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Author Topic: Drilling into a vacuum tube  (Read 14338 times)

Offline buzz

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Drilling into a vacuum tube
« on: May 18, 2008, 08:45:39 pm »
Has anyone drilled a hole in the base of a vacuum tube?
I'd like to make a light fixture out of several large tubes, by inserting one or more LEDS into the base.  Are there any hazards (other than the potential for broken glass) in do this?

Offline oz4s11

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Re: Drilling into a vacuum tube
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 03:32:20 pm »
Never tried it; if you break the glass you'll destroy the getter material inside, which would make the tube unsightly.

Assuming the tube has a plastic base (bakelite), I'd definitely recommend the use of a drill press so you can control the depth of the drill into the plastic, so as to avoid breaking the the glass nib on the bottom. You could even construct a drill bit limit in the form of a plastic or copper tube cut to the depth needed and placed around the  drill.

An alternative to using the drill bit might be to use a copper tube chucked into the drill press and continuously feed automotive valve grinding compound into the base/copper tube interface until you penetrate.

Or maybe an end-mill which would result in minimal penetration into the material.