Re: The E-Bomb

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Nov 20 2001 - 11:15:54 MST

Chuck Kuecker wrote:
> At 10:57 PM 11/19/01 -0500, you wrote:
> >its why I recommend places like Boeing Surplus. You might try the
> >boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB as well. I'm sure Spike can point people
> >to some suppliers in the Bay area.
> The Boeing site seems interesting, but it looks like one of those places
> you have to go to to find out what they have.
> Do you have contacts at Davis Monthan? Their web page says nothing about a
> salvage yard open to civvies like me...

Actually, most air bases have salvage operations that regularly auction
and retail surplus equipment of all kinds to not just other government
agencies and non-profits, but to private citizens as well. There is
typically a one or two day a month scheduled public auction at the
Material Reuse office.

For instance, any air crash wreckage will eventually wind up at the
Material Reuse office, to be auctioned off as scrap.

> Wright-Patterson AFB used to be a prime source of lots of microwave stuff,
> as was the Dayton Hamvention, but it seems to have dried up in the last
> decade or so.

I believe that the Material Reuse offices at many locations will sign
contracts with surplus jobbers to deal with it for them.

> >I believe that de Seversky worked for the Sikorsky corp. You've gotta
> >use balsa, mylar, and very fine wire. I was planning on a wireless power
> >transmission device to free it from the umbilical cord eventually.
> Mine were balsa and thin copper wire. Of course, i was only 11 at the time.
> I should try this again...

Copper is a no-no. I used very fine steel wire. It can withstand any
static discharges better than the copper and doesn't sag with use. Since
the thrust is generated by the electrostatic field developed, you need
to work with the spacing of the wire to minimize weight and optimize
field spread.

I built it with four triangular cells in a square layout, each cell
having a bit of dihedral and powered independently through a joystick
governor device that varied the voltage to each cell based on the
joystick input so that it could be maneuvered.

> Perhaps you could use the HERF gun to power the ionocraft through an
> on-board rectenna - but HV diodes in the voltages needed are NOT tiny - or
> particularly light...

No, they aren't, which is why you'd want to build a larger model, say
about 3' square or more. It scales to be more effective with size since
it's actually a field device with low current, you want to build up the
field with the lightest supply device possible, and you get higher
thrust with higher voltage. The smallest power supply you can make with
off the shelf parts can actually supply a rather large model. Building
up the field is like filling a balloon with hot air. Once you reach a
certain point, you only need to maintain its buoyancy.

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