Awesome! It would be sweet if it lit up blue
Awesome! It would be sweet if it lit up blue
Are the endcaps to your cylinder aluminum? Between those and the brass (opposed to copper) tubes, it gives the gun a distinctively different look. Dare I say, less Steampunk and more Sci-Fi.
I'd been toying around with putting some sort of electronics/lights in mine when I finally get around to it, but I didn't want to have to forfeit having a real glass vacuum tube in front. Your build is now cause for me to reconsider.
I know full well that this is not exactly the easiest prop to reproduce properly without a lathe and a mill -- two critical tools needed for this build in my opinion. Very well done!
Here is a couple of quick progress pics taken with my phone so excuse the quality as I tried to keep the size down. Was just test fitting parts and checking the best radio tubes I had for suitability.
I am going to try cutting and/or drilling a bunch of spare tubes I have to see how badly they oxidise inside. I may be able to cut the entire bottom off them and remove the insides then clean the tubes and put the guts back in. If I can do that reasonably successfully I can try inserting some LEDs inside.
Very nice build!
Its going to shoot those screw bits over there on the right? Looks like an ammo clip
I took the gun to Dallas Fan Days this past weekend and it was really well received! Eddie McClintock was there and he signed my tesla! He also said it was really close to the ones in the show.
To answer a question asked earlier, the end of the tube it a copper plumbing piece cut down to size.
That's awesome! Great pic of you tesla-ing Eddie!
This is the most SCREEN-ACCURATE tube (with the exception of blowing the seal ) you will ever find to match the Season 1 Tesla Gun, and has been nearly impossible to locate. That said, my reluctancy to 'gut' one should be easily understood.
Here are shots of the Season 1 Hero Tesla Gun for reference:
I think you might have picked the same tube as I did though maybe by another manufacturer. Mine is a TESLA brand. I wanted mine to look like it did in the pilot and I think aside from the white in their tube, I got the tubes pretty close. I'll have to see if I can get a couple more in case I break them. I only have one main tube so like you am really unsure about cutting into it.
I glued the guts of the two together, and then fed the LEDS through that. The circuit board is inside where the ammeters and stuff are.
If you drill that glass, it will shatter. Try and find an already broken tube, and spare your working one!! Best of luck ^_^
I have a couple more of the tubes now so I will have spares. It is worth trying to cut one to see what happens. I have a whole box of various sized tubes so when my diamond cutting discs and diamond burrs turn up I will have a go on one or two that are of no use to me.
I certainly wouldn't try to drill or cut these things with anything except diamond tools. A HSS drill bit would shatter it for sure. I think if I go slowly I have a bit of a chance.
Last edited by PeterLC; Oct 31, 2012 at 7:41 AM.
@perter and ripstick.......
very close on the tube. Unfortunately, not a winner but probably one of the close ones. Here's the deal. As I mentioned before, there were a few different tubes used on the various guns on set. They were not all the same. Also, each gun was made differently. One was all metal with plastic grips, another all plastic with only a couple metal detail parts. Even the copper rods were plastic. And even though you may not see it, there were different tubes used. The white is just from the gun being dropped, lol, and the tube cracking open. Within minutes the tube went white. If you crack your tube open, it will turn white. If the crack is extremely small and fine, it may take a while but it will go white. White was not intentional for the show. Eventually the tubes were replaced by acrylic with cast plastic caps.
If you want to cut your tube open, there is really only one real trick and it takes practice. If you have a lathe, even better. First, wrap the tube with blue painters tape where the chuck's jaws will grab. place the tube in the chuck but only tighten extremely lightly. too tight and it will crack in all directions during the next couple steps. Set the lathe to turn very slow..... maybe 300 rpm. Take a new diamond jewelers file (knife one)' and GENTLY make a scratch on the surface around the tube. Only go around once or twice at the most. The trick is to make sure the scratch is straight and in line as you come back around. You don't want a screw effect. I mounted my file securely to the tool post so it would stay true. After making that light scratch, clear the file out of the way. Now, keep the lathe on at 300 rpms. Take a tiny handheld torch (i personally use an alcohol torch) and apply the flame against the scratch long enough to hear a slight crack sound. Immediately remove the flame and let the glass cool down. At this point, you have two things that can happen. First, the scratch cracks all the way through and you now have a crisp cut and two halves. Second, you have a crack but the two halves are still pretty solid and you will lose vacuum and the glass will eventually turn white. If you want two halves, lightly tap on the glass around the edge and it will give. This is one of the best ways to cut glass and keep a clean sharp edge.
OK, so i said two things could happen. There's actually a third thing. You screw it up and the glass cracks into several pieces. Lol This could happen cause the chuck was too tight, you applied too much heat for too long, or "murphy" said @&ck you, not on my watch. Lol
Best idea..... try it out on several tubes until you practiced enough to get it right. When I made the studio guns and QMx guns, i had several hundred of all these tubes... from the pilot to current season.... to play with. Believe me.... when I say I can cut these darn things in my sleep. Lol
OK... So I get asked a lot..... "why change tubes to the current version?" Simple.... I liked the rectifier on the new ones better. I even change the end cap to make it so the electronics merged into the cap. It looked cleaner.
