Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

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Ryan Atkinson
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Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

Post by Ryan Atkinson » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:46 am

Hello all,

I have been dreaming of building a fusor for quite some time, but I have encountered a problem. I am only a freshman in high school, so my budget is extremely limited. If I asked all of the teachers in the science department at my school for a small donation (around $20-35) I could get around $600-700. Is this asking a little too much from my teachers? Thank you.

-Ryan Atkinson
You are now aware of your breathing.

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Carl Willis
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Re: Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

Post by Carl Willis » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:09 am

There's nothing stopping you from asking, but keep in mind that this may put your teachers in a difficult spot.

Your teachers have a professional relationship with you and the other students that discourages (and probably prohibits) the exchange of gifts, money, or items of considerable value.

The best way to ask for money is to present a detailed and unique proposal, and find a creative way to reward the people who contribute. PayPal donations, Kickstarter, and letters to local industries are some ideas that are more likely to be successful in my opinion.

-Carl
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Rich Feldman
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Re: Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

Post by Rich Feldman » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:08 am

Ryan, here's another funding option that comes to mind.
But first:
I think it would be out of order for someone in your position to raise money and buy anything for a fusor, before you find and engage a suitable adult mentor.

Suppose you break your project into generally useful chunks, as Carl suggested to another wannabe fusioneer. Maybe one or more of them could be funded by the school and/or by donations, with the understanding that it's school property.

For example, a vacuum system.
Perhaps your high school physics lab has (or wants) a mechanical pump and a plastic bell jar. Then you could ask or tell your teachers about new demonstrations and science fair projects (not just fusors) which would become possible with lower vacuum pressures. Make a shopping list with estimated prices -- people here won't hand you one, but would gladly review one. Read some FAQs. Diffusion pump and fluid. Vacuum gauges appropriate for the pressure range. Fittings, valves, pipes, hoses?

A vacuum chamber for general service in the lecture hall wants good visibility -- perhaps a clear bell jar, or a metal chamber with an inexpensive webcam peering through a small window. You don't need a fancy sphere with a bunch of large and small Conflat flanges. Maybe another student has a parent who can get TIG welding done.

One barrier might be the safety policies of your school adminstration. Have other students conducted extracurricular experiments on school property, or using school equipment, or assisted by school faculty and staff?
An adult mentor by your side couldn't hurt.

Good luck!
-Rich
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

Tyler Christensen
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Re: Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

Post by Tyler Christensen » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:12 am

Another approach is to just get a part time job. Given that it'll take year(s) to build a full neutron producing fusor, if you run the numbers even with a pretty insignificant number of weekly hours, you can keep up with the project's costs.

That's how I paid for 80% of my high school science/engineering shenanigans. It's very nice to be freed from asking people for money every time you need to make a purchase.

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Re: Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

Post by JakeJHecla » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:46 am

I agree with Tyler. A part time job should do it. As for donations, don't ask teachers for funding. They cannot financially help you with school related projects (district policies usually forbid it), and it places them in an extremely awkward situation. In addition, building a fusor is a task many begin and few finish. Most teachers will (rightfully) pass you off as not being serious. Until you've demonstrated your knowledge, determination and skill, they have no reason to believe you're actually going to do anything. As you've probably seen, there are countless young people whose ambitions outstrip their abilities and their drive to complete a given project. The best way to ensure you never become one is to fund your first big project personally. It will teach you the value of DIY solutions and prepare you for the challenges ahead in your future projects.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Conrad Farnsworth
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Re: Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

Post by Conrad Farnsworth » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:32 am

Ryan,

I would personally recommend raising your own funds. Doing this gives the project value. Knowing that you worked those 12 and 14 hour days for to fund a project that you have a passion for is really something else. Plus, this gives your work a sense of purpose. A specific idea for a source of project funding would be repairing iPod screens. You can easily make $50/hr if you have the business. I prefer this method because it allows you to schedule work around school work which is a major plus! The only downside is business...you may make $50/hr but it comes in bursts of 1-3 hours a week. You could also work a full-time summer job (which is how a majority of my project was actually funded). This sure beats begging for money though.

Hope that provided some inspiration. Best of luck!

-Conrad

Conrad Farnsworth
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Re: Limited budget. Is this a good way to acquire money?

Post by Conrad Farnsworth » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:33 am


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