BRL-CAD / STL Progress

30 05 2009

Shout out to Michael Davis. He read about my BRL-CAD STL problems and suggested I use combinations instead of regions. This largely fixed my STL export issues, and the export is generally much faster. I still have to check that a service bureau can use the STL files produced. Here is a render of the STL output:


You can see the faceting produced by the chosen resolution. Looks like we are back in business with designing and producing Polywell cores.

Amateur Nuclear Fusion

30 05 2009

Now we have a book on the topic:

Amateur Nuclear Fusion

Very cool! Thank you Raymond Jimenez.

New Chamber

23 05 2009

OK. The new chamber finally arrived along with the 8″ conflat blanks and gaskets:


Right off the bat we have trouble, a nick on the knife edge of the 8″ chamber conflat:


Today I’m going to assemble the chamber and pump, and see how low we can go despite the nick.

The next step would be to weld on a fresh conflat.

Another Donation

9 05 2009

Wow, just got a $50 donation. Amazing.

New Vacuum Chamber

9 05 2009

Just won this smaller vacuum chamber. This should be suitable for a fusor experiment. I’m not giving up on the larger chamber yet, but I don’t want to lose momentum.

Gem Download Stats

8 05 2009

I’m a ruby/rails hacker and I like to keep up to date on the latest gems. This gem download stats page shows you what’s being used in the community. But it takes some effort to google each package individually.

So I hacked up a script which adds the first link/blurb from google. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than a static list. The excellent google-rest does the heavy lifting for my dirty hack. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »


7 05 2009

Just noticed Wolfram|Alpha has launched. So far: 2+2 = FAIL. I imagine their servers are overloaded from the world’s curiosity.

I’ll reserve judgement until I actually get some answers back!

UPDATE: false alarm.


7 05 2009

So this is totally unverified, but this comment from chrismb on the polywell talk forum caught my attention:

Bussard’s main claim, generating a point-cusped magnetic field and injecting electrons (thus confined) then ions confined by those electrons, expired on October 29th 2005.

All the patents since that expired one of 1985 (US4826646) are just fiddling around with details, this main core claim has long expired (showing just how long this story has been dragging on).

Grid Fab

2 05 2009

Took a stab at fabricating the grid today. We used Oxyacetylene torch to braze the welding wire together.


I managed to make the rings:rings

Tried putting it together, but I kept breaking previously brazed joints. I think I need to attach heat sinks. grid_attempt

Vacuum Chamber Update

2 05 2009

So I installed the bourdon gauge, which measures down to -100 inches of water, which equals 200 torr. The ion gauge starts at 0.05 torr, roughly 4 orders of magnitude apart.

When I fired up the pump, the bourdon gauge quickly maxed out (and spun another 1/2 revolution past that). Turning the pump off, I did not see any immediate re-pressurization.

I’m going to let it run longer today, see if we can get in range of the ion gauge.


So it’s been running for 11 hours now, and still has not made it to 5e-2 torr.

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