Happy Holidays everyone! The image above is a nixie tube Christmas ornament project that I started last year but didn’t finish in time for Christmas. In typical fashion I did one or two revs to the PCB in late December and early January and then got busy and shelved the project until last weekend. It’s still not quite finished but the first two ornaments look pretty good!
The year is 2011. It’s early summer. Mitch has been soliciting workshop ideas for Chaos Camp 2011. The Fukushima Daiichi disaster had just occurred in March of that year, so radioactivity and nuclear monitoring was on everyone’s mind. I had been working on a (still unfinished) project to detect cosmic rays, so I had some Geiger tubes and a bunch of AVR microcontrollers on hand.
When I packed the first 30 kits in my suitcase and flew to Berlin to give my first Geiger Counter workshop at Chaos Camp 2011, I had no idea how successful this kit would become. I did not expect that the kits would sell out within minutes of arriving at Camp. I certainly did not expect that I’d still be building and selling Geiger Counter kits ten years later, at least in part because Geiger tubes were in very short supply at that time.
Here’s a taste of Chaos Camp 2011, thanks to Maurice Wessling. Remember when quadcopters were new and 3d printers were made of wood?
Here’s a video of me demonstrating the kit at Camp:
Note that there is no case! There wasn’t time to design a case before Camp. Some of the workshop attendees learned the hard way that you get a mild shock if you touch the PCB in the wrong place – it rained a lot that year, which made things worse! By the end of camp I saw at least one 3d printed case, and when I got home I designed the laser-cut case that I still sell today.
I want to sincerely thank everyone who has purchased or built a kit over the past decade. It’s been a huge amount of fun, from the first workshop at Chaos Camp 2011 and the US debut at the NY Maker Faire to the years of online sales and subsequent workshops at Toorcamp, Congress, and Chaos Camp 2019.