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Desktop tornado machine!

Things

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I've always had a fascination with the weather, and over the years I've built many tornado machines, including some that have won me a few science awards. My last one stood just under 2 metres high, which I still have:



I was bored this afternoon, and decided, hey, it'd be pretty cool to have a desktop version I could sit at my computer and stare at. A 2 metre machine not being exactly desktop material, or even fitting in my tiny room for that matter, I decided to build one from acrylic.

I designed it up, and lasercut all the parts, glued them all together and bam, got this:



I've seen many people build similar machines, but they all tend to just build them as one off things, and use steam or dry ice to create fog. I don't like the idea of having hot parts, or using consumables, so I've always used ultrasonic foggers, they work brilliantly, consuming only water and power, and produce a low hanging mist that is easily sucked into the vortex.

So yeah, ultrasonic fogger in the bottom, a little dispersion plate over the top (The tornado needs a flat surface to sit on or wind currents disturb it), and a 80mm PC fan in the top running at about 5V.



Thought I'd share my quick project :D
 



Speedy78

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Man that thing is soo cool. I remeber seeing these, but a around a couple meters high at science type museums. Just need to add a laser to it somehow! Do you cut your own acrylic?
 

Things

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Yep, I saw one at a science museum too and that's why I had to build one (Or 6) myself :D

I have tried using a laser with a line lens, and it shows a really awesome cross section of the vortex, shows the eye up really well. Don't have any green modules on me at the moment, but I might look at getting one to put in, it's a neat effect. I've just gotta work on lighting it, by far the most difficult part of building one.

Yes, I lasercut all the acrylic.
 

Lazerbeak

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That's brilliant Things. I built a small one in school years ago for a project, but nothing like this. I love the size and the laser cut box. :gj:

~ LB
 

IsaacT

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This is brilliant. Now, just place tiny 3D printed houses at the bottom, all rubble-like.

Ooh....what if you created one with some type of flammable gas or liquid fog and then once the funnel was going you sparked the gas. So that, for a few seconds, you had a tornado of fire....would be sooooo cool!!!
 

ped

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Yup these are great little machines.

Also, My thoughts are with the unfortunate folk of Moore , Oklahoma after their recent EF4-5 Twister.
 
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Fiddy

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we the people demand video of the 2m jobby :D
 

Things

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Sure :D







I got the motivation to dig it out tonight, but looks like the original water container I had in the bottom has been thrown out. Shame as it was a perfect size too :(

Will have to try find a replacement. I also need to purchase some new ultrasonic foggers, the 2 I used to have in there have corroded very badly from sitting in water for extended periods of time. One of them has survived enough to be used in this mini machine, but 1 isn't really enough for the big machine.
 
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So, I don't want to de-rail the thread...But, what kind of laser are you using to cut the acrylic? IR? Gas? Surely, this has got to be WAY beyond the power of our handhelds...
 

Things

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IR, yes, at 10.6um (10600nm), produced by a CO2 laser with a power of ~40W :)
 
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I'll just read more for now. It's not like I have a practical reason to own such a monster. If my needs required cutting materials, sure. But that kind of invisible power is too dangerous and expensive for a home hobbyist.

Now, if we could just get Google Glass to perceive IR, it would make focusing much easier!
 

Things

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Haha oh yeah, aligning a laser cutter is by far one of the most annoying and possibly scariest laser experiences you'll have. Many times while aligning mine I walked past and felt warmth on the side of my face from diffuse reflections. Luckily the wavelength is absorbed by almost everything, even clear plastic and glass, and conveniently the front of your eye too, so as long as you don't cop a beam directly to the body, you're pretty safe. The biggest risk with CO2 lasers is burns, and possibly electrocution if you're not careful. Oh, and setting things on fire from across the room, gotta watch out for that ;)
 
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Yeah...

That, and the g/f made me promise, 'No gas lasers until we have a garage'. I wonder how hard it would be to make beam-stop paneling...:thinking:
 




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