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Saturday, June 8, 2024

Is This the Most Lovely Calculator Ever Made?

It has been many years since producers bothered to make their calculators lovely. They’re utilitarian commodity objects and magnificence is a really low precedence normally. And that leaves a spot out there for makers to fill. Oskar did so with this gorgeous handcrafted calculator that encompasses a show constructed utilizing Soviet IV-12 VFD tubes.

Nixie tubes might obtain a lot of the consideration due to their very distinctive heat orange glow and curvy digits, however they aren’t the one possibility obtainable to makers looking for a classic look. Prior to now few years, we’ve seen an enormous surge in curiosity in VFD (vacuum fluorescent show) know-how. VFDs are available many kinds, however they usually have a attribute vivid cyan shade that feels classic now that the ‘80s and ‘90s are far sufficient previously. One significantly attention-grabbing type is the VFD tube, which encases a multi-segment (typically seven-segment) VFD in a glass tube much like a Nixie tube. For this clock, Oskar used IV-12 VFD tubes that had been manufactured in large numbers within the Soviet Union earlier than its collapse.

These tubes function quite a bit like seven-segment LED shows, however with an extra pin to allow to complete grid and two pins to warmth up the filament. IV-12 tubes require 25 volts (and 1.5V), however that’s quite a bit higher than Nixie tubes, which regularly require greater than 100V. Due to their similarity to seven-segment shows, Oskar was capable of multiplex the IV-12 tubes and scale back the variety of pins required on the microcontroller. These tubes don’t embody a decimal level section, however that’s a minor inconvenience in most conditions.

The microcontroller is an ATmega328 on an Arduino Nano board. It reads consumer enter via a customized keyboard made with Cherry MX Brown mechanical key switches and commonplace key caps. A customized PCB helped to simplify wiring.

The enclosure is attractive wooden and constructed it in an attention-grabbing method that saved some huge cash. Its panels are laser-cut plywood glued collectively, however by itself that ends in field that appears like it’s laser-cut plywood glued collectively. So, Oskar coated the complete exterior in a skinny walnut veneer. That appears nice, and may settle for stain and end. Assembled and powered-on, this calculator is a magnificence.

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