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Young Nuclear Physicist Builds Geiger Counter with 3D Printed Parts
Posted by 3DP4E

By Andrew Wheeler | 3D Printing Industry

Conrad Farnsworth originally from Wyoming made headlines back in 2011 when, as a 17 year old, he built a nuclear fusion reactor in his garage and posted the process in a YouTube video. Since then, he has graduated high school and gone onto study electrical engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. And, on the side, he runs a company called Farnsworth Downs Technology that manufactures molten salt reactors. On the side of that, Farnsworth designs 3D printable Geiger counters.

What is a Geiger counter? A Gieger counter is a device that is used to detect ionizing radiation and radioactivity, with some models detecting Alpha and Beta radiation and others detecting X-rays and Gamma rays. The device gets a reading on the levels of radiation and then displays a reading on an digital or analog LCD screen. The reading itself is given in counts or in radiation doses, with counts being simpler to read and understand. Generally with Geiger counters, there is an option to have audible clicks giving the reader an idea of how strong the radiation being detected is.

Farnsworth’s model blends mostly 3D printed parts with a few electronic pieces from SparkFun, an online electronic project retailer. He used a Geiger counter board, a 3.7v boost converter switch, a 3.7v lithium ion battery and a microview from SparkFun. Everything else is 3D printed, with all of the files available on Thingiverse. According to Farnsworth, it took just 24 hours to design and build this machine, using SolidWorks for the design and an Ultimaker 2 to print out the six 3D printed parts.

If your prepping to survive in the ruins of a post-nuclear landscape, your own 21st century nuclear disaster area, or are just curious about the radioactivity of things, this project might be for you. And it’s definitely a useful tool for anyone building a nuclear reactor in their garage.


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