Brad's Toolbox Wish List (#1 of many)

First, if you don’t watch the YouTube Channel Applied Science you are missing something very interesting. He makes (in his garage) things like Electron Microscopes, X-ray machines, even a CT Scanner. Once you watch him make these incredibly complex devices, it’s easier to understand all of the general concepts behind them. I’m not affiliated, just a fan.

Second, in this video he covers those handheld X-ray element analyzers. Complete with demo, explanation and a teardown. The device will show you what’s in (nearly) any element or compound with accuracy down to 2 decimal points. You just put it in contact with the material and pull the trigger.

One crucial aspect that I didn’t realize until watching this video is the the devices don’t detect Oxygen. But that isn’t a deal-breaker, this would still be a powerful addition to our tool-chest.

Listening Santa?


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One of my favorites from the guy is his animation of a record needle moving through a groove with the sophisticated method of: Move the needle a teeny bit, take a picture, repeat.

I’ll budget the time to watch this one but I’m guessing it’s about the same principle as our SEM’s EDX attachment. You can take a picture and it’ll tell you the elements that are present but also where in the image they are. Helped me discover one time that my ebay-purchased “platinum” was actually 100% aluminum…

I wanted to use it on my copper samples to look for carbon but unfortunately like you said it has trouble with lighter elements like oxygen. Hopefully 20 years from now the next magic future stick won’t have this limitation!