Reconstructing the Aether: Building the Hieronymus Machine

By Joseph Max of Aetheric Arts 
https://josephmax.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/hieronymus_machine_1/

(Note: If anyone has any questions about the construction process, or has tips on building their own Machines to share, please leave them in the comments section of this post.)
 
I’ve been wanting to study Radionics for some time, but I was never sufficiently motivated to expend the time and/or money to obtain a Radionics machine. While I can entertain the possibility of Radionics actually working, I never thought much of the Psionics idea of drawing pictures of machines and using cardboard cutouts for dials to practice Radionics – I’m an audio engineer by trade and I just couldn’t be comfortable with fake knobs. Or real knobs that I knew weren’t actually connected to anything (like so many Radionics devices I’ve seen advertised.)

If you’re going to do something, do it right! What I didn’t realize when I first set out to build this amazing machine that it was going to evolve from a weird science experiment to an expression of Art.

For Radionics to work, we’re told, the operator has to have a special rapport with his or her machine. So I set out to build the kind of machine that would work for me – something artistically beautiful and stylish as well as functional, with well-crafted details and smooth, accurate controls.

Early Tube Radio ca. 1915

As a kind of retro-tech geek, I’ve always loved the look and feel of antique electronic devices and artistic Steampunk machine creations. Early electronic medical devices were often gorgeous works of industrial art and craft. Most Radionics machines sold today are either an “utilitarian” machine in a plain box or a briefcase, or an ultra-modern, sleek plastic box built with exotic materials, holographic panel art and rows of blinking LED lights. And computer interfaces. No, I wanted to go “old school”, and make something I could be proud of as a work of art, reminiscent of the fine handcrafted electrical machines of the early 20th century.

The inner circuitry of the Hieronymus Radionic Analyzer is based on the 1980s circuit design of noted radionics researcher Dr. T. Galen Hieronymus.  The plans are available for free on the Internet, from the private archivist of Dr. Hieronymus’s papers, William Jensen. Mr. Jensen provided the schematic diagrams and parts layouts I used in my construction, and my correspondence with him has been most helpful to me in this project. (Thanks, Bill!) He also sells his own hand-made construction of the Hieronymus Machine to the public for what is, believe me, a very reasonable price. Visit his website at http://www.wdjensen123.com/ for more information.

1950s Hieronymus Analyzer

The circuitry is intended to be a reproduction of the instrument based on the patents of Dr. Hieronymus. Though the circuitry is of a mid-20th century design using transistors (Dr. Hieronymus’s last design before he died at the tragically young age of ninety-five), the exterior is an original design, hand crafted in the style of late-19th and early 20th century electrical devices. Also, I feel much more comfortable connecting my body to a low-DC voltage transistorized circuit than a high-AC voltage vacuum tube circuit!

Even the acquisition of the many of the components became a process of happenstance, synchronicity and luck.

The Exterior of the Analyzer

The mysterious wooden box I got at a swap meet, and even the person who sold it to me had no idea what it was originally made for. Larger than a common jewelry box, it’s the size of a small tobacco humidor or Victorian tea caddy, but there was no evidence that it ever had any compartments built into it (nor did it smell like tobacco or tea); it was completely plain and painted black inside. It’s rather large (8” x 10.5”) for a “craft box”, the kind wood hobbyists buy for projects, and the finishing is very professional. The sides are 3/8” solid wood with what I think is a cherrywood veneer. But the hinges it had seemed added as an afterthought – the wood was crudely mortised to fit and the cheap hinges installed slightly crooked. The lid was too heavy for the hinges to support when open, and they were working loose.

I told my wife I couldn’t imagine what the box was made for, and she replied, “it was made for you.” OK, we’ll leave it at that.

