At the end of 2011 I had hit a limit on how far my available equipment could take testing. It took most of 2012 to come to terms with the idea that I needed to either buy all new equipment or pursue a different approach. I tried a number of different avenues. The key was finding somebody that had the background and equipment to finish off testing. In addition they had to have street cred.
The national laboratory system has a nice little feature called “work for others” which allows anybody willing to pay their rates to have research done by the lab. There are about 12 national laboratories that have nuclear research capabilities. I sent emails to all of them. Only a couple of them replied. The replies were from non technical people who had the unfortunate responsibility of answering emails. Only Sandia actually followed through and moved me on to somebody willing to talk to me.
I went out to Albuquerque for the Trillinos conference and managed to have a meeting with a person who would be my contact point with Sandia. That was my major accomplishment for 2012! It is kind of weird that having a meeting is an accomplishment.
It took several months to get an NDA in place and a month to get in my hands this year’s first major accomplishment: A rough order of magnitude (ROM) for the cost of responding to my request for proposal to do the investigation to determine the viability of my fusion reactor design. Getting this far is a good indication that they are interested in the design. I am happy. Well as happy as somebody can be who is going to be spending a significant chunk of change to get told how much he really needs to spend to accomplish a task.
I would like to try crowd sourcing the main project once I know how much it is going to cost. This is going to be difficult. There is nothing useful that anybody can receive for donating. The actual design is secret so donators will not know what makes this project unique. The most that can be revealed is that this is a version of a “fusor”. I am looking for help and suggestions. This is going to have to be one incredible sales pitch and campaign.