Let there be light! - and there was!

A project log for Cool replacement for nixie tubes

Using microLEDs and clear PETG filament, I have discoverd how to replicate a nixie tube, and the effect is super, cheap and reproducable.

david.reiddavid.reid 04/13/2018 at 06:540 Comments

In this log, I first needed to rough up the outside of the PETG, so that the light from the LED would diffuse out and look like a nixie.

I did this with 100grit sandpaper, rubbing the areas I wanted to shine lightly with the sandpaper. It only takes a few seconds to rough up the surface...

Then the end of the PETG that I want to shine the light into needed to be polished a bit - I put some toothpaste on a cloth and rubbed the end perpendicular to the cloth to make it smoother and without rough bits. It takes about 30 secs of slow circles on the cloth to finely polish the end of the PETG.

Now the exciting bit, I used some LEDs that were lying around in the workshop. they are orange 3mm with leads.

I used a drop of superglue on the top of the LED ( it had a flat top) and glued the PETG to the LED.

Then the moment of truth... I applied some power to the LED and.....

wait for it....

It worked! (the bright effect at the bottom is not really as bright as in the reality the whole digit has an orange glow).