Nixie tube chess-set kits

Tony from LaserMad is poised to offer kits to build your own magnificent Nixie-tube chess-sets:

This is not a project for beginners – it makes extensive use of surface mount components. The circuits are not complicated and are laid out with plenty of space between parts where possible but you will still need to be confident soldering small parts. The main PCB is almost 15×15″ and as only 10-20 will probably ever be made I’ll be machining them myself. They won’t have any solder resist or component legend though the assembled square should be easy to copy and photographic instructions will be supplied for all stages of construction. Expect to spend up to a week of your spare time on it depending on experience and patience.

Postage will be charged at cost – for international orders it won’t be cheap but if you know of a cheaper service or can arrange collection by your own courier I’ll be happy to help arrange it. The total weight including packing materials will be about 4kg (9 pounds).

Nixie chessboard Kit (via DVice)


  1. I’d have to spend an hour on wikipedia to understand the excerpt you posted.

  2. Hmmm, so how do the Nixie tubes get power? Induction?
    And how do you determine the opponents pieces from your pieces? Nixie tubes only glow one color…orange!

    1. might be a good starting point.  Using a transparent board with a camera under it and unique tags on the bottom of each piece.

  3. This chess board uses special symbol tubes. The decoding key is printed along the edge of the board.  Each type of piece (rook, knight, etc.) uses a different weird symbol.

    The chess pieces glow when placed in any square. There are 64 coils to transfer power into the pieces, and each piece has a coil in the base to receive the power, which is rectified and wired to one of the cathodes.

    There are no smart electronics in this gizmo.

  4. Wow! Back in ’73, I was taking radio-TV repair at a voc-tech. Lots of tubes around. I thought it would be cool to make a chess set from different size tubes, but it never got anywhere because of the number of different, yet recognizable, tubes I’d have to have, the difficulty of indicating ‘color’ (without painting something on the tubes), and the problem of squares that would seat each and every different tube.

    I never even considered having them plug in. They get hot.

  5. This makes me want to play a game of glowing orange chess with ROSSINDETROIT or nixiebunny.

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