Build your own fusor

William Burke


Tuesday, January 14 – Thursday, January 30, 2020


IAP Seminars

Enrollment: Advance sign-up required. Preference to undergraduate students.
Sign-up by 01/08
Limited to 24 participants
Attendance: Must attend all Tuesday or all Thursday sessions.
Prereq: No Pre-requisites. Open to the MIT Community.

Have you always wanted to build a Fusor, but couldn't find the time, the parts, or the vacuum?  You are in luck!

The MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering is offering an IAP course on building and operating a Farnsworth Fusor.  If you have a few free hours during IAP, MIT Nucleus (the new NSE makerspace) will provide the materials, tools, training, and all the vacuum and ions you need.

Session 1: Teams of two will build and test small vacuum chambers, including flanges and electrical feedthrus. Who has the best base pressure and leak rate?

Session 2: Drill and tap the flange for the HV feedthru. Design and fab the fusor grid. Perform final vacuum and electrical tests prior to launch.

Session 3: Put all the pieces together and step on the gas, almost literally.  Step on the vacuum and high voltage too.  What color is your plasma?  Why?  Where does the power go?  What else can we measure?  What's next?

This is definitely a hands-on activity.  You will be using power tools, and handling epoxies, solvents, and vacuum grease during every session.  Wear clothes that can and will get dirty.  No loose sleeves, watches, or dangling jewelry are allowed when operating power tools.  Be prepared to tie back long hair and beards.  Safety goggles and disposable gloves will be provided.

Sponsor(s): Nuclear Science and Engineering, Plasma Science and Fusion Center
Contact: William Burke, NW21-111, 617 253-8429, BURKE@PSFC.MIT.EDU