Pancake Coil

Hello, I was going to try building an old Tesla "Pancake" Coil, and then write an instructable for it. (please don't steal my idea!) Does anyone have any information or building techniques at all that they can give me to help? The Pancake coil is just a Tesla Coil that has a flat secondary, as well as a flat primary. Tesla used it in his early radio and wireless power transmission research. The primary circuit should be pretty much the same as a conventional Tesla Coil. But I am a bit confused as to how to build the secondary. A few questions I have: What wire gauge should I use (I'm pretty sure that Tesla didn't use magnet wire for this)? How do I determine the space in between the turns? (more to come) I realize that most people don't build these kinds of coils anymore, and therefore most people probably won't be able to answer my questions or give me any info; I'd just thought that I would try and see if any one could. It would help me a lot. Thank you.

Picture of Pancake Coil
tesla pancake coil.bmp
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Sessha5 years ago
would fiberglass be a good isulator
JohnW32 Sessha1 year ago

Fiberglass would be a great insulator, almost as good as straight glass. But I would only recommend using it if you have worked with it before or don't have better option.

ElectricUmbrella (author)  Sessha5 years ago
I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't recommend using it.
tarakan19914 years ago
As I can see the theme is 4 years old, but I could not find a better place to ask.
How thick should the papeer be to insulate windings of the secondary?
Bowtie415 years ago
There are lots of places for good info on pancakes(No,not IHOP,lol)

Here is a great site about the Tesla Coil Builders Association:

And another good site for pancake info:

Much More on Google serch.
Good Luck!
ElectricUmbrella (author)  Bowtie415 years ago
Not IHOP? Damn, I was looking forward to spending a long morning there for "research..." ;)

Thanks for the links
waldosan5 years ago
i always wanted to learn how to make a flat "pancake coil" i think i'd have to first make a wire winding jig to make it easy. . . .
ElectricUmbrella (author)  waldosan5 years ago
Agreed, that would definitely be my first step.
A winding jig in this case would consist of three spools - one for the wire, one for the coil, and one for the paper strip going in between the wire. Look at the link that Jiffiycoil posted for info.

EU :)
Where I can get a program or somesing else for pancake coil calculation?
Here is a link to a website with even better calculations.


Not only are there calculators for various aspects of tesla coils; including the pancake coils, resonance, capacitance, and suggested power. They also show you exactly what formula the calculators are using.
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