Monday, May 24, 2010

Fusor Update and Pictures

Sorry I haven't written for a while, but the science fair and school have completely consumed my life.

This is just a quick update on the fusor. 

I am currently upgrading my vacuum system and and adding in a diffusion pump, which is a type of high vacuum pump used in series with a mechanical pump, this pump should allow me to reach pressures of less than 1 millitorr. I am also going to build a 50kV/5mA power supply, which should allow me to do fusion. I am also building a 6", spherical stainless steel chamber, complete with conflat high vacuum flanges, a nice high voltage feedthrough, an ion source operating off the magnetron principle, and a nice viewport.

Recently, I also entered my fusor in the science fair as part of a project titled "Effects of an Outer Grid on an Inertial Electrostatically Confined Fusion Reactor", and I received many awards! 

I received the following awards:

  • Mars Society Grand Prize
  • 1st Place in Physics at the District Science Fair
  • District Fair Grand Prize 
  • Superior Rating at Districts
  • Akron Council of Engineering and Scientific Societies Grand Prize 
  • Bridgestone America Best Physics Project
  • 2nd in Physics at NEOSEF
  • Superior Rating at NEOSEF
  • The Office of Naval Research Naval Science Award
  • International Society of Automation Grand Prize
  • Superior Rating and Perfect Score at Ohio State Science Fair (no prizes like 1st 2nd or 3rd were given out)

I also received a perfect score at states, meaning my work will be published in the Ohio Academy of Science's Publication. And I will attend a Junior Academy of Science Conference in D.C. 

Me at states in front of my project
Now for some pictures of the fusor, these were taken during, or just prior to, it's last run before being critically damaged. 

This picture is my favorite, makes an excellent desktop background

Another one of my favorites, camera is looking down an e-beam

Yet another of my favorites

BIG bugle jet


  1. It's good to hear from you again. Was kinda worried this had gone the same way most of my stuff does :P
    I like the first image as a background, though I had to crop it a bit to get it looking good on my 16:9 moniter. I put it up here if anyone wants it:

  2. Not sure where you are, but leaked radiation from a nuclear reactor in Vermont has created an abundance of Tritium...

  3. Not me, I'm in Ohio, and this type of reactor doesn't produce much or any tritium. Generally the levels of tritium IN THE CHAMBER are less than one part per trillion.

  4. I want one. You should post a build log to inspire others to do the same.

  5. I may do that when I begin the push for fusion later this summer. But I won't make it a how to type of thing, in order to build one of these, you can;t just slap a few parts together and flip a switch, you really have to know what you are doing and do your research, that way you stay safe too.

  6. I have a few (simple) questions about your design. If you can find it in your time to send me a quick email I would really appreciate it:

  7. Coming up on a month since your last update. Would love to see how your push to fusion is coming ( though I realize it's only "early summer").

    Also, are you building this in your home, or in a workspace somewhere?

    Finally, what are you using to make your photos? What type of settings on your digital camera do you use is what I'm getting at?

    Thanks for taking the time,


  8. A diff pump is good, almost impossible to kill, but is messy without a baffle.

    I would *strongly* recommend either 2nd hand turbo or a baffle on your inlet to the diffusion pump. They can be water cooled (cheap, goodish) or use liquid nitrogen (not cheap, fantastic) and will stop oil from back-streaming into your chamber.

    Well done!

    -James Garry

  9. Thad, I have a small lab/shop area in my basement that my parents allow me to use for experiments, the shop is mainly for woodworking, but I can do basic metal work in it as well.

    I am using a Casio Ex-Fc100 digital camera with all manual settings, each picture is taken with slightly different settings. This allows me to have near the flexibility of a DSLR for a fraction of the price, also, the Ex-Fc100 has high speed capabilities (210 fps, 410 fps, 1000 fps video, 30 fps stills) and 720p HD capabilities.

    James, I am planning on using a diffusion pump with a homemade adjustable baffle, or possibly a throttle valve. While turbo pumps are great, they are expensive, and the controllers for them are expensive as well, economically, the turbo pump is not a good solution for me right now.

  10. Some of your readers may be wondering where to get some of the components mentioned in the post. Here is a company that sells Copper Gasket, Conflat Flange, Feedthrough, and Vacuum Wire. Along with many other scientific Vacuum Components.

  11. Hey,

    Its good to read such quality stuff that is really helpful for vaccum flange manufacturer to acquire depth-in knowledge about vaccum technology.

    I would look forward for such amazing share!

    Keep sharing!