Anyone know where I can get translucent or transparent rigid tubes for use as tritium vial holders? Basically, I want to replace the cheap keychain plastic structure that my vials came in: hexagonal, only hold one vial each, has the company logo stamped on it, too transparent. (I want these things to glow as evenly as possible, not obviously show the vial through the plastic.) Material should be translucent (transparent, failing that), rigid, and fairly tough. Basically needs to end up being a strong damage/scratch resistant housing for the vials I'm putting inside. I haven't opened up any of the original cases yet, but the vials appear from the outside to be 4mm X 20 mm. I want to end up with either 3 or 7 vials, arranged in a circle, touching along their long axes. (Really, a triangle for the three, circle of six with one inside for the seven.)
I've searched Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Ebay, and Amazon with no such luck. Either I get opaque pipes/tubes (household water piping), or it's non-rigid (water hoses, etc). If I can get tubes (are they always "pipes" if they're rigid, even when small?) of the right-ish size, that'd be great. If it's plastic rods which need to be drilled/machined a little, I should be able to handle that too.
If you use the clear plastic tubing from TAP Plastics, and it is too clear for your taste, try this. Take some 600 grit sandpaper and sand the outside of the tube. It gives it a nice translucent look and does not diminish too much of the light coming from the tritium vial.
I compared a clear tube and a sanded tube side-by-side with a tritium vial inside each (in the dark) and you cannot see much difference.
Re: buying bare vials: I actually bought these before I found out about CPF, but next time I think I will.
I also saw some tritium spheres here on CPF, which are much brighter, but they seem to be out of stock a lot of the time.