Build your own CT scanner

[Linas] built himself an x-ray generator for a scholarship contest. We assume this wasn’t enough of a challenge for [Linas] because after the x-ray generator was done, he used his project to model objects in 3D (Google Translate link). It’s an amazing build, leaving us feeling sorry for the guy that came in second place to the home-made CT scanner.

The theory behind a CT scanner is fairly simple – take a series of x-rays of an object around an axis of rotation. From there, it’s a fairly simple matter to digitize the x-ray images to produce a 3D model. The hard part is building the x-ray generator. [Linas] used directional x-ray tubes, a few power supplies and from what we can gather x-ray film instead of a CCD sensor. The film was scanned into a computer and reassembled to get a 3D image.

[Linas] doesn’t seem too keen on giving away the schematics for his build to any old joker on the Internet because of the high voltage and radiation components of his build. Still, it’s an amazing build.

Check out the YouTube demo of [Linas]‘s CT scanner imaging an old computer mouse and a reconstruction of the same data done in MATLAB after the break.


  1. Elias says:

    Wow, just wow!

  2. fotoflojoe says:

    Meh… He couldn’t manage an FMRI machine?

    I kid! I kid! Unbelievable!

  3. B says:

    While this is (barely) Computed Tomography (he’s taking a series of images, computing the structure of the object…and then producing slices, which is the tomography part)…

    …it’s not, by any means, a “scanner”.

  4. anybodysguess says:

    The second video looked like the pretty lights that windows media player shows when it plays music.

  5. Andrew Smith says:

    I don’t think this is a CT scanner as in inverse radon transform/ backprojection? It’s just taking directional xrays? still very cool.

  6. Leithoa says:

    What’s the maximum size of an object it can image?

  7. Renee says:

    Something like this could be very useful for inspecting BGA components, might even open them up for use in hackerspaces.

  8. Pup says:

    Can you not source x-rays from a cathode-ray tube, or is that just Michael Weston bullshit? :)

  9. Rachie says:

    You can, but you have to remove the leaded front glass, replace it with something transparent to x-rays, redo the vacuum, and use a higher voltage power supply. I think there are some vacuum tube amplifiers which happen to work very well as x-ray generators though.

  10. Oren Beck says:

    Incredible work. Sadly- the lethality of such power densities and the DISTANCE such radiation can be dangerous at precludes anyone publishing complete plans.

    Perhaps if there were a sane tort environment or that lawyers did not view an accident victim as the Golden Ticket? That’s my “Social Hack” for today :>

    The technical path to examine for advancements might be found by looking for “Lixiscope” technology

  11. Linas says:

    Hey, that’s my project, i am famous :)
    right now making improved version with better control and lot of other things :)

  12. Leithoa says:

    DIY Big bulky archaic x-ray emitter

    Breif history of CR/X-ray tubes

  13. zuul says:


  14. torwag says:

    ok … I am deeply impressed

  15. Whatnot says:

    Impressive yes, but I damn well hope nobody in my immediate area is going to try to make one in his home.

  16. kanchoblindside says:

    As an employee of a company that makes CT scanners, I’m enjoying both the drooling and the slapping going on in this thread.

    We have the greatest equipment and the best software.

    We also have the crappiest CEO (he’s in obama’s silly and mythical “Jobs” cabinet) as well as the sales division. We expect more layoffs soon.

    Linas, if you need people to start your own company with, there’s a lot of people out here that will be available soon. I wont say the name of the company, but we’re probably big competitors with “SPECIFIC Electric”. lol.

  17. I have plans to make a homemade PET scanner using the radiation from 40K.
    Seems that this might work with very long exposure times as tested using my modified SBM20 and also with the ZP1310 (de-filtered ZP1313/4)
    Trouble is getting that many tubes is awfully expensive but worth it.

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