Glorious Gizmo’s!

I’m not sure who coined the phrase ‘belt gizmo’ but that’s what they’re known as. So how do I get one of these for my costume you’re thinking? Well if we look at what was used in production, you’ll discover that they used the circuit board of a Sanyo ICC-808D Calculator circa 1972. The calculator used Nixie tubes for each digit.

  • Your options at this point is buy the whole deal on ebay or from another fan.
  • Find a Sanyo ICC-808D calculator and butcher it or,
  • do what I’ll end up doing and fake the whole damn thing.

I got the idea to do that from this site [ Click Here ].

Looking around, a few google searches turned up some other good resources for making your own, like this one: Loosetoon’s Build Instructions. You can also see this build from the Ghostbusters forum Jay Stantz & Wallabe’s and lastly I found this build – and wow top notch points to RedSpecial’s Build

First thing I’d need to do was break down a parts list of what I’ll need.

Circuit Board – sheet of plastic/plexi or even several sheets of styrene layered.
14mm capacitors – They look like brown M&Ms. You’ll need 8 (one for each Nixie Tube)
Nixie Tubes – 8 of these bad boys.
Some Styrene – You’ll need a few scrap pieces and a tube 1/2″ diameter 12.7mm thick (roughly)
A Leather Tape Measure Holster
Brass Round Wire (1mm)
Assorted small capacitors and resistors.

Now if you’re going to follow this route aside from the raw materials you’re going to need to print out the photo’s for the top of the counterfeit boards and Jairus Whitley has been oh so kind to have posted this file to print (Which I snagged in case the site goes down, so your actually downloading this from me):

[ PDF ]

This PDF file also has the template for the riser you’ll need to add that holds the nixie tubes, which is more than handy.

Update – March 28 2011

So my new acquaintance over at has snagged my PDF which was really Jairus Whitley’s so “all’s fair..” as they say. I thought I’d return the favor and post some of her sweet build photo’s, but not all of them I mean you need to go there for a visit too.

This is the Sanyo Calc Un-Opened.

Top Left Side View

Top Right Side

The Real Deal

Getting Started

Update – April 10th 2011

So here in Ontario, Canada – I managed to track down some styrene. There’s a company called Evergreen Scale Models. And they supply sheets of styrene for model railroad enthusiasts. I had to hunt high and low to find this I started at Grand River Hobbies in Kitchener but they only had the sheets, finally I found both the 1/2″ tubes and the sheets at Hobbies and Toys in Kitchener up by Sportsworld drive near the Empire 12 movie theatre. Its actually in the same mall as the Lindor Chocolate Outlet so win win.. parts and chocolate.

Styrene Parts

Next I’m going to need to print out the aforementioned PDF above as it not only has the artwork I’ll need but also has the template for the riser we’ll need to build.

Now I wasn’t able to get my hands on a sheet of plexi-glass but I had mentioned to some co-workers that I was building this and when the facilities manager was talking with the HVAC guy when he was doing repairs on the AC in my work office. She kept some old circuit boards so that should give me a fair amount of extra bells and whistles for this build. There’s one circuit board that’s large enough to cut the board I want from. My plan is to dremel off all the solder from the back then pull clean the parts from the top for later use. Then with my trusty dremel table jig saw that my old man past down to me cut the board to the right shape, following the contours in the print out. (will post pic’s as I take them)

Update May 27, 2011

So I tried taking an existing circuit board and grinding off all the bits, but this has proven as much as pain in the butt as it is tedious to do. So I looked at other bits of plastic to cut my board out of. Finally I went back to the model shop and picked up a 1.0mm thick sheet of the plastic I originally bought that was designed for model train builders. I also picked up some of these weird glue tubes thingys – they were cheap so I’ll try making my own nixie tubes out of them.

First I cut out the paper version of the board I had printed from the PDF linked above. Then I traced it onto the plastic and then cut that out. I used some scissors initially as the plastic was both soft and thin enough. Which was advantageous. I used my dremel tool to smooth out and round the corners. As the plastic didn’t really allow me to cut some of the corners as well as I wanted.

Belt Gizmo Build

Tracing The Board

Gizmo Cut Out.

Now that I’ve got the image traced and cut out I take some white glue and apply it to the plastic smoothing with a piece of card stock till it’s thin and even on all sides. In the event that common sense often eludes you, make sure that you put down some plastic or in this case I used some wax paper. Make sure the glue goes on really thin. or the moisture in it will cause some warping in the paper. it really doesn’t take much glue at all on the surface.

Applying Glue

Once the glue has been applied evenly you’ll want to carefully place your trimmed print out to it. And then fold the wax paper over on it and put something heavy on it, like a big book. At least until it dries.

Update Sept 4th 2011

So new update, I created a PDF file for those of us that are making our Nixie tubes our selves just print this file and cut them out sliding them into whatever your using for the tube.

Nixie Tube PDF

It’s my plan to adhere the trimmed printed nixie guts on some very thin styrene for extra durability. I also plan to but some other wires and stuff in behind it as well. Will post images as I get the build out progressing. I also need to get some new images of the current state of my build. They did some work on the AC unit at my office and the tech was just going to toss the parts he pulled so I managed to get my hands on a few boards to gut for parts. Finding any parts here in Canada seems far and few between. Radio Shack used to be around to do that but all the Canadian franchises became ‘The Source’ and that place just sucks. I can’t believe they can stay in business, but I digress the real world is callin’.

[More To Follow]


Jack Douds Belt Circuit
Jarius Whitley Circuit Board (PDF)
Nixie Tube (PDF)

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