An End to Four Years of Prometheus Fusion Perfection

7 07 2013

I have decided to end Prometheus Fusion Perfection.

The project is too expensive for me. The Polywell requires at least $200MM to bring to fruition. I cannot hope to raise that much money.

Although I could raise smaller amounts with Kickstarter, it would not be enough to complete the project.

The blog will remain online indefinitely.

I want to thank everyone that participated in this project: Many people have donated their knowledge, time and money.

Although this project did not solve the energy crisis, it pushed the limits of  DIY science.

Personally, I learned more doing this project than any other endeavor in my life. I’ve plumbed the depths of plasma physics, electrical engineering, hardware hacking and on and on.

It saddens me to end such an amazing project.

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Prometheus Fusion Perfection has an Intern

15 04 2012

Hi everybody, I’m Domenick Bauer, and in about a month, I will begin a full-time internship at Prometheus Fusion Perfection.

Let me say a little about how I came to find Prometheus. I’ve done some fusor work in the past, and a few years ago, I built a Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor capable of star mode. Unfortunately I had to return to school before I could make a real attempt at fusion. Since then, I have been an avid follower of the fusion effort. Earlier this year, I came upon this blog, and found it very exciting.

I wanted to be a part of it, but knew that money was tight at Prometheus, so I applied for the Hodson Trust Internship Program, a fellowship offered by my school in which an applicant creates a proposal on something interesting he wants to do, and finds an organization where he can do it. If the Hodson committee likes the proposal and the organization, the applicant is awarded a stipend on which he can live while he does his internship.

Yesterday, I learned that I was awarded the internship!

It feels great to be here at Prometheus and I can’t wait to get started.

Blink / Steady – The bike light you’ve been waiting for.

12 04 2012

My shop-mate Stuart just launched a kickerstart for quite possibly the best bike light ever made.

The light is made from aluminum milled right here in the shop we share.

The light is practically impossible to steal without removing the seat post. It senses your motion and turns on/off automatically. And the battery lasts longer than your typical bike light. It’s a tiny marvel of engineering.

Stuart is a master craftsman. I’ve seen him design and ship stunning robotics and dynamic sculptures over the years.

Stuart is a HUGE contributor to my fusion research. He taught me everything I know about prototyping.

So do yourself a favor and buy the last bike light you’ll ever buy.

MakerBot Thing-O-Matic Upgrades

29 11 2011

Not only can the Makerbot print its own upgrades. But these upgrades really improve the print quality. A virtuous cycle!

At this point my MakerBot TOM is finely tuned and making beautiful prints.

Here are all the upgrades I have installed:

Y-Axis Idler Support Bracket for Thing-O-Matic: This stabilizes the Y-axis idler.

Easy Install Thing-O-Matic Universal X & Y Axis Belt Tensioner: This is the single most important upgrade. The belt must be correctly tensioned for good prints!

HBP Quick Leveler Redux: Another essential upgrade to easily level the build platform.

Thing-O-Matic Electronics Side-Mount: At some point you will need to tweak the electronics. This mod makes it easier.

Thingomatic y-axis Endcaps: These endcaps make it easier to remove the Y-axis rods.

MakerBot Cable Clip: Nice clips for cable management.

Simple Tool Holder: Organize all the hex wrenches that come with your MakerBot.

I purchase two upgrades from MakerBot that are well worth it:

Aluminum Build Surface: This gives you nice flat and level prints. Seems like this should be included with the Thing-O-Matic!

MakerBot® Gen 4 Interface Board Kit v1.1: This allows you to run your MakerBot without a computer attached.


Here is an example print:

Leeds Radio

18 11 2011

NYT is covering Leeds Radio. My favorite spot for electronics in NYC!

Richard is an awesome dude… very knowledgeable and great stories of EE insanity.

I’ve learned much about the history of electronics just from his inventory. The vacuum tube era was a whole nother way of doing things.

NYT: Leeds Radio.


LIFT Conference

23 10 2011

I will be giving a talk at the LIFT conference in Geneva in February 2012!

Mark Suppes is a extreme amateur! He is the member of a growing community of “fusioneers” – amateur science junkies who are building homemade fusion reactors, for fun and with an eye to being part of the solution to that problem. Mark is the 38th independent amateur physicist in the world to achieve nuclear fusion from a homemade reactor.

Lift12 first confirmed speakers!

Circuit Modeling with SPICE

2 09 2011

Last week Raymond Rogers made a SPICE model of my coil circuit. Extremely helpful and awesome, thanks Ray!

SPICE is a general-purpose open source analog electronic circuit simulator.

I’ve been trying to get started with SPICE for a while now, but the steep learning curve prevented much progress. So to have a working example of a circuit I’m familiar with is so very useful.

Now we can run virtual experiment on the coil circuit and see how much current we get. Pretty damn cool!

