The Pen Blog

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Long Overdue Project

Life beyond pens...

I have been working on a case for a Nixie clock for one of my work colleagues. This is long overdue for delivery as its turned out to be a major piece of wood engineering which I wasn't expecting when I rashly took on the challenge.

If you haven't seen a Nixie clock before try Googling it.

Essentially, they are old fashioned valve tubes a bit like an old fashioned amplifier and in this case, there are 6 tubes. They all sit on a printed circuit board with a second board  attached to the bottom of the first one. The top board houses the tubes while the second one has the controls and the rest of the electronics to make it work I assume. As I am not an electronics engineer, don't take my word for the accuracy of any of the preceding description.

The trouble is that the design I came up with needs to be VERY precise and I only have 1 piece of the wood I have chosen for it so if it goes wrong, there is no plan B...

Most of my time has been spent measuring and remeasuring (and re-measuring) again as well as creating very accurate drawings of the Circuit boards and the various controls that need to fit through the back of the case.

I think I am getting towards the finishing stages - but time will tell - and then I can get back to making some new pens.

I have started work on a new prototype Fountain pen made from a High quality German Mutschler front section including nib. I have been experimenting with these front sections rather than the usual full mechanisms as they allow a greater freedom of expression when it comes to turning a pen. As I do not use automated lathes, making these pens is a real challenge and one which gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I have been regularly using a couple of the prototypes that I made using Schmidt front sections and they are a joy to write with. I am using them to refine the shapes in the hope that I will soon be able to offer a limited number of them.

Life and production would be so much easier with either a CNC lathe or at least a metalwork lathe but then, where would the challenges be in life???


UPDATE - Nixie case completed - back to pens...


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