DIY liquid nitrogen generator

DIY liquid nitrogen generator


One of the more intriguing exhibits at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area was Ben Krasnow’s liquid nitrogen generator rig. Ben built the entire assembly, for under $500, with parts he scrounged (over a year) on eBay.

In this video, shot at the Faire, intrepid reporter Circuit Girl, aka Jeri Ellsworth, interviews Ben. We apologize for the loud ambient noise and the gonging robo-Gamelan next door. Hopefully between the video, the above illo, and Ben’s blog posting, you can get the gist of his set-up.

(And yes LN2 can expand with explosive force and can burn living tissue. All sensible cautions apply.)

DIY liquid nitrogen generator

2 thoughts on “DIY liquid nitrogen generator

  1. Douglas Gourlay says:

    Hi Ben,
    Great projects with incredible detail in your documentation of the process and theory behind their function.  I built a Transmission EM in highschool for a science fair project.  The glassware was done by a very generous university glass blower! 

    I’ve looked on ebay for cryocoolers and as usual, the deals are few and far between.  There is a 7W refurbused Ricor for $1800 Or Best Offer! (new price is $12,000) There is also a unit from Israel that is listed as working but not getting cold.  Can you offer any insight into trouble shooting a broken cryocooler?  Easy to repair (helium recharge? or failed compressor?) or difficult?

    (BTW, I did my grad studies in dielectric chemistry but eventually went into anesthesia as a medical doctor.  I remember the Liq N2 plant with foundness.  More than a few “wine-scicles” were produced back in my masters year – much less during PhD studies :)

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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