January 8, 2013 AT 11:21 am

DIY X-ray CT scanner controlled by an Arduino

DIY X-ray CT scanner controlled by an Arduino. Ben writes -

I built a CT scanner from an x-ray tube that I bought on eBay, a stepper motor, a large ring bearing, and an Arduino. I used a phosphor screen and my camera to capture x-ray shadow images of a frozen chicken, while the Arduino and stepper motor rotated the chicken by 8 degrees between shots. The resulting 45 images were combined via filtered back projection to create a 3D volume reconstruction of the chicken.



  1. Whow! X-Rays are NOT something you want to fool around with carelessly. You’ll want a lead apron (like they throw over you at the dentist’s office) and probably a lead lined helmet as well. Edison fooled around with xrays and gave it up as too dangerous after he just about killed one of his workers who was being used as a test subject. They used to cell simple cold cathode xray tubes for experimenters (See the old book "the boy electrician" by Alfred P. Morgan). These things weren’t very powerful and were used in the old shoe store xray gizmos which were banned due to the health risks.

  2. Um, you are looking at some horrible injuries or death. Or are also breaking so many laws that your head should be spinning. The guy who sold you the tube also broke umpteen laws. In addition to all of the health and safety laws DHS frowns on the use of unlicensed x-ray devices.

    See the pretty letters after my name? Thats two years of college AFTER my BS. And then a certification.

    Dillon Pyron BS (RT)R

  3. Indeed X-Rays are not something to be taken lightly. Lead apron, lead walls. I don’t see any of this in the video, so anyone in the next room over or house over is getting unknowingly dosed with X-Rays.

  4. Gamma rays are bad ju-ju…be very careful!…

  5. And so are X-rays from electrons (x-ray tubes) …just a slight shift in frequency and source but just as cell damaging…

  6. BTW If you want a somewhat safe method of generating x-rays with equipment that you could actually buy look for an old 6BK4 HV regulator tube. When operatated at max voltage these babies could put out some soft x-rays out the bottom (base end) of the tube. IF the bottle was made slightly out of spec a greater amount of x-rays than allowed by design could leak out. Normally these tubes were used in a sheilded box which protected the TV owner (and most of the x-ray danger in old color sets was from soft x-rays leaking out the rear of the TV, never from the front of the set). Soft x-rays are of the low energy type, detectable by sensitive equipment but not dangerous in short term exposure.

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