X-Rays And High Voltage Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday at noon Pacific time for the X-rays and high-voltage Hack Chat!

Fran Piernas likes to push the envelope a bit with projects that others might shy away from. A quick glance at his Hackaday.io profile reveals a few of the exciting projects he’s been working on recently, including a DIY X-ray machine and the high-voltage driver needed to run it. Not only that, he’s recently taken his home-brew X-ray rig to the next level – a computed tomography (CT) scanner. His YouTube channel also has some exciting stuff using potentially lethal voltages and ionizing radiation.

Please join us for this Hack Chat, in which we’ll cover:

  • How one safely works with high voltage and ionizing radiation;
  • Sourcing uncommon components like X-ray tubes;
  • How Fran decided to start playing at the edge of the danger zone; and
  • What sort of experiments he has in mind for the future.

You are, of course, encouraged to add your own questions to the discussion. You can do that by leaving a comment on the X-rays and high-voltage Hack Chat and we’ll put that in the queue for the Hack Chat discussion.

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, February 20, at noon, Pacific time. If time zones have got you down, we have a handy time zone converter.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.


16 thoughts on “X-Rays And High Voltage Hack Chat

  1. Just take caution, If I remember right Ben Krasnow got stopped in his tracks by the State of California because X-ray devices are controlled at the state level and require certification to run.

    1. In that state.

      In other states, it’s not an issue so long as you’re not using it to diagnose people or otherwise irradiating people. In NH, for example, there are no regulations regarding private X-ray ownership.

      (Fun fact: An X-ray system has come up on the NH craigslist “free” channel… twice! Once was a dentist’s office, and once was a veterinarian who went out of business.)

      I’ve looked online, and there’s no federal regulations regarding ownership of X-ray systems. My current client sells and maintains X-ray systems, and claims that there is only a regulation about disposal, and has offered to give me a working X-ray generator and power supply several times – claiming that by removing it the X-ray machine is considered non-working, and the disposal requirement is satisfied. (The disposal requirements are apparently contract requirements and not laws, and are mostly about not polluting landfills.)

      Also, you can find X-ray heads, power supplies, and whole units for sale on eBay.

      (Please post a link if you can prove me wrong.)

    2. In Ontario (Canada, not Californica), X-ray systems are regulated by several levels of government: Provincial Healthcare rules on systems used in medical diagnosis, Federal workplace safety on radiation-emitting devices, and municipal permitting and building codes for siting and shielding. There are a few other minor ones, like electrical code, hazardous material (beryllium, PCBs, lead), and device electrical safety. But basically, if you’re not diagnosing a person with it (i.e., medical), not making money with it (i.e., employment), and not selling it (device safety), then you’re clear, not subject to regulation. (You’re still on the hook for safe disposal though.)

      Legally, a regulated entity (like a hospital) “disposing” of an x-ray source must disable it by cracking the tube (destroying the vacuum). However, they can “transfer” ownership of a regulated system (without destroying it) to any entity with just a letter to the appropriate regulating body.

    1. It’s too bad they’re just so darned inefficient at it: the Invar shadow mask is low-Z, and the faceplate is a pretty good absorber.

      A real pity, because you could use it to make a really nifty scanned x-ray source. You can use one to make an imaging system with a single pixel detector: so-called “reverse geometry” or “inverse geometry” systems. If you’re especially clever, you can use it to make a 3D computed tomography machine with no moving parts. This is pretty mature stuff now. (refs: Imatron, Cardiac Mariners, and multiple academic groups)

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