Instructables
It's Frankenstein time. Who doesn't enjoy the smell of ozone and the snap of a big fat spark?



The dome is rotating due to vibration

Although a Van De Graff generator has recently been posted I decided to post mine based on it's substantial differences.

 
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Step 1: Supplies

We'll need

Two matching mixing bowls
electrical tape
3" PVC pipe
closet flange
1/2" pvc pipe and end caps
a bucket
superglue
assorted nuts and bolts
A 540 size electric motor
copper wire for brushes
and a pair of pantyhose ;-)

Step 2: Making the sphere

Start with your mixing bowls, BIGGER is BETTER. Measure how tall one bowl is and write that down somewhere I wrote it inside the bowl. Cut a 3.25" dia. hole in the bottom of one bowl, a sheet metal nibbler makes this easy. Now tape the two bowls together with electrical tape, and then tape around the nibbled opening. We use electrical tape not because it's insulating, it's not at these voltages, but because it smooths and reduces corona discharge.

Step 3: The motive system

The motive system consists of a roller made of pvc pipe attached to a 540 size motor. To build the roller carefully drill a hole smaller than the motor shaft diameter through the center of each end cap. Heat the motor shaft with a lighter and press one end cap onto the motor shaft squarely. Now cut a short length of pipe and assemble the roller. The bearing for the end opposite the motor is made from a piece of hardened steel rod epoxied to the head of a bolt. The top roller is made similarly to the bottom roller only it rides on simple brass bolts and is covered in aluminum tape.

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does anyone know how to make a discharge wand. I am confused.
my wookie1 year ago
would a bike tire inner-tube work instead of panty hose? not the easiest thing to get your hands on when your a guy.
Vineetm952 years ago
Hey Where to Connect this Wire Help...

http://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/FEO/12V4/H2MYLY7L/FEO12V4H2MYLY7L.MEDIUM.jpg
nilved2 years ago
Im using a rubber belt as the belt must the brushes touch
nilved2 years ago
do the bowls have to be aluminium ?
nilved2 years ago
I am making a van de Graaff for my school project and I am using a site that you will find at http://mark.rehorst.com/Van_de_Graaff/index.html plz can you tell me if you have to use your hand to make a spark or can you use the pole type thing used in this instructable to make the spark? if so how and where do I connect it ? please answer quick ,its urgent thx
sbhatia23 years ago
wot is d rate of rpm of d motor.?
do the rollers move
They spin.
can somebody please help?
hcarmona3 years ago
how well does it work compared to the teflon and nylon rollers?
peacefoots3 years ago
how small of a motor can you use
will this make your hair stand on the end or not....please tell, i need it 4 a science project!!
yes, it will
sam97124 years ago
Thanx.
Sooooo useful.
ADVICE TO ALL VDG ATTEMPT-ING-ERS; I know that the only things i got stuck on in my four non-working vdg's is the rollers. As simple as, two different materials such as plastic to metal,(used here) and the ground. Now the ground is only needed if you are using a hand crank. you can just do what he also does here, and ram it in your electrical outlet, this will be a bottom brush. hope this helps!!! (just made my good one today, AWESOME!!!!!!)
Whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah, NEVER EVER stick anything into the ground of your electrical outlet!!!!
Let me make this clear, you will probably get a very nasty jolt of mains supply electricity, with chances of it killing you. No joke, do not attempt this!!!!!!!!!!!
Why? I use an old computer power supply that has been hollowed out for ground all the time. I took out all of the circuits, and then cut the mains lines and glued all over them to keep them insulated. Now, I just plug it into the wall, and the only connection left is the ground one to the metal case. Works like a charm for crystal radios, Tesla coils, and such.
It depends on how much experience you've had. I take it back, when I said "never ever stick anything into the ground of your electricity outlet" I was thinking of your average beginner hobbyist. You can do it, I agree, but getting a plain wire and sticking it in isn't a real good idea. I stick with an outside water tap, just in case. Thanks for your point of view anyway!
The real reason why you shouldn't stick anything in your ground outlet is that it doesn't work well. You need an RF ground like a big metal pole (2-4 ft.) in the ground.
Hmmm, alright, just I've seen numerous warnings on kits and stuff that you need a ground, I know an electrician who warned me about it and my dad's built a house and warned me about it... Coincidence?
There's really nothing dangerous about sticking anything in a ground, only if you're connected to a hot lead would that hurt you. No power is transfered in a ground unless something goes wrong.
...and knowing the number of times that happens! :P But thanks for telling me.
ogorir Xellers4 years ago
by code(at least in michigan) your house ground needs to be attached to a 6' copper pole stuck in the ground, i believe, so it is below the frost line.

