Nixie Tube Chess Set Makes for a Visually Stunning Game
By Elizabeth Fish
I’ll admit it: I have never sat down to a game of chess. I get as far as arranging the pieces correctly on the board, reading up on the rules, and then I begin to lose interest. That said, I’m pretty sure I’d have a longer attention span with a Nixie Chessboard Set placed in front of me.
Tony of Lasermad created the set, made up of old Nixie tubes (an ex-Soviet gas display tube created in the 1980s), brass fittings, and other vintage findings–the only modern technology here are the the printed circuit boards and electronic components.
Although details are a little sparse on the blog, we do know that each piece contains a Nixie tube and has no visible wires, and it will only give off a golden glow when in contact with the chessboard. If you knock out a piece, the light goes out, which seems quite fitting given the point of the game. Each square on the board is set up with air-core transformers to power the light–it’s a bit of nifty circuitry.
Tony will also make a kit that contains all the necessary components so you can make the Nixie Chessboard yourself. He does warn though that this is not a beginners kit, and while the circuitry is straightforward, you will need to feel comfortable with using a soldering iron to put everything together. Tony believes the whole project will take around a week to complete.
If you don’t want to make one yourself, though, Tony is considering selling completed sets that don’t require assembly. How much it would cost is anyone’s guess, though.
For now, you can check out the incredible gallery of the board game on Tony’s blog, or go look at your regular chessboard in disgust.