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Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:30 pm
by mattman

Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

If someone built say a 1'6" X 1'6" X 1'6" machine with built in vacuum pumps, would people be interested in buying one?

Maybe it was just a fusor. I can imagine a cost of ~400-500 dollars...

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:34 am
by KitemanSA
First question... don't know.
Second question, yes.

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:00 am
by kunkmiester
Don't know that you'd get to the $500 range. Materials cost is somewhat fixed, but you need a fair number to justify mass production of some of the parts which is the only way to get really cheap.

Unless you looking at selling at least a thousand or so, your price will probably be well above a thousand.

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:58 pm
by mattman

You serious? Because I can get a machine to sell.

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:35 pm
by hanelyp
This suggests a topic for Design, how to make a hobby polywell affordable.

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:39 pm
by KitemanSA
mattman wrote:Kiteman,

You serious? Because I can get a machine to sell.
If you can produce a VIABLE 1.5' fusor with all the trimmings; chamber, pump, grid, injector, power sources, control system, etc. then heck yes I would buy it for $500.00! I'd even do it if the CHAMBER was the 1.5' mentioned. I may even go a bit higher. Say maybe $5000?

Viable means the pressure must get down low enough to permit beam-beam fusion, the power sources must provide the voltage and current... No knock-off crap please.

I suspect if someone could make a system that could hold a 50cm fusor grid in a high vac, high power system, they could sell them to colleges all over the world for ~$50k.

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:40 pm
by KitemanSA
KickStarter anyone?

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:57 pm
by prestonbarrows
$500 is a stupendously low price. There is no way that is close to possible. Here's a quick list of items and rough prices (some from online, some pulled out of my ass from experience building similar systems).

An off-the-shelf 1.5' (18") diameter vacuum chamber alone is in the ballpark of $5000-10,000.

-Another few hundred in vacuum flanges and o-rings and fittings to connect the pumps.
-A roughing pump is ~$2000-5000
-A turbo pump is ~$2000-5000
-Vacuum feed thrus for electrical, gas, etc. $500-1000
-High-voltage power supply for grid $5000-50000
-Low-voltage supply for coils $500-2000
-Gas manifolds and valves $500
-Electron filaments $50-200
-Filament power supply $50-200
-Pressure gauges ~$200
-Misc. wiring and terminals $200-500

-Plus who knows how much development, fabrication, and assembly time...

There is a very wide variety depending on the exact specs you choose, but there is no way you are getting below a few thousand dollars at the very least. The hobbyist can get much much lower prices by scrounging random surplus hardware from ebay etc. but you can't really do that if you are going to market it as a system. In that case, you need a standardized set of hardware and the only way to get that is buying new.

The only way to get under $500 would be to really neuter the system so it was basically one of those 'plasma ball' desktop toys with some solenoid coils and electron sources added in. More towards the scale of 6" across. It would probably have to be a sealed system to save on pump and feed thru costs which means it could never to actual fusion. It would basically be an expensive nightlamp. Still could be cool though.

A simple fusor under a glass belljar would be much more feasible for a cheap system and look just at neat to the average person.

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:45 pm
by prestonbarrows
Another way to put it in perspective:
An 18" X 18" X 1/4" sheet of stainless steel alone costs $545
An 18" X 18" X 1/4" sheet of aluminum alone costs $88

So, even if you weld up your own vacuum chamber from scratch, just the raw materials for the chamber alone are going to be over your $500 budget...

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:13 pm
by mattman

I could get a machine to sell back in June. I was referencing Mark Suppes equipment. I helped sell Mark his stuff back in August.

Also, if anyone wants a copy of a Polywell PhD Thesis, please let me know.

Re: Is there a market for A hobbyist Machine?

Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:16 pm
by D Tibbets
Judging by the negative response when someone tried to promote a retail fusor, or even a kit on, there is little market and definite antipathy towards such an effort. The amateur fusioneers seem to be mostly tinkerers that like to build their own Fusors. Certainly very much more is learned by such an endeavor than simply buying a finished product.