Air-tuned capacitor

The basic electronic parts like potentiometers, resistors, diodes, circuit boards and the like came from electronics shops. (Some on-line, some not.) Things like a 10-turn 100k ohm pot and the two air capacitor tuning coils are specialized components and had to come from electronic specialty suppliers. The air-tuned capacitors for the Rate controls were the trickiest parts to find, and even then I had to settle for a compromise. Without going into too much detail, air caps work by use of two or more stacks of semi-circular metal plates that mesh with each other when rotated on a shaft. Finding the kind that are “enmeshed” when the shaft is turned clockwise is extremely rare; generally air capacitors are only used for building DIY crystal radios these days, and they are almost always enmeshed when turned counter-clockwise. But the design requires that “100” Rate setting on the dial is when they are fully enmeshed. So I set the dial scales up so that “100” is fully counter-clockwise, and “0” is fully clockwise – the reverse of standard left-to-right dial rotation. But I realized it doesn’t matter which way you have to turn it, so long as it’s accurate. And I kind of like the heretical vibe I get from having “backwards” dials.

Bakelite knob

Another problem was finding the knobs, which are more than just handles for the controls, but active components themselves. I wanted antique “hex-fluted” knobs made of Bakelite (more on that below), as these were the kind used in the first radionics machines like the Abrams Reflexophone, for that “authentic imitation retro” look. But they also have to have conductive metal pointers that are electrically connected to the shafts. The plans stressed how important this was for the machine to operate. The other requirement is that they be very sharp at the points so accurate numbers can be dialed in on an analog scale.

I found the smaller Intensity knob on E-bay, from an Australian ham radio hobbyist (he actually sold me two.) It already had the proper metal pointer. But no matter how much I searched, I couldn’t find a larger matching version. I did manage to find two larger knobs of a matching style from an on-line antique radio restoration supplier, but without pointers. So for the first version of the Machine I built, I used metal clock hands and soldered them to the metal shaft nuts under the knobs. It worked, but I wasn’t happy with it because they were not very “pointy” and didn’t match the Intensity pointer. I later upgraded the pointers with custom made versions (See below.)

The only other thing was I wanted all the metal parts to be brass, but the Intensity pointer seemed to be white metal. But examining it closely I realized it was actually brass with an outer plating of nickel (very common with electronic parts.) Some sanding and polishing revealed the brass, and then all the knobs and pointers matched.

Leaf-lever switch

The switches are vintage “phone console leaf-lever switches”. These are rarely used anymore except for restoring old equipment. The thing about this kind of switch is that they are “modular” – the internal leaf-switch parts could be stacked or mounted side-by-side to create whatever kind of on-off combination an engineer needed. One can still find them at surplus electronics stores, but I found a small cache of these in an old electrical workshop that didn’t want them so they were given to me. I had to reconfigure them to do what I wanted, especially to make a dual-circuit, spring-loaded, two position switch for the “Clear” control, which is all but impossible to find manufactured today. I had to combine parts from two switches to make it work.

The top panel and stick-pad are cut from a sheet of black Bakelite. Bakelite (which is a registered trademark of DuPont, but has become a generic term like Vaseline or Kleenex) is made by compressing sheets of a particular substance like paper or cloth with a binding material of phenolic resin.

Bakelite Radio

Bakelite was the first “plastic” ever invented, though it is not based on petroleum like most plastics today. In the 1920s and 30s there was a fad for costume jewelry made from Bakelite, many of which are now rare collector’s items. Old radios and tabletops were also made of Bakelite, and small items like brushes and combs.

Bakelite is extremely rigid and non-conductive, so it’s still used in the manufacture of electronic components; it’s also popular with cutlery manufacturers to make knife handles, and for guitar pick-guards. But it can’t be cast or molded, and it’s much more brittle than fiberglass or poly-carbon plastic, which has mostly replaced it. Bakelite is still manufactured today by the McMaster-Carr company, under their brand name of Garolite. Luckily, they don’t mind filling small orders for single sheets.

Hieronymus’s design calls for Bakelite made from paper fiber (another thing he was specific about) for the stick-pad, even though many radionics machines made these days use fiberglass or plastic for the stick-pads. (Even Bill Jensen’s plans originally specify fiberglass, though in a subsequent update he changed to black acrylic.) But I wanted to be as close to the original spec as possible – if I couldn’t get the machine to work it wasn’t going to be due to making compromises in construction!

In general, I tried to avoid using modern plastics as much as possible – even the knobs and switch-handles are made of Bakelite.

