Timeline

July 12, 2019
…from your friendly neighborhood bug (~500x).
July 12, 2019
June 26, 2019
Aligning Milly’s electron beam is tricky business. It’s a process involving hours (or even days!) of pain and uncertainty that…
June 26, 2019
May 24, 2019
Enjoy some random pollen samples.
May 24, 2019
January 5, 2019
Yak shaving : Any apparently useless activity which, by allowing you to overcome intermediate difficulties, allows you to solve a…
January 5, 2019
December 26, 2018
As the manifesto says: If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it. But you don’t truly appreciate how much…
December 26, 2018
June 30, 2018
Here’s the talk I gave at Toorcamp 2018 on making an FEG electron emitter.
June 30, 2018
December 26, 2017
Looks like I haven’t made a lot of time for blogging this year. I’ve been too busy taking photos with…
December 26, 2017
January 17, 2017
There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom. —Richard Feynman With the recent demise of Milly’s electron emitter, I attempted to…
January 17, 2017
December 31, 2016
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men…
December 31, 2016
August 2, 2016
What color are your eyes? There are many ways to answer that question. Statistically speaking, they’re probably brown. Unless you’re…
August 2, 2016
July 31, 2016
tl;dr: download Rob’s source code In October 2015 I signed up as a beta tester for Arivale, a Seattle-based “scientific wellness” company.…
July 31, 2016
July 23, 2016
Remember the hockey puck of doom that powers the Tesla Gun? It’s a ZVS driver (also called a Royer oscillator) that…
July 23, 2016
July 21, 2016
Back in 2009, I was one of several folks that built the coin shrinker at Hackerbot Labs.  After several hundred firings…
July 21, 2016
May 5, 2016
Last year I signed up for Arivale’s beta program. They’re attempting to quantify participants’ state of health through DNA sequencing, gut microbiome…
May 5, 2016
April 23, 2016
I designed a 3D-printable eyepiece holder that mates a Raspberry Pi camera to a popular inexpensive stereo inspection scope. This lets me send…
April 23, 2016
November 29, 2015
A couple of months ago, Milly started having beam issues. At the time it seemed like emitter trouble. New emitter modules…
November 29, 2015
November 10, 2015
I recently picked up an AmScope SE400Z inspection scope. It’s a handy desktop microscope that sells for under $200. The…
November 10, 2015
October 11, 2015
Electroetching a recrystallized tungsten wire in 2.5 molar sodium hydroxide solution. The cathode is a hunk of highly ordered pyrolytic…
October 11, 2015
October 3, 2015
Today’s experiment: tungsten wire recrystallization.
October 3, 2015
August 30, 2015
If you’ve never seen Christopher Walken in Puss in Boots, add it to your queue right now. That’s him as…
August 30, 2015
June 16, 2015
Here’s an image of a gold calibration target. To give you an idea of the scale, that line representing 100…
June 16, 2015
May 31, 2015
I recently got Milly the big SEM online. She had a ton off issues that I’ll chronicle in future posts.…
May 31, 2015
April 4, 2015
I’m in the process of upgrading the brain in the laser from a cheap (and recently deceased) Chinese special to…
April 4, 2015
March 14, 2015
Milly is coming along nicely. I believe we’re over the vacuum difficulties. She’s buzzing along at a nice deep vacuum in…
March 14, 2015
March 3, 2015
After several days of looking, the cause of the trouble proved to be a broken lead on a thermocouple line.…
March 3, 2015
February 8, 2015
Laser robot making wooden robots for an aluminum robot that makes brass robots… #slavetothemachines
February 8, 2015
December 24, 2014
Happy Holidays! Here is a 2mm stainless steel screw. It’s sitting on a standard, non-shrunken quarter for scale. Here it…
December 24, 2014
November 25, 2014
Meryl was a little disheveled when she arrived at the shop. She had been in storage for a few years,…
November 25, 2014
November 23, 2014
I recently became the proud owner of a couple of discarded JEOL scanning electron microscopes. The big one (“Milly“) is…
November 23, 2014
August 26, 2014
(looks up code in manual) (hopes it’s not short for EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY)
August 26, 2014
August 15, 2014
The view from my new office. They’re proud of their solar array over there. But I’ll bet that sign is…
August 15, 2014
August 14, 2014
Big thanks to everyone who helped me lug this beast into the shop last night. For something called a “microscope”,…
August 14, 2014
July 9, 2014
Packing light this year. Just the two coils, no quarter shrinker.  
