 hours to build. It is fairly big 4.25" inches square and 7.5" inches tall. So too big to use in a tournament but cool other wise.

    Let me know what you think. I might sell it to fund my next project.

    Thanks
    Jason
    Last edited by DistortedDesigns: 7/25/2011 6:53:16 AM
  • #2
    I must say this is pretty awesome. That's devotion my friends. Grin
  • #3
    Good god. This is quite possibly the coolest thing ever. It is truly magnificent. What does it run on?
    I wanna rock and roll all night... and part of every day.
  • #4
    I love Nixi Tubes so this thing is pretty awesome.
  • #5
    This is the thing, can you explain, how the numbers change? From what I understand, the tubes turn so they let out light differently.

    This is too cool.
  • #6
    "Good god. This is quite possibly the coolest thing ever. It is truly magnificent. What does it run on?"


    It runs on 2 AA for the led's and 2 C Batteries for the nixi tubes, so they will last a long time. The Nixie tubes run off of 170v but really low amperage.

    This is the thing, can you explain, how the numbers change? From what I understand, the tubes turn so they let out light differently.


    The nixie tubes have all of the numbers stacked on top each other. The tube has 12 pins out of the bottom. There is a ground pin and each other pin is a digit and there are also two decimals as well but I didn't hook them up. The knobs in the back rotate around and supply power to each digit one at a time. I was planning on making a short video so people could see how it works. If you want to see the tubes just google "Nixie Tube Clocks". That is where I got the idea from.

    The nixie tubes are really cool but difficult to get. They were primarily used in the 70's. They haven't been made since the late 80's, so they are kinda rare. They didn't even make them here. When I get them I have to order them from Russia or the Ukrane and they take 3 weeks to get here. Nixies are like old magic cards. Some are kinda cheap and some are really expensive.

    I am glad people like it.

    I am also doing etched plexiglass lighted signs. I made one for a friend of mine who owns a card shop. It has two layers to the sign and two different colors. It looks really clean. I was planning on doing another one to sell. I think I am going to do blightsteel colossus, I think. I will have to take pics of the sign I did people can see it.
  • #7
    Here are the pics of the sign I made.





    I am ready to start another one.
  • #8
    That's so cool.
  • #9
    I was trying to think of what might make a good sign to etch next. I was thinking of blightsteel colossus, but it needs to be something that everyone wants. Batterskull is another but I am not sure that one would etch well. Force of Will might be a good one but I don't know how well it would etch.

    Anyone got any ideas?
    Last edited by DistortedDesigns: 7/18/2011 6:36:30 AM
  • #10
    What etched LED sign would you buy? Anyone?
  • #11
    An LED of LED, of course.

    Awesome project, but check your picture links - the "Left side" and "Right side" appear to be the same image.


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  • #12
    The nixie tubes work a lot like a regular incandescent bulb, Ya know the little wire inside a bulb that glows? A nixie tube has a bunch of these, one shaped like each number 0-9. The number that gets displayed depends on which filament has the power going to it and that filament glows so you see the number.

    In the first picture you can also see that the 5 is just an upside down 2, which is a pretty common cost saving measure on nixie tubes.
    Last edited by eSporks: 7/22/2011 6:39:55 PM
  • #13
    Quote from Jenesis
    An LED of LED, of course.

    Awesome project, but check your picture links - the "Left side" and "Right side" appear to be the same image.


    Thanks I missed that, it is corrected but the pic is a little blurry.
  • #14
    Quote from Eggit
    The nixie tubes work a lot like a regular incandescent bulb, Ya know the little wire inside a bulb that glows? A nixie tube has a bunch of these, one shaped like each number 0-9. The number that gets displayed depends on which filament has the power going to it and that filament glows so you see the number.

    In the first picture you can also see that the 5 is just an upside down 2, which is a pretty common cost saving measure on nixie tubes.


    The ones that don't have the upside down 2 but an actual 5 tend to cost a lot more and are much harder to find. Nixie's are already difficult and sometimes expensive to buy.
  • #15
    I think the upside 2 is cool though. Its part of their charm, and it also shows that nixie tubes were never meant to be decorative. They are a cool piece of out dated industrial tech.
  • #16
    I really like them cause they have an outdated future look to them. The fact they are real neon and a glow that can't be duplicated with something new. They are very unique and rare enough you don't see them everywhere.
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