I have a fascination with these cold-cathode tubes commonly called Nixie tubes. They are no longer made, but there are still some available. They lend themselves to all sorts of steampunk applications today. They can light up to display numbers or letters, so they lend themselves especially well to clocks, some of which have been featured on The Gadgeteer. ThinkGeek has available a few chess sets using Nixie tubes. The DIY Nixie Tube Chess Set kit contains 32 IN-15 Nixie tubes and all supplies you need to assemble an inductive chess board. When you set the pieces on the board, the designation for the chess piece lights up. ThinkGeek says you’ll need intermediate/advanced skills to build this kit, and you’ll need to supply your own soldering iron and solder. At $399.99, it’s certainly not cheap, but you’ll have one of the most unusual chess sets your friends have seen when you complete the kit.
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