Here are some example input values and resulting current graph:

Capacitance: 15 mF, 450V

Coil resistance: 180 mΩ

Coil inductance:  0.1mH






In this diagram the vertical axis is the voltage of a 1mΩ ammeter resistor, so 1V = 1KA.

I encourage anyone who knows splice to run this code, make changes and share results.

Also a shout out to jstults for his python script for inductance modeling.


Sydney Experiment: We Have Electron Confinement!!!

2 08 2011

All photos.

1 year,  7 months  and 8 days ago I learned of the copper coil Polywell that Joe Khachan and his team built.

I decided to repeat Joe’s experiment. Although challenging it seemed possible to achieve. I dubbed this endeavor the Sydney Experiment.

It took far longer than I expected to fabricate all the necessary parts for the experiment.

Today with great pleasure I ran the Sydney Experiment. Here we see what appears to be electron confinement:

This acquisition shows the floating potential of the langmuir probe.

This run was done with air plasma at 10 millitorr :

The electron gun was running  10KvDC @ 6.5mA:

The coil power supply was charged to ~ 400VDC:

This is just a first run. Now begins the actual experimentation and data gathering.

I do believe this is the WORLD’S FIRST AMATEUR POLYWELL!!!


The plasma during the run:


21 05 2011

Etsy just did a sweet profile of Prometheus Fusion Perfection:

Another favorite Etsy post is the Handmade Portraits: Glassblowing With Kiva Ford. Ford does pro scientific glassblowing.

Thanks to Michelle  for the writeup!


20 05 2011

About a year ago Alex Klein got in touch with me:

Hello, have been perusing your website for a while now, and I’m pretty impressed. I will be in NYC the first week in June, and would love to visit your lab. Some background: I worked for Bussard for a few years around the turn of the century, also worked for MIT on big Tokamaks, and have built plenty of fusors. I think you would get something out of a visit (e.g. : technical advice), and I hope I would learn a thing or two as well. We could even start collaborating on a regular basis, although there would be some complications that I can explain if/when we meet.

I though to myself WOW.

This guy had actually worked with Bussard.

Alex came to visit my lab soon after. We had a blast. He told me stories of Bussard. One story involved a massive short circuit which spewed molten copper all over the walls! Bad ass!

Before working with Bussard from 1999 to 2002, Alex conceived of a fusion device with similarities to the Polywell.  In 2005 Alex went on to found his own fusion research laboratory: FPGeneration. Here he would run the Multipole Ion-beam Experiment.

A few months later Alex asked me if I’d like to interview to work at FPGeneration! I was so excited. HOT DAMN.

But before any of that I had to sign an NDA. No blogging this story… until now.

In September of 2010 I went to Boston to meet the team and see the lab.

Alex explained how the MIX device worked and showed me around. The lab is amazing. Huge radiation cave, huge sperical vacuum chamber with huge turbo. A whole high voltage section above the radiation cave. Not to mention a supercomputer on site. It was awe inspiring.

They explained their situation was tenuous: they only had enough money to go to April 2011. Additionally the MIX device wasn’t working as hoped. Unfortunately I did not get the job. I was so bummed.

Since then Alex has abandoned MIX:

Two problems: A) Main problem: space charge limitations are such that individual beams can never exceed a few Amperes. Even with 10 crossed beams, total fusion power < 1 Watt. With trapping a plasma in the core that serves as a target, possibly 10 Watts produced – not useful for energy B) Big Problem: Ions from external ion sources cannot be efficiently introduced into the trapping phase space. Some fundamental physics make it so this will never provide more than a few ions, and those ions are subject to large probabilities that they are quickly lost. “Internal” ion introduction is required.

Since Jan 2011, FPGeneration has been working on the MARBLE device.

One of the major obstacles that limits the fusion output in IEC devices is the result of repulsive electrostatic forces arising from the ions themselves. This limits the amount of current that can be injected/contained, and is related to the well-known Child-Langmuir current limit for unneutralized particle beams. In 2010 FPGeneration invented an approach that circumvents such limitations, by overlapping multiple ion beams at different energies on the same axis. This is a significant breakthrough which has the potential to impact a number of technologies (wherever space charge limitations arise).

But sadly FPGeneration’s funding has been exhausted. Alex is currently looking for investors to continue his research.  The MARBLE experiment was only partially completed. Alex had this to say about the MARBLE based on the data gathered so far:

don’t have too much data so far, hopefully I get some this week (was waiting for an amplifier). The current MARBLE could conceivably do breakeven, but at ridiculously low power levels. Distance to worthwhile machine (>10 kW) is quite far: requires souped up MARBLE with 20 stages, and 20 of these crossed over a common core, and some engineering things involving gas jets…

Several years and tens of thousands of man-hours, I would say

I’d say fusion research is a rough road littered with the dead. But we keep trying. Some day… some day.

Alex can be reached at

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