So I decided to make the whole front panel from it. Bakelite sheets only come in opaque black or brown; brown would have looked “retro” like an old radio, but black was easier to color-match when it came to making the dial scale decals (see below). Most builders, even experts like Bill Jensen or Ray Mattioda, tend to use white plastic for the top panel since it’s easier to make white (or clear) appliqués or stickers with black lettering for the scales. I was a bit concerned about this, but found a solution. One can buy ink-jet printer decal paper, usually used by model builders (to make authentic signs for model railroads or airplanes.) There is also an opaque white version, which meant I could print the black background and let the white show through. I got a friend who is good with Adobe Illustrator design some clean, sharp scales to the size I needed, and printed them out (Thanks, Sam!) Then the decals have to be sealed with clear acrylic spray so the ink won’t run in the water used to apply them. But since the Bakelite has a more matte finish than plastic, I used a flat finish polyurethane spray, and they match remarkably well.

Finally with all the parts together, I began construction. Bill Jensen, bless him, had some peculiar anomalies in his instructions, like telling you to install the drilled out control panel into the box *before* the step of mounting the dials and switches on it (kind of impossible!) But after logically sussing it out and re-arranging the steps, I was ready to go.

The first thing was to cut the bakelite to size and drill out the mounting holes. I needed a hole saw to cut the large hole for the well, and router bits for the switches. One thing to know about drilling bakelite: always clamp a piece of scrap wood under it! The first holes ended up with chips breaking away underneath, which I had to glue back into place. The second thing to know about drilling bakelite: if you use too high a drill speed, it will begin to smoke and burn! The smell of burning phenol is something you’d rather not experience. Treat it like drilling metal – always use a backstop and a low drill speed.

Then I mounted wooden corner pieces (to support the control panel) into the corners of the box. Since I didn’t want to mar the exterior of the box, I drilled the hole for the power connector into the bottom – the tall brass feet allowed enough clearance to use a right-angle ‘L’ connector underneath it. Though I actually did this later, I installed a pair of heavy-duty brass “stop hinges” that only allow the box lid to open to a 95° angle.

So the box itself was ready!

With the woodworking out of the way, I could turn to the electronics. Bill Jensen provides an etching “mask” for producing a printed circuit board, but I’m not fond of having to do acid-etching (the vile, dangerous chemicals, for one thing.) Since the wiring is actually pretty simple, I used a blank, pre-drilled circuit board, stuck all the leads through the holes and did point-to-point wiring of the electronics. (Basically hook everything together with short jumper wires.) Again, this is the very old-school turn-of-the-19th-century electronics way, as they did it before there were printed circuit boards.

Interior of the Analyzer

So I mounted the transistors and resistors to the board, leaving space to mount the coil on it later – I used a pretty big circuit board, and it could certainly be made smaller, but I wanted lots of space to work with, since it was the first time I’d made one of these. In fact, I ended up not using the space anyway after the first main modification – but more about that later.

I wanted everything to be mounted on the control panel itself, not to the insides of the box. That way, it’s taken apart by simply lifting out the control panel, and it all the circuitry comes with it. Except, in this case, the power cable. I had to install a DC power connector pair so the power line could be easily disconnected inside for lifting it all out.

I had L-bracket terminal strips lying around (any L-bracket would work) so I mounted the circuit board to one of those, and later I simply glued it to the underside of the control panel with epoxy, instead of running nuts-and-bolts through the panel surface.

All the components like switches and potentiometer mounted through their respective holes. I used an LED pilot light assembly from Radio Shack for the power light, but I stuck it inside a nice crystal “jewel” lens and bezel scavenged from an old guitar amp to give it the retro look.

The air caps were a bit of a challenge though. The threaded mounting holes for air caps are through the body of the unit itself, and usually the screws need to be custom cut to exact lengths (within 1/32 of an inch) so as to avoid snagging the rotating plates inside. Mounting it with screws through the control panel was tricky and if I did it wrong, it could be a serious setback. In Bill Jensen’s machines, he avoids the problem by using a big plexiglas mounting bracket on supports *under* the caps to hold them in place. But I had a smaller box space to work with and wanted to avoid all the extra fabrication work.

