Ambitious Homebrew X-Ray Machine Reveals What Lies Within

We’re not quite sure what to say about this DIY X-ray machine. On the one hand, it’s a really impressive build, with incredible planning and a lot of attention to detail. On the other hand, it’s a device capable of emitting dangerous doses of ionizing radiation.

In the end, we’ll leave judgment on the pros and cons of [Fran Piernas]’ creation to others. But let’s just say it’s probably a good thing that a detailed build log for this project was not provided. Still, the build video below gives us the gist of what must have taken an awfully long time and a fair amount of cash to pull off. The business end is a dental X-ray tube of the fixed anode variety. We’ve covered the anatomy and physiology of these tubes previously if you need a primer, but basically, they use a high voltage to accelerate electrons into a tungsten target to produce X-rays. The driver for the high voltage supply, which is the subject of another project, is connected to a custom-wound transformer to get up to 150V, and then to a voltage multiplier for the final boost to 65 kV. The tube and the voltage multiplier are sealed in a separate, oil-filled enclosure for cooling, wisely lined with lead.

The entire machine is controlled over a USB port. An intensifying screen converts the X-rays to light, and the images of various objects are quite clear. We’re especially impressed by the fluoroscopic images of a laptop while its hard drive is seeking, but less so with the image of a hand, presumably [Fran]’s; similar images were something that [Wilhelm Röntgen] himself would come to regret.

Safety considerations aside, this is an incredibly ambitious build that nobody else should try. Not that it hasn’t been done before, but it still requires a lot of care to do this safely.

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Making images and videos using a diy fluoroscopic x-ray

[Jozef] has been playing around with X-rays. Specifically, he’s been using his own setup to make fluoroscopic images, a type of x-ray photography that allows for video images to be made. If you’ve ever seen those x-ray movies of someone swallowing, that’s fluoroscopy (we’re fans of the other oddities like this video of a skeleton playing the trumpet).

The image above is [Jozef’s] own hand. He exposed it for about one second, filming the event from the opposite side of a Curix Ortho Regular Screen. The screen fluoresces when hit by the particles from an x-ray tube he picked up on eBay. This particular event dosed his hand with about 10 rads. We have no clue as to what levels are safe (and a quick search didn’t enlighten us) so talk amongst yourselves in the comments section.

Of course [Jozef] didn’t stop with still images, he put a turntable between the tube and the screen and took a bunch of x-ray videos of revolving electronics. You’ll find the video embedded after the break.

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