Sorry for the lack of updates, work is continuing but it is virtual.
I'll spell out my plans and progress here not so much because I think anyone will be interested, but for my own record.
First and foremost, I have decided on a semi-final project title, this machine shall hanceforth be known as the *AETHERIC TRANSLUMINATOR "Pocket Colossus"* or just Transluminator for "short" Thanks Doc for the inspiration on Aetheric.
I plan to have quite a few dynamic showpieces (things which can move/blink under programmatic control) short list is:
4x Incandescent Edison-style (led) lightbulbs wired to separate relays but all dimmed through the same dimmer, which I plan to have under software control some day, but not in the first pass.
2x 'furnace' style LEDs probably red/amber which will live in the two upright pods and probably be tied to disk activity.
1x Hydraulic Pressure meter under mechanical servo control
1x (by 4) mechanical"fuel gauge" with 4 separate needles which can be deflected under software control
several RGB 'pixel' style LEDs lighting up at least the bubble-thermometer and probably pump
20x or so Red/Green/Amber LEDs scattered in strategic places to cause back/front lights and simulate a glowing/moving computer bank
6x (a 4-digit and 2-digit) Nixie Display.
Everything aforementioned will be under the control of the GPIO plug of a single RaspberryPi Zero-W: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/ra ... pi-zero-w/
I will also be using at least one daughter board, the TLC5947 breakout board shown here: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1429
I've wired it up and it works great, can drive arbitrarily enough LEDs on a single loop and is addressable with the PI's SPI bus (the I2C bus is being used for just the Nixie tubes). I've also tested the PWM output to drive a servo and it works very well.
Will very likely need some MOSFETs to drive high-voltage toggles like the 24v relays and deflect the fuel-gauge needles, but I have piles of those lying around and will likely wire them up discreetly.
The console application works great, I'll publish the source code for it eventually, but here is an example of it in action (the pi is on my wifi at 10.0.0.62, this is from my main linux dev box, eventually I will put the zero on a wired RJ45 dongle and wire it to an on-board hub so I am not reliant on network connectivity)
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<falcon>[curt|/raid/r/dv/ps/dna/devkit/dna]$ telnet 10.0.0.62 9000
Connected to 10.0.0.62.
Escape character is '^]'.
AETHERIC TRANSLUMINATOR "Pocket Colossus" command usage:
nixie <1/2> <0000-9999>
led <1-24> <0-100>
rgb <1-8> <r:0-100> <g:0-100> <b:0-100>
pwm <clock> <low> <high>
% nixie 2 4432
Set nixie bank 2 to 
I'm planning to power the pi directly from the PC 5v supply, and run the reset externally for emergencies. I've left generous amounts of space under the build deck for wiring and that's where most of this is going to live. I'll post pics once' it's not an uninteresting tangle of prototype circuitry on my test bench.
The intention is to write some automation scripts to turn lights on/off in fun and interesting ways, glowing/blinking/running whatever. Not sure exactly how I'm going to customize it yet except for brute force. But I want the Nixie's to display system up time, or coolant temperature or something, and the lights to likewise respond to what the system is doing, so there will be some feedback.