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X-Ray Mutagenesis Chamber

I knew I had read a way to use old vacuum tubes hooked to high voltage power supplies to create dangerous x-rays. Using the power of the Internet, searching, deal hounding, researching and designing I've been able to gather enough parts to have a "Mutagen Chamber" ready in the next few days. The last thing I needed was lead shielding. I did a quick test run with one of the 2x2a rectifier tubes and a cheap HV stun gun module ordered from a company in China off eBay. The Geiger counter alarm went off signalling over 100cpm and I switched the power supply off. It was a variable power supply so I wasn't even using the full HV output, I was slowly turning it up listening to the chirps steadily increase in frequency of occurrence until the alarm started beeping.

I found a listing for 10x 2x2a tubes on ebay for $26 shipped, making it $2.60 per tube. The HV taser modules (I ordered 2 since I've heard they have a tendency to burn out) were bought for about $2 each. The control circuit is still being designed, I need to figure out better isolation between the microcontroller and the HV module, there's just too much noise, or maybe I need to figure out a more robust timing circuit because I want to run pulses where it's on for 2 seconds off for 2, something like that so the tube or HV module doesn't overheat. The lead is 33 pounds of 1/16" lead sheet roll, was able to get that shipped for a total of $50, the priciest thing so far.

I used FreeCAD to design and 3D printed a socket and "germplasm ring", as well as a cathode electrode connector so I can simply jam the HV module wires into the plastic connectors and start getting x-rays.

Hope to get more of this down and organized. I've got a first generation of 'Wisconsin Fast Plant' seed as well. I want to get a petite population going so I can grow a lot of plants dense and check for mutations. Would be AMAZING to get some viable morphological changes.



I've got my hands on some 1/16" scrap lead sheet, I had to soak it in water to get some paper off of it, the glue dissolved easily.

rolling cutting sheet prototype

The "welding" I attempted with the propane torch didn't go so well, I'm actually thinking of securing everything with duct tape... should work! I also want to design a detachable ring that I put onto the lid and lower into the chamber to make the fiddly loading/extracting of the seeds easier.


I put the lead container together using duct tape and little nails to hold everything. It ended up sitting around for a while while I considered what I was doing (or whatever) up until today, where I decided I was going forward with this. I clipped an old FM antenna for the wire to hook up the HV module to the variable power supply. I selected one of the large pins at random on the 2x2a (there are 2 sets of pins, 2 small and 2 large) basically following Dangerous Laboratiories page on DIY X-rays.


Tube Data

and hooked that one up to the end of the HV module that seemed to glow with more corona than the other (might not be correct here...), then the other HV line to the tube's anode on the top.

While exposed directly to the energized tube (about 10cm away) the counter instantly peaked (>600cpm), I found leakage of about 54cpm close to the lid where it wasn't sealed.

Tags: xray

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Page last modified on January 29, 2020, at 10:46 pm