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We are two high school students designing and building a fusion reactor, pushing the limits of DIY science.
We are two high school students designing and building a fusion reactor, pushing the limits of DIY science.
We are two high school students designing and building a fusion reactor, pushing the limits of DIY science.
15 backers pledged $2,021 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Open Source Fusion Reactor, Polywell Plasma

$2,021

15

Fusion is being engineered as a clean energy source. Several large-scale projects around the world are making an effort to improve fusion reactor efficiencies. We are building a polywell fusion reactor which uses magnetic fields to trap electrons and fuse deuterium ions. The polywell design has been significantly less explored in fusion sciences. Therefore, we hope to gather valid data from our reactor, helping advance this frontier. We are not trying to single-handedly make fusion a compact clean energy source, as large-scale projects with billions of dollars in funding and professional scientists will certainly be more effective in doing so. Mainly, we aspire to push the limits of DIY science, being high school students invested in a field few amateur engineers explore.

A personal goal of ours is to learn about plasma physics, electromagnetism, material sciences, vacuum equipment, etc., and this will be achieved throughout the design and building of our project (which we started several months ago). On a larger-scale one of our goals is to raise awareness about the importance of clean energy. We also want to inspire people participating in DIY sciences, and promote DIY and entrepreneurial projects for teenagers. Our website will have open source information on the details of our project, and we will most likely present information about our project at school.

3D Printed Polywell Prototype
3D Printed Polywell Prototype
Turbomolecular Vacuum Pump
Turbomolecular Vacuum Pump
3D modeling in progress
3D modeling in progress
Compressed Deuterium Gas
Compressed Deuterium Gas
Simple Circuit Schematic
Simple Circuit Schematic
Wall Discharge Plasma (Demo Reactor)
Wall Discharge Plasma (Demo Reactor)
Neon Sign Transformer Circuitry
Neon Sign Transformer Circuitry
Machining Aluminum Plates (Demo Reactor)
Machining Aluminum Plates (Demo Reactor)
Various Parts
Various Parts
Demo Reactor Plasma
Demo Reactor Plasma
Demo Reactor Plasma (Different Grid)
Demo Reactor Plasma (Different Grid)

Risks and challenges

Our fusion project started the end of our freshman year in high school when we decided to build a simple reactor that demonstrated the basic principles of ionizing gas under a vacuum. Our project was not linked to any class at school, science fair, or competition- we just had an idea paired with enough passion to decide to build a fusion reactor. We started the project not knowing anything about actually achieving this goal, but our desire to learn and overcome challenges allowed us to make it happen. We learned how to handle high voltages by rectifying a modern Neon-Sign Transformer using a full-wave diode bridge. We built a chamber by machining aluminum plates and sealing these to borosilicate glass. The entire project was challenge to us, especially having no background knowledge on this type of science.

Our current project similarly presents us with numerous challenges, some of which we have already overcome. One main challenge in design we have overcome currently is in our circuit schematic. Overtime we transformed our original circuit which lacked stability due to heating problems, to a less expensive, thermally realistic design – a process which required multiple weeks of scrapping and theorizing new ideas. Obstacles will certainly make our project difficult, but we are willing to spend time tackling these problems.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    Backers will receive a thank you in the credits published on our website.

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    Backers will receive a gasket used in our fusion reactor building.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $23 or more About $23

    Supporters will receive a 3D printed block with the lettering "polywell fusion".

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $46 or more About $46

    Backers will receive a special thank you credited on our website. If interested, supporters will have priority on purchasing equipment after our project ends before we re-sell it on eBay.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $114 or more About $114

    Supporters will have the opportunity to video chat with us and get to see some live "behind the scenes" footage of our equipment and reactor. If the supporter is interested in personal DIY projects relatable to ours, we'll offer the advice we can to help.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $248 or more About $248

    Supporters will receive a to-scale, 3D printed copy of the polywell we used in our vacuum chamber. If interested, supporters will have priority on purchasing equipment after our project ends before we re-sell it on eBay.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $457 or more About $457

    Supporters will have the chance to visit our lab and view a live reactor test. (traveling and lodging fees not included)

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Funding period

- (29 days)