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Mad man, scientist, genius, wizard ? Watch video and see for yourself !

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  • Mad man, scientist, genius, wizard ? Watch video and see for yourself !

    I found this link posted on the Yahoo Sherline site.

    It's a 17-minute video, but WELL WORTH THE TIME to watch it. Great video production !

    I thought I was drowning in jigs and fixtures which I have machined, but this over the top ambidextrous guy has the widest range of home workshop skills I have ever seen plus an incredible work area full of single purpose complicated hand made devices and machinery, home made vacuum pump, large milling machine etc.

    Rhese are all used to make his own triode valves/tubes which are then demonstrated as functioning in transmitters and receivers!
    Will definitely appeal to the machinist/ham in you and an inspiration or that next fixture.

    17 mins long and some French helps).

    The video production is also top class.
    Wow, that guy's amazingly talented ! Part glassworker, machinist, mad scientist, genius, mechanic, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, technician, chemist, etc.

    He's making vacuum tubes by hand !! There's a long history of vacuum tube technology with lots of pictures of how he makes his own. Lots of specialized fixtures, tooling. He's an artist !

    I'd love to have his skills & knowledge. I wonder when that video was made ? There's a date of 1959 listed, maybe I'll get the French translated.

    Here's direct link to this guy's website (French language)

    Be Amazed !!

    Last edited by mlucek; 01-10-2008, 03:31 PM.

  • #2
    Now that' what I call DIY Very very impressive.

    Does he keep taking the glass back the cylindrical oven to anneal or to remove the stress?


    • #3
      My assumption was that he was annealing it.

      I saw this vid on PM and promptly downloaded it so I could have a copy. Great stuff.

      I learned a lot about working glass watching it. I doubt I'll ever be building my own triodes, but the glass stuff is relevant to building low temp Stirlings, for example.


      Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


      • #4
        Unbelievable!!! Doesn't the guy look like Evan at the age of 12????? I don't think I'll be doing that in my garage in the next few weeks. Fred


        • #5
          Fantastic Dig those home made vacuum pumps.
          I notice he didnt make the glass to metal seals, they are very hard to make!
          I have tools I don't know how to use!!


          • #6
            Yep, the little oven is annealing and bake out.

            There are a variety of different glass to metal seals that you can do. For wire feed troughs you can use "dumet" or a uranium glass/tungsten seal. Dumet is a copper coated iron wire and it appears that is what he is using there. The glass will stick to the copper while the coefficient of expansion is similar enough between the iron and glass as to no crack the joint while cooling. Bit this is only useful for small wires like on tubes and light bulbs.

            The tungsten/uranium glass seals are common in the larger tubes and can be recognized by the yellowish glass surrounding the wire as it passes through the glass. To do this kind of joint you need some uranium glass tubing of the same type of glass you are attaching to and a piece of tungsten. The tungsten is heated in a flame until it gets a "KFC Chicken brown" color to it. A ring of the U-Glass tubing is slipped over the tungsten and heated with a torch until it bonds with the tungsten. The electrode is then welded in place.

            These joints are getting harder to do since U-Glass tubing is getting harder to find. I do have some pre-manufactured tungsten electrodes still around from a CO2 laser project in high school. At the time I took a scientific glass blowing class through Oregon Graduate Institute. I would have loved to get into that field but the instructors told me its very difficult to get into that field unless you are almost blood related.


            • #7
              Very neat work. I'm ignorant on electronics though. I know what a tube is but I don't know what they do. Are they the predecessor to modern day resistors and diodes? I'm looking for an explanation that I can actually understand as most of the electronics talk on this board goes right over my head.
              Jonathan P.


              • #8
                That's incredible, thanks for the link.

                For those who are more machine oriented, fast forward to the last 2 minutes of the video to see the guy's European machine tools ... and drool


                • #9
                  Originally posted by japcas
                  Very neat work. I'm ignorant on electronics though. I know what a tube is but I don't know what they do. Are they the predecessor to modern day resistors and diodes? I'm looking for an explanation that I can actually understand as most of the electronics talk on this board goes right over my head.
                  had to look it up my self after watching the video


                  all the best.mark


                  • #10
                    Now that's funny: what are tubes, are they like transistors?

                    And on a board concerned with mostly manually machining, arguably about the same vintage and relevance as tubes.

                    Rich with irony that one is.

                    Imagine all the things that CNC makes obsolete that some youngster in not very many years will be saying something similar about. You'd be amazed to look around your shop at what simply is no longer needed.

                    There are the obvious and not so obvious:

                    - Rotary tables and dividing heads, 'less you convert them to 4th axes
                    - Sine bars and plates
                    - Those little gages for setting up threading
                    - Taper attachments of all kinds
                    - Ball turning attachments
                    - Letter stamps
                    - Those crazy protractors from Russia everyone was so excited about. I suppose you might use one to reverse engineer, but not for setups.-
                    - Angle blocks
                    - Calipers of all kinds
                    - Tap wrenches
                    - Tailstock die holder

                    The list goes on a lot further than this, and some will quarrel, but its funny. I was looking for a lever-style collet closer today. They basically don't exist anymore. Your lathe either comes with one or you buy a pneumatic for big bucks.



                    PS Sorry, I'm sure someone will get their dander up over that one!

                    Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


                    • #11
                      Not to hijack the thread but this is for Bob and all others with VINTAGE electronics thoughts.....

                      Lets make a Vacuum Tube CNC controller. Just the servo drives would be enough And it would help to heat the shop


                      Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first


                      • #12
                        Funy thing is Bob that a vacuum tube does have a lot in common with a FET. They both work by field effect and they are both voltage amplifiers. Tubes aren't dead yet either. Every microwave oven has one and so does every communications satellite (several) as well as millions of TVs and Monitors. The military still uses tubes in applications that require extreme radiation hardness and in space a major disadvantage of "tubes" vanishes since they don't require a vacuum envelope. Tubes are virtually bullet proof against surges up to and including lightning.

                        Here are a few different types of tubes, some are still current such as the flash tubes and the vacuum fluorescent displays. The bad boy is the long xenon flash tube in the middle. That can be used to pump a very high power solid state pulse laser. It is extremely not eye safe. Just one full power flash can permanently damage your eyes.

                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                        • #13
                          Tube guitar amps are also becoming popular again. Manufacturing facilities in Russia and China are selling all the tubes they can make. And the eBay tube market is cookin'


                          • #14

                            In England they call electronic tubes "valves" and for good reason. The triode is a simple tube for controlling electricity.

                            The triode, as the name says, contains three active parts: the filament, the plate, and the grid. Generally, by some means or other, the filament is both heated and made electrically negative with respect to the plate. Think of a powerful battery connected from the filament to the plate while another, small battery, connects across the two filament connections.

                            Now - once again I'm leaving a lot out to try and keep this understandable - suppose that you have some way to make the grid voltage change with respect to the filament and plate. Another battery and a variable resistor maybe. If you have all of these various voltages right with respect to each other, as you change the grid voltage you will see that the voltage between the filament and the plate changes too, only this change is amplified.

                            This explanation leaves out a great deal having to do with building an electronic circuit that would actually work. Hopefully it does provide an insight into just what a vacuum tube - in its simpler form - does.



                            • #15
                              Alan, that was a great explanation. I didn't understand everything but I kind of get the picture. Thanks for taking the time to explain it to a dumby like me. It seems I can read a mechanical procedure and understand it easily but I have never been able to grasp electronics and the various components. Thanks again.
                              Jonathan P.