Handmade glowing radio-tube USB drives

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That’ll take care of a couple of gift list entries.

Me! Me! Pick me!

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For Geek Man Him Dad Boy Teen.

Now, that wasn’t called for.

ETA: Looks like they also sell orange and green. I’d be tempted to get an orange one, but I’m not certain how prudent it is to buy thumb drives from Latvia.

Probably no worse than picking one up from behind the counter of a Van Nuys 7-Eleven, I guess.

Cant type. Drool shorting out keyboard.

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Beautiful, and blue LEDs are what all the kids are wearing these days, but an orange LED would probably better simulate that vacuum-tube glow.


And I thought blue LEDs were so 2002. At least in 2003, Apple products already had white LEDs.

But for a retro radio tube, blue really is the wrong color.
It really needs to be orange, and slowly ramp up in brightness for a while after the thing is plugged in.

I saw a lot of vacuum tubes when I was taking electronics. There were still a lot of them in the wild. One year, I was working in the stock room for the department, and somebody had donated (offloaded) a lot of old computer panels, which had many, many assemblies that plugged in. At one end was the plug, then some resistors, and finally at the top was a vacuum tube that was only suited for use in whatever computer it had been.

We were given the task of removing all the resistors (this left them with highly desirable 1/4" leads), then testing and sorting the tubes. There were two of us working the tube tester, which had a dial for heater voltage. A number of times, we got to find out for ourselves how useful the tubes could be as light bulbs, and determined that if you put the dial all the way up to 110, it would incandesce brightly for some portion of a second before voluntarily shutting down forever. “This one’s bad,” we would accurately observe, before filing them away in the appropriate receptacle.


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