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For those of you with an overwhelming desire to build your own subatomic particle accelerator, look no further than this Instructable by Xellers, which shows you how to convert a wine bottle into a cathode ray tube (CRT). Of course, that’s not all you need: other ingredients include a two-stage vacuum pump, a neon sign transformer, a high voltage microwave oven diode, and a few other parts that can be found at your local hardware store. Xellers doesn’t recommend running the tube for more than 40 seconds at a time, so unfortunately you’ll have to use a different method to build that needlessly complex (albeit really cool) reading light you’ve been dreaming up.

More:
The Cathode Ray Tube site, old electronic glassware…

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.


  • http://www.facebook.com/TimGray4 Timothy Gray

    Wear a LOT of suntan lotion and UV goggles when doing this.  The guy is getting an incredible amount of UV radiation standing there videotaping it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000142849737 Daniel Kramnik

      I think you’re confusing a Tesla coil spark gap with a gas discharge tube. Thankfully, the latter doesn’t produce any harmful radiation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000142849737 Daniel Kramnik

      I think you’re confusing a Tesla coil spark gap with a gas discharge tube. Thankfully, the latter doesn’t produce any harmful radiation.

      • Anonymous

        Nope. Timothy gray is correct. You can still get UV while the bottle is being evacuated.

      • Anonymous

        A gas discharge tube generates plenty of electromagnetic radiation. He’d be getting X-rays too if his vacuum was any good.

  • http://twitter.com/dbrunker Dave Brunker

    I’m no expert in CRTs but I’d want to include a Geiger counter in the list of necessary tools.

  • http://twitter.com/dbrunker Dave Brunker

    I’m no expert in CRTs but I’d want to include a Geiger counter in the list of necessary tools.

  • Anonymous

    I think the glow indicates there’s something in there that’s getting ionized. So it’s not a great vacuum, but very cool overall. This could inspire some neat follow-up projects. Good work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Dolan/748728453 Tim Dolan

    Check out Spark bang buzz for another great home brew CRT as well as lots of other educational projects:
    http://www.sparkbangbuzz.com/

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XTFB4ZWJ7PDAV7ISDG6H5LLM4Y Ben Gregory

      I got an iPad 2-32GB for $ 23.87 and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $ 38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $ 657 which only cost me $ 62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://x.co/Z9j7

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XTFB4ZWJ7PDAV7ISDG6H5LLM4Y Ben Gregory

      I got an iPad 2-32GB for $ 23.87 and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $ 38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $ 657 which only cost me $ 62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://x.co/Z9j7

  • FuturePhysicist

    What happens if you keep it running for over 40 seconds?