More from the Neon Program

More projects beaming out of the Neon program.

Key -> HgAr = Mercury with Argon gas; creates a powder blue color, Ne = Neon gas; no vacancy red :)


Rick’s first project in Neon was a multi-area project utilizing the woodshop for the frame and the Neon area to construct the penguin.

Dimensions: 26″w x 38’h, 10mm glass filled with HgAr

From 50K feet, how was it done?

  • Rick started off with a pattern for the glass.
  • From the pattern, he inverted the pattern to redraw in reverse.  This is required so that the surface of the penguin lays flat on a surface, while the electrodes and complex bends push to the back.
  • To ensure that all of the elctrodes allow the penguin parts to display at the same level, he made sure that all the glass ends were cut to the same size (Note, the glass penetrates the wood base and is wired to the transformer in the back)
  • The wood box enclosure (cavity towrds the wall), was contructed in the woodshop.
  • The holes for the glass pieces were measured based on the actual units for a perfect fit.
  • All 4 glass units are connected in series to a ~6.5KV30mA transformer
  • Rick also added a “white wash” of paint, adding accent and dimesion, to make penguin standout against the black background


The Knot

Devon, as a professional scientific glassblower, had no issue attemping this advanced neon project for his first MMS Neon  project.

Dimensions: 10″ diameter (front curcle), 11″ diamater back circle, ~5’depth, Front piece filled with HgAr, the back piece filled with Ne; 10mm glass

From 50K feet, how was it done?

  • A pattern was made for the knot (blue) and the backlight circle (red)
  • Symmetry is significantly challenging at this scale, compounded with the “weaving” of the glass to achive the knot in 1 continuous piece of glass.
  • The design of this piece utilizes a indirect lighting technique (backlight) that allows the red glow to be seen without actually seeing the glass.
  • Using the black arylic disks allows for the blue knot to stadout against the red backlighting.
  • The Ne and HgAr units are connected in series to a ~4kV transformer
  • By design, allowing the ends of the knot to extend beyond the surface of the front disc, allows for some of the blue and red to mix on the wall in the background. This effect adds additional color mixing, enhancing the overall piece.
  • The construction of the discs and placement of the glass allow for shadows to reveal. This effect adds volume to the piece (as seen above witht the light blue shadow)

Excellent job by both!

We play on Wednesday nights at the Norwich site.  Please swing by or ask the artists for specifics about their pieces.

New works from the Neon program

We have some great projects erupting from the Neon program!!!

As you read, HgAr = Mercury/Argon – gas emanates a powder blue color
Ne = Neon gas, emanates the “no vacancy” red color seen on many neon signs

Self Portrait

Starting off with the latest fantabulousness from Gary. An excellent job working with a multimedia project that required the Neon area and woodshop.

The dimensions are 38″w x 24″h, 10mm diameter glass, filled with Ne (red), and a white phosphor-coated 10mm tube filled with HrAr (blue) to create white.

From 50K feet, how was it done?

  • Gary constructed a wooden frame utilizing the Norwich wood shop.
  • He mounted a printed image to 1/8″ white acrylic sheet.
  • Using a x-acto knife, he carefully cut out the image from the printout to expose the white acrylic (lower right)
  • A paper pattern was drawn and used to create the glasses
  • A separate pattern was created to create an outline around the image in the lower right
  • The glasses are filled with Ne gas and are mounted on top of the print
  • Underneath the acrylic, a white-coated tube filled with HgAr was used to construct the outline that glows through the acrylic cutout



For Peter’s 3rd Neon project, he created some ghosts to hang up in his son’s room

Size (to be added) constructed with acrylic, 10mm green phosphor coated glass with HgAr for the green ghost, Ne with clear tubing for the red ghost

From 50K feet, how was it done?

  • Starting with a paper pattern, Peter constructed the ghosts in such a way that the eyes could connect without distracting from the image.
  • Looking at the green ghost, the eyes are made of clear glass, and the ghost itself, from green phosphor-coasted glass.  This allows the ghost to have 2  colors in the final piece.  Clear glass filled with HgAr – blue, green phosphor glass filled with HgAr produces green.
  • From the final glass form, Peter then cut out the acrylic to exactly match the shape of the ghost
  • Mounting the transformer and french hinge on the back allows the ghost to seem like it is gloating on the wall



Sam’s first neon piece!!!

Size (to be added), 10mm clear glass filled with Ne, mounted on (wood, type to be added)

From 50K feet, how was it done?

  • It all starts with the paper pattern, drawing the actual size shape and then flipping it over to bend the glass
    • Note: all Neon pieces are bent backwards to accommodate electrodes and other mounting supports
  • Once created, the wood background was cutout and the glass was mounted.
  • Utilizing a french hinge, the piece can hang on the wall and appear as if it is floating


The hook dancer

Our Neon area champion (Rosie) created this fish dancer on a hook

Size (to be added), made with 10mm and 8mm glass filled with Ne and HgAr

From 50K feet, how was it done?

  • As seen in the photos the pattern was created (backwards) where the order of the bends can be figured out along with how to bed the glass.
  • glass can be bent in 1 continuous section or in smaller sections that are welded/fused together.
  • the final pieces were mounted on acrylic


The Pink Pig

Another Rosie creation the Pink Pig

Size and other infor to be added

From 50K feet, how was it done?

  • It all starts with the pattern.  Sections can be bent individually and assembled at the end.
  • Undesirable sections can be painted (block out paint) to hide them where pieces connect.
    • Note the pigtail in the final that connects to the MOM.  Using the block-out paint, Rosie was able to mask the light from the connecting pieces.

We play on Wednesday nights at the Norwich site.  Please swing by or ask the artists for specifics about their pieces.

Neon Italy

Another neon project from Peter Merrick.

Background on this piece. This is the Italy “boot” in neon mounted to Walnut with engraved text. It is to commemorate a family vacation I took to Italy this year with the engraved text coming from sayings that we picked up from the trip.

Some detail on the process. The bending of the glass tube took roughly 15 hours over the course of a week. The Walnut was purchased rough, planed and jointed at the makerspace to get the boards square, and glued up into a panel. The panel was then cut down to size and run through the drum sander to even out any imperfections from the glue up. The engraved text was designed using inkscape and imported into CorelDraw for printing on “Katy Perry”, the 30W laser cutter. This panel was at the max cutting area for Katy Perry at 32″ x 18″. The cut took nearly 6 hours to complete. A box was constructed for the back of the panel to be used for concealing the electronics as well as a mounting point for the French cleat.

Total time to complete this piece was roughly 50 hours over the span of 2 weeks. Total material cost including glass, transformer, wood, stain, filling the tube with neon gas, and time on the laser cutter was roughly $200.