There are also also significant risks that have to be appreciated. These include vacuum chamber implosions, high voltage electrocution dangers, x- ray awareness and interventions if needed, friable electronics, etc. The liability for a commercial product would need to be carefully considered.

As for cost, there are two types of amateur Fusors
The demo fusor and the neutron producing fusor. The latter is a step up as better vacuum control, a deuterium source, and neutron detection equipment are required.
A demo fusor will give almost all of the benefits of the deuterium burning and neutron producing fusors, except of course for the actual denonstration of fusion.

As for cost, it can be as little or as much as you wish. As a cheep example of a series of demo fusors I have built. The equipment list and cost estimates follow.

1) Vacuum chambers- various stainless steel bowels, mayonase jars, plumbing pipes, and pressure cookers. I personally like the pressure cookers as they can occasionally be found in thrift stores used and they are quick to open up for maintainance or modification.

2) Pumps- a used dual vane roughing pump can be bought used or even a new Harbor Freight pump, for less than $300, perhaps much less. I bought mine off E-bay less than $50, the shipping cost was as much.
A roughing pump like this is adequate for most of the demo fusor projects. If you want deeper vacuums you also need a diffusion pump or turbomoleculer pump. The diffusion pumps can be cheap used. I think I paid ~$100 for mine. Some additional assembly, coupling, etc. may be needed. Turbo molecular pumps and their controllers are best but also expensive. And diffusion pump oil can be painfully expensive, but still under several hundred dollars for a good supply.

3)Valves and piping/ tubing- can be very expensive or as cheap as adequate items (some might deny this, at least for neutron producing fusors) can be bought at hardware stores. I think this category may be the greatest cost for me as I have chewed through various combinations as I try to make adequate solutions. Those brass needle valves, etc. add up.

4) High voltage feed through- These can be very expensive or cheap as spark plugs, epoxy glued contraptions, etc. These are adequate for demo fusors if you don't mind some epoxy derived fumes in your demo fusor .

5) View ports- necessary and can be expensive. Can also be dirt cheap as almost any robust glass will do. Sealing them to the chamber can be an adventure, And X ray considerations must be observed, generally not a problem if you stay below 10,000 Volts. This level of operation is fine for a demo fusor where you are only interested in seeing , imaging, possibly other measurements of the plasma. Actual fusion requires additional considerations as higher voltages are required and contamination may be harmful.

6) High Voltage power supply.-These can be professional machines costing many thousands of dollars, or cheap Neon sign transformers, etc, mixed in with diodes, and other parts. An appreciation of the dangers of high voltage and the design limitations is critical. For neutron producing fusors, more expensive transformers, etc are needed. Used dental x-ray machine transformers is one source, but building a system can be challenging. In this and other aspects the forum contribution is extremely helpful.

7) Neutron detection- This can be electronic neutron counters costing several thousand dollars. Some have built their own with the essential component being the neutron detecting tube. Other components can be built from scratch or by modifying a Geiger counter. Bubble detectors are a commercial product that can be bought for a few hundred dollars. The consists of a contained gel that is like a superheated liquid. A neutron will cause a localized vaporization that produces a visable bubble. These are very useful and almost fool proof. The only disadvantages I know of is that they are not as sensitive as the best electronic counters, and they may last only several years.

8) Deuterium source- This can be Deuterium gas or heavy water with the proper introduction valves, electrolysis , drying agents, etc, etc.
For demo fusors, no special gas is needed. You can use air or any other gas that is not toxic and can be managed safty. You could use helium like the professionals, or hydrogen, etc.

9) Lots and lots of knowledge about vacuums, pashin breakdown, materials, construction, electronics, etc. that is picked up of nessisity when you build your own. A commercial product bypasses this learning process, and much of the fun. You also gain a more extensive vocabulary of choice words.

If you want to grab a fusor off of the shelf, unless you are aiming for a neutron producing machine, a typical florescent tube or better yet a neon tube or plasma globe does the same thing. Playing with the vacuum and voltage and grids though requires a fusor.

Dan Tibbets