The latest experiments combining antique vacuum tubes with tri-colored LED strips are returning spectacular results.
As we discussed in my previous blog on this topic, at first I couldn’t find the tubes I wanted, so I started to play with a large (4.5" diameter) somewhat traditional bulb as shown below:
The cardboard box upon which the bulb is mounted was my quick-and-dirty version of a prototyping platform. This bulb has a glass bottom, which made it easy to attach four of Adafruit's Flora NeoPixels pointing straight up.
The resulting lighting effect looks quite interesting in the image above, but this photo was taken with the curtains closed and the lights turned off in the breakfast nook (the breakfast table is home to many of my experiments). The problem is that, in regular lighting conditions, you can barely see this cool light effect.
One thought that sprang to mind was to etch the flat top of the glass bulb to give it a frosted effect. My idea was that the lights coming from the LEDs would really stand out when they reflected off this frosting. Sad to relate, however, although the glass etching cream I purchased from Michaels works great with regular drinking glasses, it has no appreciable effect whatsoever on whatever glass they used to make this bulb -- if anything, the end result was to polish the bulb to an even greater smoothness. I'm still pondering the implications of this.
Of course, this was all made somewhat moot when I discovered the most amazing collection of antique tubes at Mock Electronics. Feast your eyes on these little beauties. Aren’t they absolutely gorgeous? Can't you just imagine them mounted in a cluster in top of the Ultra-Macho Prognostication Engine?
However, we now have another problem, in that the connection-ends of four of these tubes are sheathed in metal. I must admit that I did toy with the idea of drilling through the metal and into the tubes, but I'm scared that the sudden decompression might strain the envelope and cause these little beauties to implode. Another approach was obviously called for...
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