Hats off to [Paul Brooking] as he shows off his homemade mass spectrometer in two recent videos you can see below. The first video demonstrates that the device works. The second video shows details about how it was made.
It’s not a good starter project, requiring quite a bit of sophisticated gear including two-stage vacuum pumps, Peltier cold plates, and ion sources, but if you aren’t familiar with mass spectrometers the basic idea is simple enough. You take a sample and bombard it with electrons. This creates a stream of ions of the component parts of the sample. Ions of heavy elements, obviously, weigh more than ions of lighter elements. A magnetic field deflects the ions, and the lighter ones are deflected more than the heavier ones. By detecting ions at a certain spot in the deflected beam, you can determine the relative amount of ions at a certain mass.
Continue reading “This Homemade Mass Spectrometer Works”
Imagine if you will that you are enthroned upon the porcelain, minding your own business while doing your business. You’re catching up on Hackaday on your phone – c’mon, admit it – when a whir and a buzz comes from behind you. You sit up in alarm, whereupon your lower back suddenly feels as if someone is scrubbing it with a steel wool pad. Then the real pain sets in as super-hot plasma lances into your skin, the smell of burning flesh fills the bathroom, and you crack your head on the towel bar trying to escape this torture chamber in a panic.
Sound good? Then [Vije Miller]’s plasma-powered toilet air freshener is a must-build for you. We’re not entirely sure where this was going, but the name of the project seems to indicate a desire to, ahem, clear the air near your derrière with the power of ions. While that might work – we’ve recently seen an electrostatic precipitator for 3D-printer fumes – the implementation here is a bit sketchy. The ball of steel wool? It was possibly intended as a way to disperse the ions, but it served as nothing more than fuel when touched by the plasma. The Contact-esque gimballed rings? Not a clue what they’re for, but they look cool. And hats off to [Vije] for the intricate 3D-printed parts, the geartrain and linkages, and the DIY slip rings.
It may be a head-scratcher of a build, but the video below is entertaining. Check out some of [Vije]’s other projects of dubious value, like his licorice launcher or the smartphone back scratcher.
Continue reading “Fail Of The Week: Toilets And High Voltage Do Not Mix”