Cryogenic Cocktail Party

21 12 2010

All photos.

Last night my shop mate Stuart hosted a cryogenic cocktail party using his cryo-freezer and my liquid nitrogen.

The cryofreezer goes down to -120˚ C, cold enough to freeze liquor! We had vodka, bourbon, and gin ice cubes:

Ben made a silicon cast of a drinking glass to cast an ice glass:

We used the liquid nitrogen to make flash ice cream. Delicious:

I made white russian ice cream:

New Polywell Simulations

3 11 2010

Joel Rogers has published new Polywell simulations. Get it while it’s hot:

Projects I Dig

1 11 2010

I’ve come across some projects I really dig. Though I’d share:

ChemHacker is building an open source scanning tunneling microscope:


Ivan Bozovic has fabricated a nanometer scale superconductor at Brookhaven National Laboratory:


Junior has hacked together an incredible SLA style DIY 3D printer:

This project has sparked my interest in the amazing Digital Light Processing technology.


Kenneth V. Noren shows genetic algorithms can design electronic circuits!

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics

4 10 2010

All photos.

Today I visited Lawrenceville Plasma Physics where Eric J. Lerner, Murali S. Krupakar, and Derek Shannon are researching Dense Plasma Focus Fusion. Eric Lerner was out today.

Provided it works, the real promise of Dense Plasma Focus Fusion is that it does not require physical scaling. In other words, you don’t have to build it any bigger than the machine pictured below, but it would require a larger capacitor bank.

Murali comes from the IEC world and has a ton of published papers on IEC. Previously he worked on POPS at Los Alamos. Derek recently joined the team and has a background in artificial intelligence.


Murali, me, and Derek in front of the reactor


Their radiation room is made of ~1 meter thick walls of normal cinderblock lined with EMF blocking metal screen.


Murali showing the spark gap triggers


The oscilloscopes below are used to ensure the capacitors trigger together. They use fiber optic to electrical converters with the fiber optic directly measuring the light from the spark gap plasma. At 20 torr, their reaction runs at 1,000 times the pressure of most IEC experiments. Murali stressed that DPF takes advantage of plasma instabilities… sort of going with the grain rather than against it.


Rezwan and Derek


Rezwan made contact with me and runs a non-profit for the advancement of fusion.

Here is a shot of the vacuum chamber where the fusion happens:

You can tell these guys are scrappy, check out the copious aluminum foil shielding:

I talked to the team for hours, so this is just a bit of what I learned.

Big thanks to the Lawrenceville Plasma Physics team for showing me the lab!



Murali pointed out that although they have electron neutron counters, they still use bubble neutron dosemeters as a double check… because the bubble dosemeters are not susceptible to EMF interference. Smart.



EMI Next Steps

27 07 2010

Got some great feedback from the community about fixing our EMI problem. In summary:

  1. Try Lifting the USB’s ground on one side or the other.
  2. The last faraday cage we use was likely steel, which can have enough resistance to pass radio frequency. Try aluminum faraday cage.
  3. Use USB cable with ferrite bead like this one Dave purchased:

I have an electronics chassis I’ve recycled to try as the next faraday cage:

Neutron Club

9 06 2010

Yesterday I was officially added to the list of independent researchers that have achieved nuclear fusion, based on the result of our last fusion run. This list is maintained by Richard Hull, the first amateur fusioneer. Counting groups as a single entry, I’m the 38th person to make this list:

3. "The Neutron Club"

These people have operated a neutron producing fusor or fusion system.
(normally d-d fusion): 

          Richard Hull - 10e5 neutron mark 3/99
          Scott Little
          Joe Zambelli - Half mega mark 12/01
          Tom Ligon
          Michael Li - winner $75k Intel scholarship (fusor)
          Mike Amann
          Jon Rosenstiel - Mega neutron mark 10e6 11/02
          Gerardo Meiro - First non-US neutron Club member
          Phillip Fostini
          Carl Willis - advanced activation work
          Larry Leins - pulsed fusor work
          Craig Wallace - winner $1.5k Intel 2nd place (Fusor)
          Frank Sanns
          Brian McDermott
          Fergus Noble & Henry Hallam - first UK neutron members
          Adam Parker - winner of $10k Alabama scholarship in science
          Mark Langdon
          Thiago Olson
          Wayne Rodgers
          Eric Stroud
          Wilfried Heil & Noemi Zudor - Smallest fusor ~3" diameter
          Raymond Jimenez
          Alex & Ben Haylett - first to use heavy water electrolysis
          Steven Sesselmann - first Aussie fusion, New Star system design
          Andrew Seltzman
          Utrecht University fusor group, poster is Benjamin Brenny
          Group includes: Sander Mann, Dick Abma, Thijs Krijger, Remco Van den
                          Dungen, Nivard Kagie
          Bob Heil
          Peninsula College - student group
          Ho Yee Hui, Derek Madison, Devon McMinn, Sarah Mangiameli
          Chris Milroy, Aaron Stoll, Jeff Zirul
          Roman Radtke
          Louis Franzel
          Taylor Wilson - Youngest fusioneer - 14 years old.
          Thomas Rapp
          Tyler Christensen
          Ben Bartlett
          Doug Coulter & Bill Fain - first cylindrical fusor
          Matthew Honickman
          Jason Heidecker
          Mark Suppes

Call for Schematics

17 04 2010

To the highly involved readers:

Anything you can design and spec (I’m talking schematic and mouser part numbers)…

I can purchase and build.

So if you ever think: “man, famulus should build  X right now”

Send me schematics and part numbers. Provided it’s pertinent to the research and within the budget… I will build it.


Here is a my first schematic challenge:

I just purchased this trigatron for discharging the mega-capacitor:

Here is the schematic for it’s use.

Here is the challenge:

Design a modern version of the triggering circuit shown in this schematic. ie, without using a “break-modulator valve”.

Nerd Nite

13 01 2010

I’m giving a presentation on my fusion research at nerd nite this Friday the 15th around 8pm.

Nerd Nite NYC

Galapagos Art Space DUMBO 16 Main Street in DUMBO Brooklyn (F train to York St. or A/C train to High St.)
Friday January 15, 2009 at 7pm (Quizo) and 8:15pm (regular Nerd Nite)
Fusing the Atom and Living to Tell
Description: We have built an open source nuclear fusion reactor and fused the atom. This is the story of a remarkable fusion device called the Farnsworth Fusor and its successor, the Bussard Reactor (aka. Polywell). The Bussard Reactor holds the promise of clean cheap abundant energy from fusion. This is a story of research on the edge.
Bio: Famulus is an entrepreneur, hacker, and rails developer. In 2008 he learned of the Bussard fusion reactor and left the software world to try and build a working Bussard Reactor.

Phreaknic 13

14 10 2009

I’m speaking at Phreaknic 13!

October 30-31, 2009 in Nashville TN.

Talking about amateur nuclear fusion and prometheus fusion perfection.

DEFCON / Vegas Baby

21 07 2009

I’m going to DEFCON in Vegas from July 30th to August 1st. My first time in Vegas. You should find me there!

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