Finally a friend suggested to use double-sided tape instead of screws. So I got the strongest industrial mounting tape made and stuck the air caps to the underside of the panel with it. It’s wickedly strong stuff – I doubt I could pry those caps off without breaking the panel. (Hopefully I’ll never have to!) Problem solved! I ended up using adhesives extensively in this project instead of screws and metal fasteners. There are a lot of very powerful, advanced adhesives made these days for gluing just about anything to anything. The only drawback is that it’s very permanent, although using silicon “goop” adhesive is quite strong enough for most things, but still can be scraped off and separated if necessary.

OK, components mounted to circuit board and panel, time to wind the coils. But first, you need something to wind them on.

Electronic coils are just insulated wire wrapped around a non-metallic cylindrical core. Typically cardboard, wood or PVC pipe are used, and the wire is wrapped around and around for a specified number of “turns” to get the characteristics desired. Coils intensify electro-magnetism into a cylindrical space, so they are used to amplify weak signals, among other uses. The wire I used is 26 gauge, low-oxygen, enameled copper “magnet wire”. It looks like bare copper wire, but it’s coated with a thin layer of clear enamel insulation, so it can touch other wires without shorting out. This means when it has to be connected to another wire, the end has to be heated and scraped clean to remove the enamel.

Jensen’s instructions call for the main coil to be wound on a short piece of wooden dowel, which I did. Then I mounted the dowel to the circuit board and ran the wires through the holes.

The next coil to wire is the one around the beaker that becomes the witness well. Normally, people building a Hieronymus machine use a standard 100 or 200 milliliter laboratory flask, but I wasn’t fond of the idea for two reasons: one, the flasks are always labelled on the side with measurement marks, and there is a spout on the top edge for pouring. Since the flask was never going to be used for measuring or pouring, those features were superfluous. And they would have spoiled the clean “vintage” look I was going for. But it’s not easy to find anything similar to substitute. I was lucky enough to be browsing through a salvage store (Urban Ore in Berkeley, CA) and happened on an old coffee cup which was a glass flask with a plastic holder and handle! It was a bit larger than I had originally planned for, but it was pyrex glass and free of marks or spouts. So I bought it for 50 cents and broke the plastic holder off.

When winding the wire around it, it helped to have my wife to hold the beaker and rotate it while I fed the wire, so I got a nice, tight coil. Then I covered the whole beaker with black electrical tape, which is made of vinyl, which happens to be an insulator of eloptic (as well as electric) energy. (The well is another thing that got modified later.)

With all the components prepared, the next thing was to mount them all and then connect them with wires. It’s pretty straightforward if you can read a schematic diagram, but I labeled each point with a number to keep from getting confused. I used silver solder as recommended by Jensen. I made a mistake when I wired the three transistors and inadvertently installed them with the leads reversed. This had the result of them burning as soon as I applied the power to test the circuit! Once they were replaced and installed correctly, the circuit powered up properly.

First version of the Analyzer

The stick pad has a flat wound “bifular coil” under it (a bi-directional coil invented by Nikola Tesla) held in place by vinyl tape. I drilled four mounting holes in the corners an counter-sunk them so the screws would be flat to the surface, with rubber gaskets (the kind plumbers use in faucets) to hold it above the main surface.  Then I turned to decorating the control panel.

Using Photoshop, I created the front panel art, including lettering to label the controls. I spent a lot of time toying with fonts to use, finally deciding on a Copperplate font. The printed-out decals were easy to position while still wet, so getting them placed was fairly simple. Then I mounted the knobs on their shafts and screwed the control plate into the box. Done!

But not done…

The Machine was good looking but not everything I’d hoped for, artistically speaking. There were still some “modern” looking parts to it. The binding posts for the Input and Output connections were standard red and black “banana jack” plastic screw posts, the kind used to connect speakers to amplifiers. The decal labels didn’t have the look of etched panel lettering used in the early 20th century. So I decided to further modify the Machine to “version 2.0”.

First I wanted brass binding posts, and found a brass artist named Jon Bowers who creates hand-turned binding posts for antique radio restoration.  They were gorgeous (though not cheap). I ordered eight, figuring on using the other four with my next project. Then I replaced the clock hands on the Rate dials with cut brass pointers.

