Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

For posts specifically relating to fusor design, construction, and operation.
ca103
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Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 2:46 am
Real name: Cade Allen

Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by ca103 » Fri May 03, 2013 1:41 am

Hello!
My name is Cade Allen and I have been wanting to build a Fusor for a long time.
I love Physics and other science topics. I want to build a demo fusor to learn more about fusion and/or plasma. I am not a typical kid who sits inside all day and plays video games. I am willing to spend about $300 to build a small demo fusor. In the future, I want to build an actual fusion reactor.


Here is my parts list so far:


Power Supply: http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=459


Vacuum Pump: http://www.amazon.com/Robinair-15115-Va ... acuum+pump

Pressure Vessel: Glass Jar

Reactor Grid: Stainless Steel Grid from shapeways

Thanks,
Cade Allen

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Richard Hull
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by Richard Hull » Fri May 03, 2013 2:35 pm

Cade, This is very young, even for a demo device. If you have the right stuff and a good older mentor, (parent or teacher), you might be the youngest to build a demo device, yet. Good luck and keep us informed.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

Physics lovers
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by Physics lovers » Tue May 07, 2013 9:51 am

Your idea is good, but if the pressure vessel is glass bottles, glass bottles are likely to split.

Nick Collyge
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by Nick Collyge » Fri May 24, 2013 2:46 pm

Where are you from, Cade? My brother and I are 11 and 12 years old and trying to build a fusor. It would be great to talk to someone our age working on a project like this. We live in Arkansas. (United States)

Nick Collyge

AllenWallace
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by AllenWallace » Sat May 25, 2013 4:33 am

>Your idea is good, but if the pressure vessel is glass bottles, glass bottles are likely to split.

I don't agree. Using a wide mouth canning jar is an excellent vacuum chamber for a small demo fusor and other small vacuum experiments. They are designed for vacuum service, or at least down to 17 torr.
You may have read Shawn Calson's "Working in a Vacuum" which used a canning jar vacuum chamber.

It is VERY important that you shield the glass jar with plastic because any flaw in the glass may cause an implosion resulting in flying glass. Glass shards in your hand in inconvenient but glass in your eye is beyond inconvenient. I used a discarded 2 liter clear plastic pop bottle which fit neatly around the vacuum chamber.

I also know that a simple flyback transformer driven with two 2N3055 transistors can supply a low-current high-voltage source that weakly shows plasma including star mode. I had to turn off the lights but the plasma was all there to see. If you use a flyback from a computer CRT monitor, you have to do some tricks because the polarity of the flyback with it's build in diodes is backwards for fusors.

Good luck,

Allen Wallace

Brian_Gage
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by Brian_Gage » Sat May 25, 2013 7:47 pm

Hi Kade and Welcome,
Hope you take the time to read the FAQ's, and all the warnings about the dangers of HV.

I include these two quotes-
">Your idea is good, but if the pressure vessel is glass bottles, glass bottles are likely to split."
and-

"I don't agree. Using a wide mouth canning jar is an excellent vacuum chamber for a small demo fusor and other small vacuum experiments. They are designed for vacuum service, or at least down to 17 torr.
You may have read Shawn Calson's "Working in a Vacuum" which used a canning jar vacuum chamber.

It is VERY important that you shield the glass jar with plastic because any flaw in the glass may cause an implosion resulting in flying glass. Glass shards in your hand in inconvenient but glass in your eye is beyond inconvenient. I used a discarded 2 liter clear plastic pop bottle which fit neatly around the vacuum chamber.">

Kade, I'm blind, and lost my sight from a stupid accident at the age of 18. Granted, that was from fireworks and not physics, but it only takes a moment. You will get a lot of good advice here, but listening is a critical component.
A few members on this forum have told me they used various glass chambers, including canning jars, to achieve their first plasma, but only for a demo fusor. I have a suggestion for a tough safety shield. It comes from a 1960's science magazine article describing the construction of a pyrex tube plasma chamber and power supply. Build a 5 sided box of 1/2" thick boards, then screw a thick plexiglass type shield across the front. Mount your canning jar inside this, with suitable holes on the ends, top or bottom for HV leads and vacuum line. (A lot tougher than a plastic pop bottle).
My father made home-brew beer. Once, the bottles started exploding in a closet. There were quart Coke bottle shards imbedded in a 3/8" thick birch hardwood door. Flying glass from an implosion will do similar damage.

Microwave transformmers with a Variac and CW (Cocroft-Walton) voltage doublers or quadruplers will also do for plasma. Remember, the high voltage from any plasma producing power supply can kill. Sometimes, HV will perform deadly tricks, jumping and arcing along paths never expected.

Be safe.
Best Regards, Brian

ca103
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by ca103 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:57 am

I know this thread is probably dead, and I am sorry about that.
Anyways, I have been busy with school and many other things.
I am thinking about building my demo fusor before Summer ends. Do you think the Robinair pump will hold up? Also, I might use a T pipe joint instead if a glass mason jar.

Thanks for all of the helpful info! (Sorry about my typing, it's currently about 2:50 in the morning.)

-Cade Allen

Julian Kang
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by Julian Kang » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:07 am

At 1.5CFM, it may take a few minutes to empty out your chamber, a review says that it brings i down to 30 inHg, which is above atmospheric pressure, though I'm pretty sure he made an error and its 30 mm inHg. I still think you should choose another rough vacuum pump just to be sure.

Julian

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by Chris Bradley » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:30 am

Julian Kang wrote:At 1.5CFM, it may take a few minutes to empty out your chamber, a review says that it brings i down to 30 inHg, which is above atmospheric pressure, though I'm pretty sure he made an error and its 30 mm inHg.
Julian, I'm sorry to say that this is really very misinformed.

In general, if you have a question, feel free to ask it... If you have a piece of experience from an experiment or professional knowledge, please post it... but let someone else address questions if you don't have an answer.

Jack Rosky
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Re: Building a Fusor at 12 Years Old

Post by Jack Rosky » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:20 pm

My friend tried to use the same high voltage system as you. It did not work, infact it broke! I don't know if it was his fault or the actual device. I hope the same doesn't happen to you. Just giving you a heads up.
Sincerely,
Jack Rosky
If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.
-Issac Newton

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