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DIY X-Ray Machine Couldn’t Possibly Be Dangerous at All

by Paul Strauss

Electronics and electricity geek Grenadier aspires to someday be a radiologist. But instead of waiting to use a proper X-Ray machine at a hospital or doctor’s office, he decided to build his own at home.


The dangerous looking contraption has at its heart a single Coolidge Tube, which is a vacuum tube capable of producing X-Rays when 75 kilovolts of power is applied to it. Thankfrully Grenadier is experienced with high voltage gear, so that was no problem for him to provide ample current to power up his X-Ray tube.

The left-hand box provides an Arduino-based controller, and cool looking gauges to check amperage and voltage, as well as a Nixie display which shows exposure time. The right-hand box contains the tube and all high voltage components, so it can be placed at a distance from the controller. Since Grenadier doesn’t have any X-Ray film lying around, he’s managed to rig up something called a “scintillation screen”, a plastic sheet which fluoresces when exposed to radiation.


This let him see through any object he fires the X-Rays at. As you can see from the photos here, the results are pretty awesome. However, this is one time that I can most definitely say “Do not try this at home. EVER.”


Hopefully, Grenadier has taken precautions to protect himself from the radiation with a lead shield of some sort, and he never tries to X-Ray the cat. You can read more details about the DIY X-Ray machine build here.

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