July 9, 2014
June 27, 2014
Minnie’s name plate is finally finished! Let’s start with the finalé and work backwards : The black is high gloss automotive…
June 27, 2014
June 15, 2014
Today was cncbot’s big day: machining brass sheet! Proof in plywood: Brass in process: Ready for extraction:   I’ll post…
June 15, 2014
May 28, 2013
(Warning: graphic toothiness ahead) I recently had a couple of wisdom teeth removed. Bottoms. One a horizontal impaction, the other…
May 28, 2013
May 5, 2013
I finally got around to making a couple of much needed upgrades to the Tesla gun. First: a trigger! I…
May 5, 2013
March 13, 2013
The gantry is the part of a CNC robot that puts a tool just where it needs to be to get…
March 13, 2013
February 14, 2013
It’s a common misconception that low-powered CO2 lasers can’t cut through metal. But in the right circumstances, you can cut…
February 14, 2013
February 5, 2013
There’s no such thing as a cheap laser engraver. Though you might think otherwise if you’re like many DIY types,…
February 5, 2013
January 20, 2013
Going from 40 to 60 Watts means (almost) doubling the tube length! Google+: View post on Google+
January 20, 2013
December 30, 2012
Staci Elaan is an electrical engineer who has been making Tesla guns since 2006. Her sixth generation MK6-18V is a…
December 30, 2012
December 12, 2012
Santa brought me an early present this year: Discovery Canada (the same folks that covered the quarter shrinker a while…
December 12, 2012
September 29, 2012
Popular Science has published the online version of the print article on the Tesla Gun! It includes a quick (and…
September 29, 2012
September 14, 2012
Guess who made the lede for Forbes’ coverage of Toorcamp! I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with this gang. Particularly…
September 14, 2012
August 18, 2012
The Tesla Gun was chosen to be the opening project of the 2012 Popular Mechanics DIY Backyard Genius awards! PopMech hasn’t updated…
August 18, 2012
August 14, 2012
They Rectify! Amplify! Generate! Control! And Transform Light to Electricity and Back Again! They’re Winning The War!
August 14, 2012
June 2, 2012
I’ll be at Seattle Maker Faire today at 3:45 to show off the Tesla Gun. Hope to see you there!
June 2, 2012
May 13, 2012
Ask, and ye shall receive lightning. For best results, choose 720p. Enjoy!
May 13, 2012
May 9, 2012
The year was 1889. The War of the Currents was well underway. At stake: the future of electrical power distribution…
May 9, 2012
April 29, 2012
I’m going to try to merge my (private) project wiki with the public blog. This calls for a new spark-o-licious…
April 29, 2012
March 27, 2012
I haven’t had time for an update in a while. But great things are afoot. So in the meantime I…
March 27, 2012
February 4, 2012
Pip and I were featured on Discovery Canada’s Daily Planet: Inventors. We showed off the quarter shrinker at Hackerbot Labs.…
February 4, 2012
January 14, 2012
I gave another talk at Ada’s Technical Books: this time about the (nearly completed) Tesla gun. The audio isn’t perfect,…
January 14, 2012
December 31, 2011
What better way to ring in the new year than with a 3d photobooth that auto-posts to Flickr? May your…
December 31, 2011
December 25, 2011
To celebrate the season this year, I got together with some friends to make gingerbread houses. My contribution: Gingerbread Wardenclyffe,…
December 25, 2011
November 5, 2011
After tragically melting my previous HV switch, and given that a 15kV multi-ampere switch isn’t exactly something you find at…
November 5, 2011
July 16, 2011
A friend pointed out that it’s been ten years this month since I wrote an article about a particularly infamous…
July 16, 2011
July 11, 2011
I’ve made a little progress with the mini-coil. I have two flyback drivers up and running. Each circuit fits nicely…
July 11, 2011
July 6, 2011
I’m working on a small Tesla coil project. After hours of winding and letting the polyurethane cure, there’s nothing quite…
July 6, 2011
June 24, 2011
I scored 15 bytecoins at Metrix CreateSpace yesterday. What are they worth? Well, I’ll tell you what I paid for…
June 24, 2011
June 16, 2011
Here’s a very nicely done DIY liquid nitrogen generator from Ben Krasnow, the guy who brought you the DIY scanning…
June 16, 2011
June 11, 2011
A while back, I took some photos of my spark gap Tesla coil running. Although I did get some nice…
June 11, 2011
May 10, 2011
Barton Dring (of Buildlog DIY laser cutter fame) is holding a Kickstarter for an Open Source linear bearing system. This should…
May 10, 2011
May 9, 2011
Back when we opened our workshop, one of our members went nuts and bought a $4000 laser engraver for the…
May 9, 2011
March 23, 2011
Check out this amazing SEM build. It’s beautifully made and well filmed. Can’t wait for the follow-up posts!