As I mentioned above, I was not happy with the “clock hands” I used for the Rate knob pointers, so a friend with a computer controlled milling machine cut me a pair of pointers to the right size and shape from brass sheet. (I didn’t know this person when I began work on the machine, so it was another bit of providence that she came along “when I needed it.” Thanks, Sarah!) They even have nice etched details, a pattern I lifted from antique clock hands! The points are so sharp I drew blood with one while working with them! I mounted them in contact with the metal shaft nuts in the knobs and I had what I needed.

Then I ordered engraved metal nameplates from a company that makes awards and trophies to replace the nameplate decals. I got them in black brass, and the maker, when I explained what I wanted, cut them to custom lengths for me. Then I adorned the dials with engraved brass bezels I found that just happened to fit the inner rings of the knobs. These changes made a big difference in the “look and feel” of the Machine.

Quartz Crystal Main Coil

I had been reading how many Radionics machines use quartz crystals in their construction, especially as the core for wire-wound coils. So I got a nice double-terminated quartz crystal the size of the wooden dowel and used it to wind a new coil. Since I couldn’t drill holes in it to secure the wire, I used silicone goop to hold down one end, let it set overnight, and it stuck the wire to the quartz strongly enough for me to get a tight winding. I used two spring-steel microphone clips to hold the crystal coil and mounted them directly to the underside of the panel instead of to the circuit board itself. (I was afraid the quartz would be too heavy and might break loose from the circuit board.)

And while I had it open, I installed a modification on the Hieronymus design. In the original design, when transmitting Eloptic energy to a remote subject, Hieronymus says the coil under the stick pad acts as the “transmitter antenna”. I wasn’t quite happy with that idea, so I added another pair of brass binding posts wired in parallel with the stick pad, passing through another quartz crystal coil, to connect an external antenna.

Antique loop antenna

At first I used an AM radio “loop” antenna (the kind that comes with stereo receivers) which is perfectly functional but not a good artistic match with the machine. So I decided to make a reproduction of a classic wire loop antenna, as were used by old crystal sets and tube radios.

The simple form of a loop antenna is a mast with a cross piece, and the wire is wound around it in a spiral pattern (like a spider’s web). But the geometric shape doesn’t matter, so I went for a mast with eight “arms”, and it really ended up looking very much like a spider’s web. The hardest part was drilling out 12 holes in a straight line in each 3″ long arm, and tapping in the 48 brass brads. Then I glued each arm with epoxy to a 2″ circle of bakelite which I had marked with an octagon.

Octagon Loop Antenna

When that set, I mounted a small, thin quartz crystal in the center, glued the other bakelite circle on top, and filled the gaps with epoxy putty, smoothing it to a solid disk. I used a black granite base that came from an old bowling trophy to hold it, and mounted the last pair of the brass binding posts to the base. The antenna wires terminate at the disk, so a pair of knurled brass nuts attach cloth-covered vintage wires that run from the posts. I can disconnect the antenna from the base and they both fit into a small leather carrying case.

And for a final modification, I added black light!

With a Hieronymus Machine, the witness well (the glass container where samples are placed) must be “cleared” or “neutralized” after each use. The theory says that the Eloptic energy imprints or “signatures” of samples will linger in the well, and can get intermixed with new samples, giving confusing or even detrimental results. The operator must take great care in handling witness samples, so as not to get their own signatures mixed with the subject’s. Samples are handled with rubber gloves or tongs, and each container must itself be cleared before using it to hold a sample. Tongs, probes and anything else that comes into contact with a subject must be cleared before using it with the next subject. And the Machine itself is also cleared to “reset” it for the next subject. It’s pretty much the same typical testing lab procedures.

Clearing (Hieronymus called it “Neutralizing”) is done by throwing a switch which sends the power through the well’s coil, and shorts out the amplifying circuit to ground  – it’s the same as a demagnitizer used on old tape recorders. But I felt like I wanted some kind of indicator to show that the Clearing was happening.