Next question I get a lot..... "Whats the correct tubes from the pilot and the manufacturer and number identifiers?" Trade secret. Lol Where's the fun in that? Plus, believe it or not.... my NDA actually covers giving out simple details like that. Lol Now, with that said, I may remove the markings and offer up the tubes to the rpf members if they intend to make Teslas. If you guys remember way back... I modified the artwork slightly for the gauges and posted the revision for everyone to download and use.
Hope the info helps you guys out.
Hey Kenney good to see you here again. I decided that I was never likely to get the exact main tube, and also since there seemed to be some variation in those tubes seen online, that I would go for something close that looked really good. I am pretty happy with the PL504 tube that I've chosen and I have five of them so I can affored to make a mistake or two in attempting to cut them. Some varitaion among the fanmade Teslas is good I think.
That way you save your vacuum tube, and if you mess up, you can always get another one of the toys. It may not be "authentic", however it's much easier to gut a few broken tubes and stick the parts inside than it would be to try and feed LEDs into a hole.
My dad builds WWII german radio replicas, so we had a bunch of spare broken tubes lying around. (Which was funny, because I figured those were going to be the most difficult part of the project to get, and he walked in with a giant bag of them! :P ) I took two of them, broke the glass, and glued the guts together. Then I fed the LEDS through the pieces. You have to be careful that it doesn't short out. Heat shrink tubing is a good way to keep that from happening, although it does make it difficult to maneuver the wires.
I'd be happy to help you if you have any really detail oriented questions on the LED part.
dont know if any of you have seen this, im not sure how SA it is but for the price it cant be that bad
ok the first link didnt work, hope this works http://http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wareh...item20cd3b9d4e
That kit has been reviewed on here ages ago and it is pretty bad but I guess it just depends on what you think looks OK. Might do for a kid to play with. (link still didn't work btw)
I have no other use for vacuum tubes and have a boxful to practice on. I'm sure some radio repairers would be horrified at me cutting up perfectly good tubes but they are mine so who cares. I have a few tunes which are dead and will be my first victims.That way you save your vacuum tube, and if you mess up, you can always get another one of the toys. It may not be "authentic", however it's much easier to gut a few broken tubes and stick the parts inside than it would be to try and feed LEDs into a hole.
I got tubes from various sources such as a friend who repairs old stuff and online. Some are dead ones but many are used but good and many are new (never used). The tubes I chose for the Tesla are all shiny new ones and I want the Tesla to look like it is new rather than one used for years by agents. I think I'm going for the used look with my Farnsworths, though I might go for one new and one used..My dad builds WWII german radio replicas, so we had a bunch of spare broken tubes lying around. (Which was funny, because I figured those were going to be the most difficult part of the project to get, and he walked in with a giant bag of them! :P ) I took two of them, broke the glass, and glued the guts together. Then I fed the LEDS through the pieces. You have to be careful that it doesn't short out. Heat shrink tubing is a good way to keep that from happening, although it does make it difficult to maneuver the wires.
The LED side of things is actually the easy part from my point of view. I have some very small but bright surface mount (SMD) LEDs that I can use or I can just shave down some 3mm ones. A flashing circuit is pretty simple stuff. Maybe I'd even pulse them in sequence.I'd be happy to help you if you have any really detail oriented questions on the LED part.
All of this of course will only happen if I can fit the rest of the electronics and batteries into my Tesla somewhere.
I see some talk about LEDs for the Tesla.... like what iamthenight did.
OK... so a little back story here. So, when I was building the Teslas for the show, a question cam eup about providing LEDs in the tubes for two things.... a little FX lighting but also tracking LEDs for the visual guys when they post edit. I did in fact design and build a circuit board for the purpose. In the end I never placed any electronics in the studio guns. Actually, I still have all those boards.... built three of them to be exact. So, here's how they work. I had designed the board so there would be LEDs in all the tubes.... yellowish high intensity LEDs. The color of a glowing vacuum tube. The LEDs brightness would be controlled by the dial on the side of the Tesla. The LEDs would have a pulsating glow to them. When you hit the trigger, the LEDs in the front main tube would flash high bright and trickle down to the brightness set by the dial. The flash was like a strobe bulb. But I designed flickering effect into the post flash as the brightness calmed back down. Everything worked but in the end, I never ran with it. It looked great but I just didn't see it looking realistic enough for the vacuum tubes. I thought post edit was the better way to go.
So, there ya go, a little back story on the Tesla.
I've used these for steampunk rayguns. Here's my supply source: I'm also a homebrewer. My local homebrew supply shop sells brewing yeast in those vials. I just save them after each time I brew. It takes some elbow grease to scrub the label off, but it works. The plastic is actually pretty thick (over 1/8"). My steampunk gun has been knocked around a bunch of times, and the tube is still in great shape.
Has anyone made the little tiny meters in the gun on any of these operational? Should be doable as there are small ones that size (though hard to find).
Last edited by holtt; Dec 1, 2012 at 1:04 AM.
You should have seen all the mods I wanted to do to the guns I made for the studio. It basically came down to budget. I had done a OLED screen at one point with an animation but it never went anywhere. I had done up a PCB for lights and everything but in the end.... post edit visual won over practical. LOL The only issue with OLED screens that small, you lose a lot of the detail. It looked very pixel-ated (if that's a word. lol You get the point.
Ah yea a little OLED screen would do the trick - some nice options out there to drive with Arduino, etc.
The smallest functional analog meter I've seen (got on eBay) so far is this little 1.25" OD 15 DC millamp meter ("International Inst. Inc." manufacture)...