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Beat your deathrays into plowshares!
Nikola Tesla stated that he built and operated a "death ray" device. In the middle 1980s the lost/secret documents were made public: it was based on electrospray of tungsten or mercury liquid metal micro-droplets accelerated electrically in a vacuum, with the
acceleration voltage provided by a VandeGraaff machine the size of a tower. He tried to interest the US government in the weapon during WWII, claiming it was effective over hundreds of KM, but he died during the time of the negotiations (he was 86.)
Rather than trying to slice incoming aircraft in half from 300KM distance, use a scaled down version to cut up particle board or plexiglas. Don't use toxic mercury, use liquid indium or perhaps Galinstan.
Also, Tesla was using 1930's linear accelerator technology (VandeGraaff or Cockroft-Walton or Pelletron) when he could have been using AC-driven electrode stacks at much lower voltage. The wood-cutter might resemble a fairly small vacuum tube connected to a radio-frequency power supply of a few tens or hundreds of watts.
Tesla's Death Ray
Proposed costal defense towers from 1942 [wbeaty, Nov 16 2004]
A small droplet exposed to high votlage emits a stream of micro-drops [wbeaty, Nov 16 2004]
non-toxic metal that's liquid at room temp [wbeaty, Nov 16 2004]
Remote control lightweight limb saw
[hippo, Nov 19 2004]
Bandsaw by my thinking
[bristolz, Nov 19 2004]
Water jet cutter
[Worldgineer, Nov 19 2004]
||A Tesla bandsaw would be nice, but what I long for most is a lightweight limb saw that I can operate from the ground with better balance and less exertion than your garden-variety polesaw. It should be able to surgically remove tree branches up to 6 inches in diameter at a distance of approximately 60 feet, and smaller branches at somewhat higher elevations. It would be nice, too, if it didn't turn the majestic tree into a burning bush.
||[Standard caveats: Must be 16 or older to operate. Not to be used in the vicinity of electrical lines or structures. Not to be operated under the influence. PhD in Particle Physics required. Yadayadayada.]
||What happens if you catch your hand? Is it as impressive as with a bandsaw?
||Your definition of bandsaw and mine must be a bit different.
||I think that's generally what [wb] is talking about. Um, without a bandsaw. Just replace the whole bandsaw bit with a high velocity stream of particles. On second thought it sounds more like a water jet cutter to me (see link).