I had also become fascinated with the old “Violet Ray” devices, and surmised that since ultra-violet energy is used to sterilize medical devices and food handling surfaces, it might do the same, at least symbolically, for the witness well. So I took apart the well (no easy task!) and mounted a small 360 nanometer ultraviolet LED directly under the bottom of the glass using a block of gray foam rubber. When switched on, it causes the whole well to glow in a deep purple light. Glass sample vials also glow purple, and a quartz crystal placed in the well fluoresces brightly!

There were other touches I added, like Victorian-style brass corners and a nice metal nameplate to the lid. Now I had a Radionics machine that was functional AND beautiful. I’ve received many compliments on its look, including from Radionics experts like Bill Jensen and Charles Cosimano.

I also built some other accessories for the system. I wound another coil like the stick-pad’s under a wooden craft disk, mounted a brass disk on the wood and a bakelite disc on the brass, which makes it a basic orgone accumlator. I use it for taking pendulum readings and as a treatment platform. The pendulum is a small orgone wand. The probes are brass electrodes with wooden handles made from antique theatrical lighting plugs.

I enjoy experimenting with my Hieronymus Machine very much. I can confidently say it WORKS, as a Radionics Machine is supposed to work. I have already had many amazing experiences with it, the kind that make one question the concepts we’ve been taught by mainstream science of how the universe works. But that is for another article…

I’m proud of my Hieronymus Radionic Analyzer as an artistic work, aside from its (meta)physical functions. In fact, I’ve come to realize that being a work of Art is an important part of that function. People ooh and aah when they see it. They *want* to be connected to it. When they hold the electrodes, they feel it. It has an *aura*. Without that aura, I don’t think Radionics would work. Art is how to generate that aura.


UPDATE:

Some folks have asked me about sources for the various parts I used to make the Hieronymus Machine. Bill Jensen’s list has some good sources, but some are just tagged “Surplus” or “eBay” which doesn’t give much info to go on. So here’s where I located the hard-to-find components.

• Garolite (bakelite) sheets:

McMaster-Carr: http://www.mcmaster.com/#garolite/=74903l

The XX Grade Garolite is the paper/phenol composite material as recommended by Dr. Hieronymus. They will fill single-sheet orders. I used 1/8″ thickness for both the front panel and the stick-pad.

• 365pF, 180° air capacitors:

Oren Elliot Products: http://www.orenelliottproducts.com/n50.html

Midnight Science seems to have gone dark, but Oren Elliot makes a very high quality air capacitor. Air caps are often found on eBay as well.

• Air Variable Capacitor, clockwise-mesh version:

Modern Radio Labs: http://www.modernradiolabs.com/Parts%202.htm#Variable%20Air%20Capacitor%20406%20pf

These caps are within the usable range for building the Machine, and are built so that they are fully meshed when turned clockwise: just what you need if you don’t want “backwards” dial scales.

A hat tip to commenter Richard Thomas for the link!

• Precision potentiometer, 100k ohm, 3 watt:

Galco: http://www.galco.com/scripts/cgiip.exe/wa/wcat/itemdtl.htm?pnum=502-0109-NTE

This was the place with the best prices I found for precision potentiometers.

• Transistors, MPF102 J-FET VHF Amplifiers

http://www.jpmsupply.com/servlet/the-282/10-MPF102-RF-Amplifier/Detail

This is the EGC (MPF) direct replacement transistor for the 2N5670, which the techs at my local ‘old school’ radio electronics shop recommended. The 2N5670 is obsolete, but I did find one source in Hong Kong that specializes in obsolete parts – however, the minimum order is 24 units at US$6.00 each.

• Momentary (on)-on DPDT toggle switch

All Electronics: http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/STS-73/DPDT-TOGGLE-MOMENTARY-ON-ON/1.html

This is for the Neutralize (Clear) switch. The double-pole (DP) version is hard to find, but necessary if you want to install the ultraviolet UV light source under the well. (If you don’t, just use one side of the switch’s solder posts.)

• Classic control knobs:

http://www.leedsradio.com/parts-knobs.html

Leeds Radio: they carry a wide selection of classic radio knobs, including a knob with pointer for the Intensity control. You can also use a “chickenhead” knob for Intensity, with is what Hieronymus used in his machines. No matter what, you’ll still need to come up with metal pointers for the Rate knobs. (See below.)

