Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: To would-be fusor builders
Date: Jan 08, 12:50 pm
Poster: Richard Hull

On Jan 08, 12:50 pm, Richard Hull wrote:

The actually mechanics and electronics of building a fusor is abysmally simple.

"Fusion is easy"!

Those interested in building their own fusors must first confront some serious issues before beginning. I will try to enumerate a few pitfalls and give a few clues. This will fortunately and blessedly push some of you off the fence, but for others it will be viewed as a challenge. .....................................

What do I need first? What is the most important tool or asset to begin with?

"He might be dumb,....... but he's got guts and guts is enough"! (D.I. in movie Full Metal Jacket)

That's it... guts... determination... a will to DO instead of yapping or theorizing.

The "hands-on-imperative" must be at the very core of the fusor builder.


What else is second most important?


The lone wolf fusorite will need a lot of skills if the project is to succeed. Among the most valuable skills are those involving, electronics and vacuum technology, nuclear metrology plus some familiaity with welding methods, machine shop practice and materials science. A good sense of organization and being able to stand back and see the big picture along with a huge helping of good ole common sense is a must have.


What about if I have few tools and skills but have the guts?

"I not charging you for what I did.....I'm charging you for what I know"..(author - unknown)

Then you gotta' have bread....cash....the green stuff. You will have to buy the skills, knowledge and the time of others. Todays labor costs are outrageous. There is no shame in doing 80% of the work yourself and farming out welding and machining chores, but there is expense!

A fully equipped, skilled, advanced amateur scientist or experimenter might slip by for under $500.00 for everything! A simple dolt with guts and money might complete a fusor for $5000.00


Are there any dangers?

You bet! There are any number of ways to wind up in an early grave! Most of the lethal dangers can be avoided with SKILLS. Otherwise, you must pick up the skills on the fly. Read first and do second. Reference books and a solid, broad based scientific home library is a true asset.

Know the danger zones in the various disciplines you are going to come across in your trip to fusion.


Vacuum Technology:

Imploding glass bell jars (fusor chambers) can scatter glass shardes at high velocity into face and body.

Gas handling:

Deuterium is just hydrogen gas and is explosive in air. (leaks can be lethal)


The fusor not only uses high voltages 5Kv -100KV but high voltages at high currents. These will kill instantly!! If you get a shock while working on a fully powered fusor, it may not be your first, but it will definitely be your last!


Burns and eye damage hazards

Machining, drilling, etc.:

Crushed and mangled hands to the unwary. Metal shardes in eyes or skin.


Not a problem until ~15kv on the cathode. First X-radiation and finally in the best fusors, at higher voltages neutron radiation at high flux levels. Remember, the body is just a big hydrogenous bag of water to the fast neutrons, and as such, is a great moderator. You will absorb a lot of neutrons without proper shielding. Cancer risks. Neutron activation of material around the fusor creating a secondary radiation hazard after the fusor is turned off.

You should be.

If you think you have the right stuff and pack th' gear to go on, then you are probably ready to begin. It is not a place for the whiney milk-sop mentality. If you are injured, have the guts and good grace to realize you did it to yourself and probably out of your own ignorance and indolence.

Remember, this offical statement from Richard Hull... Do not build a fusor!!.... It is too dangerous!....You are not a trained professional.

Remember also, Professionals in all fields are killed daily through sheer chance and luck of the draw. You could be hit by a bus tonight!

Richard Hull