Blog Design Update

I've been rather silent about my design work, and I feel I should show some progress. Today I was able to find a couple of hours to finish up the foundation of my design. Much of the work was referencing the requirements Blogger has for it's layout, and how Bootstrap will manipulate that when I get to the coding. Fortunately I was able to find some good Adobe XD resources regarding Bootstrap, so that sped up the process a little.


Radioactive Vacuum Tube

Just a quick post showing off my newest item to my growing radiation collection! This contains a new element I can add to my radioactive isotopes list, Rhenium 187. It has a half-life of 41.2 billion years. Despite it giving off beta radiation it's so weak my sensitive Geiger counter doesn't even pick it up. If only I owned a $500 scintillation sensor to get a better reading... soon. That all said this item poses no threat nuclear wise, but it is a heavy metal and should be handled like mercury.


Sorta Pretty Rocks

Yesterday I woke up and decided I wanted to look for some naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). Before I even got out of bed I made plans to go to the East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show. A convenient coincidence given my spur of the moment itch.

The event was truly amazing, filled will thousands of beautiful specimens worthy for a museum display case. It sparked my younger self wonder and excitement as I once collected crystal and gems when I was very young. It took almost all day for me to scan everything with my Geiger counter. Part of the reason why; I couldn't walk more than 10 feet without someone stopping me, asking questions about my Geiger counter, what I've found, and if their stones are radioactive. All the dealers and collectors wanted to show off their radioactive minerals to me. It was really fun.

Below are all of the minerals and crystals I bought.

The following I will be selling on eBay shortly.

July 19' Antique Finds

C&C Antiques
734 Bedford St, Elmwood, MA 02337

For a small shop they had quite a large selection of antiques. Aside from what I purchased below, there was a nice collection of uranium glass under a UV light, and a couple of desk clocks with radium paint.

Travel Clock: 22,000 CPM, 94 μSv/h
Wristwatch: 1,815 CPM, 7.75
Uranium Glass Marble: 105 CPM, 0.44

One Horse Shay Antiques
450 E Center St, West Bridgewater, MA 02379

A humble little shop. Nothing these was radioactive, but I did find this cool Civil Defense Survival Supply Drum. These were store in fallout shelters all across the US during the cold war. Today it's my clothes hamper.


My DIY Geiger Counter

Something I've always wanted since I moved to Japan three months after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident was a portable Geiger counter. I've been interested in radiation since I was a child, but never did anything about it until then. At the time, I danced around the idea of buying a b-Geigie Nano kit by Safecast; roughly $300 unassembled. However, I didn't have the fiscal liberties as I do now and never bought it.

Skip forward seven years later to March 2018 and I return to see the price has jumped to $600. Given I could buy competed and certified Geiger counters on Amazon for much less, I decided to look around for other assembly kits. That's when I found John's site DIYGeiger. For roughly $75 I had everything I needed to build the GK-Plus kit; minus the battery management, GPS, and housing. It provided all the features the b-Geige Nano kit offered and more.

The assembly took about a whole evening to do, and another evening to clean up and test. The video below is my first test run using uranium cracked glass marbles.

After my initial test I moved on to designing the custom acrylic housing and custom controller board. This was the most time consuming part of the project. I had to make all the parts fit into a pelican 1050 case with enough room left over to fit the remote. Using a caliper I took precise measurements of all the components and translated them into a vector file under the illustration program Inkscape. This vector file was then handed over to Ponoko.com to laser cut the acrylic housing parts. My first design was successful and I had my Geiger counter completed by May 2018.

I used the kit like this for the rest of the year, visiting antique shops and collecting interesting items over the summer weekends. A year later I refined my design, improving the wiring, shielding, and slimming the acrylic housing. After I was done I celebrated by having it officially certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Committee.

All said and done, my Geiger counter is significantly better than the b-Geige Nano in every aspect; speed, memory, controls, battery life, sensitivity, etc. The only con is it's slightly larger, but I can live with that.