• Glass beaker, 100 or 150ml:

Indigo Instruments: http://www.indigo.com/glass/gphglass/chemistry-beaker.html

These are standard laboratory beakers with the graduated scales printed on the side. They work perfectly well, but if you search and get lucky, you might find a beaker cup without markings.

• Metal clock hands:

http://www.klockit.com/products/dept-5__sku-SPADE.html

Finding big knobs with metal pointers is not easy! I ended up having to make my own. I had a friend with an automated milling machine, but one could cut a pair of pointers out of thin brass sheet with strong, sharp scissors.

A friend who built a Machine simply used stiff solid-core hookup wires for pointers, with stripped ends wrapped around the shafts, the rest straightend and cut to the radius of the number dials. Workable but lacks a certain, um, elegance.

In my first version of the Machine, I used metal clock hands for the pointers on the Rate dials. The mounting holes are actually too small to fit over the air cap’s shaft, so I cut them off completely, leaving just the pointer arm itself, and soldered it to the knob bushing.

Almost any knob with set screws to hold it to the shaft have a metal bushing at the center where the shaft is mounted. The pointers MUST be electrically connected to the shaft, so they have to be soldered in contact with the bushing. But soldering to solid metal is not easy. Rough the surfaces with metal sandpaper first. Clock hands have an enamel coating on the metal, which needs to be sanded off anyway to make electrical contact. It’s best to glue the clock hand (or whatever pointer you use) to the back of the knob first to hold it firmly in physical contact with the bushing, then solder the point where they meet with as much heat as possible without melting the plastic of the knob (use a solder gun instead of an iron.) Using solder flux paste will also help make a solid solder joint.

Most everything else needed to build the Machine can be obtained at hobby shops, hardware stores and electronics shops (Radio Shack, Maplin’s, Dick Smith, etc.)

Important Note: if you build the Machine with the air capacitors listed above, you have to number the dials in a counter-clockwise direction as I did. Whatever caps you use, the rule is simple: when the rotors of the cap are fully UNmeshed, that is the zero (0) dial position. When they are fully ENmeshed, that is the one hundred (100) dial position. Calibrate your dials accordingly, or the machine will not work properly.

Try as I might, I can’t find a source for clockwise-enmeshed air caps. If anyone knows of a source, please leave a comment here with the information.


UPDATE II:

I had been noticing that the reactions I was getting from the stick pad seemed to be getting progressively less “precise” than when the Machine was new. The stick reactions were getting “wider”, i.e. the range of the Intensity settings where I got stick reactions was not as precise as a few months ago.

I got an idea what might be happening after a conversation with Ed Kelley of Kelly Research Technologies (Thanks, Ed!), who pointed out that while winding coils with crystal cores can add a lot of power to a radionics circuit, the problem is keeping them “clear” of accumulated energies. Ed’s design solution called for the crystals to be removable for cleansing.

Crystal users typically “clear” or “cleanse” crystals by rinsing them with spring water, rubbing with salt or by… exposure to sunlight! Assuming the cleansing power of sunlight comes from it’s powerful ultraviolet component, I figured I could cleanse the internal crystals using shortwave UV light. So I added two more ultraviolet lamps inside the box, mounted so that they beam light down the axis of each quartz crystal when the Clear switch is depressed. The additional circuit also completes an eloptic connection between the Clear switch sending the degaussing energy to the Well and the crystals. Of course, since the box itself is light-tight, I can’t see them working. But I know they worked before I sealed the box shut!

So far, a week after the modification, the stick reactions are tighter again.

UPDATE III:

People have asked about the UV lamps used in the Machine and where to get the “right” ones. I used a 360 nanoweber LED lamp in the witness well, which is about as shortwave as should be used in any light source that can be seen by the operator. The internal lamps are 254 nanoweber, and the radiation can be harmful to the eyes and skin, even with short exposure. So those lamps are sealed inside the light-tight box.

A source for both of these LEDs is:

360nw lamps:
http://www.ledsupply.com/l5-0-u5th15-1.php

254 nw lamps:
http://www.ledsupply.com/l5-1-u5th15-1.php (note: these are rather pricey.)

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