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Lead Snake Construction Notes
This page provides some notes for anyone contemplating construction of a lead snake. The original lead snakes were constructed in a basic home workshop. You will need good handyman skills and a well equipped workshop to make a lead snake at home.Related Wikiradiography Pages
alternatively, could rough out shape with handheld coping saw Router with copy bit
The router copy bit has a ballbearing that is used to copy shapes from a template you could use an electric hand drill countersink Countersink was custom made from a spade bit
mdf sheet mdf was used to make template 3mm grey pvc sheet 1.3mm thick lead sheet 3mm countersunk head stainless steel bolts 3mm threaded sleevenuts these are used by carpenters contact cement and notched glue spreader flatbar mild steel used to make drilling guide
The snake is made with 1.3mm lead sheet laminated between two pieces of grey PVC sheet. A threaded metal sleeve and two countersunk stainless steel bolts allow each piece to freely articulate and conform to any shape. Unlike lead rubber, the snake is made from solid lead sheet and is very effective at absorbing the primary X-ray beam.
insert photo here A template was made from mdf and copied multiple times using a router with a copy bit. A copy box was made so to allow ease of copying using the router. insert photo here The lead sheet and grey pvc are cut into strips 510mm long by 65mm wide and glued together using contact cement. The lead oxide was removed from the sheet lead using a wire brush- this allowed a strong contact between the lead sheet and the grey pvc. The PVC gluing surface was also scoured using sandpaper to aid glue adhesion. After more than 10 years of use, none of the gluelines have shown evidence of failure.
Some clamping of the glued lead/PVC should be achieved to ensure an effective ahesion
insert photo here The template is used to mark the shape of each segment on the laminated lead/PVC allowing space for the thickness of the jigsaw blade and excess that will be removed by the router. insert photo here A piece of flat bar was used to make a drilling guide. Two holes (5 mm) were drilled into the roughed out shape of the snake segments using a drill press. The drilling template ensured the holes were always the same distance apart. Note that the end segments of the snake have one hole only. insert photo here The 5mm holes were countersunk on one side only using a countersinking bit in the drillpress. insert photo here The roughed out laminated segments were bolted to the template and cut to shape using the router and copy bit A very small diameter radiusing router bit was used to round off the edges of the individual segments insert photo here With the individual segments completed, the sleeves were inserted to join the two snake segments together and 3mm countersunk screws attached. The threads of the countersunk screes were damaged to ensure that they did not unscrew with use.
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Latest page update: made by M.J.Fuller
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