I have recently come up with a very interesting concept in engineering that I would also like to share with peers. However, I am relatively fearful that someone may hear the idea and make it or patent it before I can. Thus, I would like to find a way to legally mark the idea as my own and make certain that no one can copy the concept and profit off of the copy.
The way the device works is relatively simple. The method of operation I would like to have labelled as mine would be relatively general ("chlorine gas is run through liquid x to produce y, which is taken to the magnetic gun", "water is used to make the metal behave like a conductor for when y is introduced"). I would like to lay claim. to this concept if possible. It has never been done before, thus, there is no worry about it being in public domain. I would just like it under my name.
The device design is far too expensive for me to build at the moment on any scale. I am afraid that if someone with money gets wind of how it works on a basic level, they could create it for themselves, especially if they are in the particular industry that I am focusing on.
Unfortunately, I am very low on money at the moment and could maybe only pay $200 to undergo whatever would be needed to claim the idea as my own. What options are available to me? How should I proceed? Thank you.