March 23, 2011
February 13, 2011
I finally got around to taking a few photos of my spark gap Tesla coil in action. It smelled like…
February 13, 2011
January 5, 2011
I just registered for online access to Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science. As a regular user of Wolfram Alpha, I find…
January 5, 2011
December 24, 2010
Caroline Wurden of Los Alamos High School demonstrates making ball lightning in her garage. As Focus Fusion points out, the results…
December 24, 2010
December 22, 2010
This fun HOWTO from Caltech shows you how to grow your own snowflakes at home with a coke bottle, a…
December 22, 2010
December 18, 2010
Philips designed an open MRI that allows enough room for the mother to actually give birth while inside the machine.…
December 18, 2010
December 12, 2010
Curious about a particular element? Check out the Periodic Table of Videos: a collection of short vids about each element,…
December 12, 2010
November 13, 2010
Who knew that studying plasma physics could be so stimulating?
November 13, 2010
October 18, 2010
My trigatrons have finally arrived. According to the datasheet, they’ll switch about 160 kW at up to 10 kV (7.2…
October 18, 2010
October 15, 2010
(WARNING: spoilers ahead!) Alchemy is a fun little grind game for Android. The premise is simple. You start with four…
October 15, 2010
October 12, 2010
(or, A Guided Inquiry Approach to Teaching How to Think About Analytical Instrumentation.) Wired has a great article about a scientist…
October 12, 2010
October 11, 2010
Who needs a post graduate degree when you can do Citizen Science! (One of the many fantastic bits of flare…
October 11, 2010
October 10, 2010
Who thought it would take so much work to make nothing at all? http://www.cae2k.com/howto.html
October 10, 2010
October 10, 2010
Celebrate Improbability Day (10/10/10, or 101010, or 42, depending on how you look at it) by doing something improbable. I…
October 10, 2010
September 19, 2010
The talk went very well. There was much animated discussion, and electrical zapping was had by all. Thank you Ada’s…
September 19, 2010
September 13, 2010
My buddy yoyojedi got quite the score at the last U.W. public auction: a 35 liter dewar, for only $150!…
September 13, 2010
September 12, 2010
Here is the classic Google Tech Talk from Robert Bussard (yes, the ramjet guy). In it he talks about a…
September 12, 2010
May 11, 2010
We built a server / laser cutter room to contain the noise. Watch us build it in 45 seconds! Highlights:…
May 11, 2010
May 2, 2010
Thanks to my extremely encouraging dad, I’ve been building circuits since I was seven years old. Freehanding a breakout board…
May 2, 2010
April 25, 2010
Thanks to help and instigation from 3ric, Ian, and Sirus, the go-kart is up and running. Not autonomous yet, but…
April 25, 2010
April 2, 2010
It’s very good to be back at the Unit. I enjoyed the work (and play!) in Italy, but five weeks…
April 2, 2010