[Noisebridge-discuss] High-Voltage

John Butterfield johnb003 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 10 06:45:32 UTC 2013


I'm moving to the bay area from Los Angeles in a couple weeks and I'm
curious about using the space there for high voltage experiments.

*1) Is the space at all equipped for high voltage experiments, or does
anyone know of a HV lab in the area that's open to members like a hacker
space... or want to start one?*

I have a difficult time explaining exactly what it is I mean when I say,
"high voltage experiments".  The first thing that pops into most people's
minds is, "oh you want to build a Tesla Coil", and while I wouldn't be
opposed to building one, I wouldn't want to slap something together just to
see big sparks. I'm more interested in the empirical exploration of the
physics and mastery of the subject than about the spectacle, and then
applying that knowledge to explore new ideas.

Specifically, I'd love to get some help building an extreme electromagnet
that can be tuned to test the effectiveness of using a magnetic field to
quench a spark gap discharge from a high voltage capacitor. I've already
built an adjustable spark gap that I'd like to combine with the
electromagnet, though I would be happy rebuilding the adjustable spark gap
with a sturdier more precise design.

Also, I'd absolutely love to get some HV scope readings of the spark gap
circuit and it would be really fascinating to see ultra-high-speed video of
the spark gap.

So, hopefully that gives you some idea of what I'm looking to do, and with
that said...

*2) Is anyone interested in working on any of these projects with me?*

*3) Does anyone have any knowledge or shared interest in any of the

Fusors / Fusion
* Building a basic Farnsworth/Hirsch fusor (basically a toy just to see the
mock idea of a real fusor -- like in a bell-jar)
* Building a DT fusor, with a proper vacuum chamber and neutron detector
        * by extension, the polywell design (Robert Bussard)
* Building any other kind of focus fusion reactor

Vacuum Tubes
* Finding and using old vacuum tubes suitable for HV circuits
(semiconductors are a real bitch with HV)
* Blowing glass to build custom vacuum tubes

Oh, I'd also be interested in chatting if anyone's familiar with handling
super conductors and cryogenic cooling systems.


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