High Schooler Builds Portable X-Ray Machine

WMDogma

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High Schooler Builds Portable X-Ray Machine

//cdn.themis-media.com/media/global/images/library/deriv/1386/1386977.jpgStudent puts other high school science projects to shame.

With a bit of research and tenacity, a high school student by the name of Adam Munich has completed probably one of the most interesting science projects to date: a fully-operational, portable, battery-powered X-ray machine.

Munich was inspired to build the portable device after speaking with two friends online, one of whom lived in Pakistan and complained about the rolling electricity blackouts affecting his country, and another whose local hospital had problems finding a working X-ray machine to help him deal with a broken leg. After doing some research and learning that there actually aren't any portable, battery powered X-ray machines out there, Munich took it upon himself to build one from scratch.

Munich started this ambitious project by reading online about the inner workings of Coolidge tubes (the radiation-emitting cores of most commercial machines) and was able to buy one from a manufacturer located in China.

"The rest was puzzle-solving," Munich says. "For something like this, there's no guide."

Munich then spent the next two years constructing the X-ray device out of some old art suitcases, chainsaw oil and a mix of electronics he acquired from around the world. And just to be sure he wasn't going to irradiate himself, Munich also constructed a Geiger counter to measure the device's output.

The entire device cost Munich approximately $700 dollars, and while he's only used the device to X-ray some household items, he also believes it could be used for hands and limbs as well. Currently, Munich's working to make a more durable, cheaper version of his device.

Source: Popular Science [http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2012-04/you-built-what-portable-x-ray-machine]

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Volstag9

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My High School career is now coming to a close. I realize that I've done nothing even close as amazing as this.

It's kind of depressing.

Still, it's a nice machine. I'm sure if this guy is smart he'd be able to sell that for quite a bit. Or patent it or something.
 

Desworks

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WMDogma said:
Munich started this ambitious project by reading online about the inner workings of Coolidge tubes (the radiation-emitting cores of most commercial machines) and was able to buy one from a manufacturer located in China.
As awesome as this is, and make no mistake it's totally awesome, this particular sentence jumped out at me. You can just buy Coolidge tubes now? Because if so, I am so going to build me some sort of awesome x-ray based thingamajig! Perhaps some sort of cannon...
 

razer17

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Well, he needs to get this patented straight away. I can't see why this couldn't be an invention that makes him a lot of money.
 

Andronicus

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If he can do it, then dammit, so can I!!

Course, I do physiology at uni, not physics; electricity and radiation aren't exactly my strong suits...
 

mad825

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I wonder if it's medically aprroved. I would'nt want to get cancer becuase I had a broken leg.
 

FEichinger

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1.) Why is this guy named after the city I live in?
2.) Well, now let's hope Adam didn't ruin the lives of all those mini-Adams to come ... On the other hand, he's a scientist... Oh well ...
 
Sep 14, 2009
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wowza that's insanely cool, especially for one kid to do (2 years nonetheless, i definitely don't have that dedication if I don't have a guide on to what i'm doing)

in b4 "meh, i've done better at half that age!" old farts
 

Delimit

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WMDogma said:
there actually aren't any portable, battery powered X-ray machines out there.
Such devices do exist, most radiology departments will have them for patients that are too ill to come to the department. Though the fact he built such a device from stratch is damn impressive (it's alot smaller that clinical ones too), wonder what output it can give.
 

Thedutchjelle

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I'm actually not a big fan of this.

X-ray machines are not meant as a toy or plaything - I really hope the guy is very serious when he uses it.
 

Delimit

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Thedutchjelle said:
I'm actually not a big fan of this.

X-ray machines are not meant as a toy or plaything - I really hope the guy is very serious when he uses it.
Agreed, as impressive the feat is the tube is dangerous if used incorrectly...and i don't imagine he's got a system for effectivly controlling the output...or making everyone in the room wear lead..
 

Saulkar

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Lectori Salutem said:
Brb, ordering radioactive stuff in China.
Light bulbs are not radioactive.

Okay, okay, they are not light bulbs, they are vacuum tubes.
 

Andrew_C

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Saulkar said:
Lectori Salutem said:
Brb, ordering radioactive stuff in China.
Light bulbs are not radioactive.

Okay, okay, they are not light bulbs, they are vacuum tubes.
Neither are Coolidge Tubes. They use a tungsten filament. They just emit X-Ray radiation. But I'm being overly pedantic.
 

Saulkar

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Andrew_C said:
Saulkar said:
Lectori Salutem said:
Brb, ordering radioactive stuff in China.
Light bulbs are not radioactive.

Okay, okay, they are not light bulbs, they are vacuum tubes.
Neither are Coolidge Tubes. They use a tungsten filament. They just emit X-Ray radiation. But I'm being overly pedantic.
Coolidge Tubes are vacuum tubes (which look like light bulbs), just fancier. ;)
 

Not G. Ivingname

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He is a genius for building it.

However, the better question is if he was smart for making a portable radiation machine that isn't weighed down by lead.
 

Thaliur

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razer17 said:
Well, he needs to get this patented straight away. I can't see why this couldn't be an invention that makes him a lot of money.
I hope he already did patent it, because (at least according to German/European patent laws) he cannot do that anymore since the invention is now published.

Delimit said:
WMDogma said:
there actually aren't any portable, battery powered X-ray machines out there.
Such devices do exist, most radiology departments will have them for patients that are too ill to come to the department. Though the fact he built such a device from stratch is damn impressive (it's alot smaller that clinical ones too), wonder what output it can give.
I cannot give you numbers, but once the accelleration voltage is built up, single snapshots of Roentgen rays do not need a lot of energy. A common car battery should be sufficient to power the actual electron beam (it does not need much more energy than a high-powered light bulb).
Building the acceleration voltage might take a lot of power, but once this is built up, it should remain stable. For hospital/emergency service use, the device could remain hooked up to external components that build up the charge, so the battery would only be needed to maintain it.

I would also expect modern tubes to be more efficient than those in old CRT screens, and even those could hold their charge (about 10kV) for a surprisingly long time, putting their power consumption at about the level of a non-LED-lit flatscreen.

What I am trying to say is: Once you get over the initial burst to charge the tube, you would need about 100W, at most. Car batteries (which he likely used) can provide up to about 12kW in short bursts, and should be able to handle even the charging current.