Presuming you've insulated the other wires coming from the plug properly and presuming your house wiring is correct and to code* you should be fine using the ground pin in your outlet.

* use an outlet tester. always. every time. before you plug anything over 1000W(commercially produced) or home-made into an outlet. most wiring is shoddy, incorrect, or just not safe. better to be safe than sorry.
In the event the ground terminals in your receptacles have anything, but a 0(zero) potential, there is a problem with the wiring.
generator 24 years ago
cool !
smithy.exe4 years ago
it all depends on the length of your legs and the height of your generator 

I noticed corona discharges at the center edges of the dome on the video above. Corona points are electrical charge dissipations that decrease a VDG’s potential output. To reduce this phenomenon you should smooth out and round off any acute edges and or angles. The more round and seamless the dome is, higher the output. Just a tip!

sheial3604 years ago
I have followed all the instructions but my generator still does not work ...everything runs but there is no spark .
do you have any ideas of maybe why it does not work??????? or what i can do to make it work ?????

To

sheial360 : Make sure that the Bottom brush side has a good earth ground connection. If you’re using a 120V motor to turn the roller look for the Green wire on the motor power cord (make sure you unplug the motor first) it’s usually located in the electrical termination enclosure or motor housing and connected to a terminal post. This wire is used as a fail safe wire just incase the motor were to short, but it also serves as a good grounding point which runs to the earth ground for your house. Use a fork or ring connector with the right Gauge aka “AWG” size to make the connection, and be sure to crimp the connector properly. I wouldn’t recommend grounding to another spot on the frame, due to higher resistance, unless the frame is made of copper or silver, which is highly unlikely. OR you can stake a 5 to 6 piece of copper pipe or rod into the ground, leaving about 6 inches sticking out to tie in your ground ( if you do this make sure you use a copper ground clamp when connecting your wire.) Also you need to consider Humidity, it’s harder to produce sparks in humid atmospheres. Running your VDG indoors with the AC on might help. Also instead of using panty hose, try using a surgical rubber tourniquet or tube for the band ( Split the tube down the middle with a razor evenly) sand the ends down to a taper apply rubber cement to the ends, overlap them and press together. Lay the glued ends on a flat surface and lay a heavy book or heavy flat object on the glued ends to help seal them together (make sure you wipe away any excess beforehand to keep the band from sticking to the other surfaces) and just wait until the bonding process is complete. I hope this helps you!
sheial3604 years ago
So does the bowl have be cut so the PVC pipe fits in it and the bowl covers  the hole that was made and the roller ?????? ,        
And does the sock  have to move or does it stay still ????

Tool Using Animal (author)  sheial3604 years ago
Yes the bowl must be cut, the roller absolutely must be inside the domw.

The sock must also move, just like a fan belt on a car
krissy5515 years ago
who is going to make this he/she said that it was 120,000 VOLT!!!!!!!!!!!
Jodex krissy5515 years ago
You're not going to die if you'd touch it. It doesn't have much amperes. Amperes are the ones that kills you. Did you know that when you're petting your cat there's over 15 000 volts, but next to no amperes, just couple of micro amperes.
I really don't get the bottom brush connected to the ground... is it connected literally just to the ground..? and what is it for...? me and my groupmates are trying to make one... we used Teflon for the bottom roller and aluminum at the top but it would just not work. does the motor have to be fast working? what should be the mixing bowl made of? aluminum? stainless? help! :(
Tool Using Animal (author)  emeraldamber5 years ago
The bottom bruh really is just connected to ground, it's just a soucre of charge. the mixing bowls can be any metal, on mistake I've seen over and over again is the top roller and brush MUST be INSIDE the mixing bowls. The faster the motor the faster the charge builds up and it is a race against how fast the charge leaks away. Pix are always a help in diagnstics.
cupofsoup5 years ago
very cool thanks
hi, so batteries are the main source of power for this one? can't it make hair on head stand? what should be done to make hair on head stand? :D how much did this all cost?
Tool Using Animal (author)  emeraldamber5 years ago
Cost? it came from my junk box, so I don't know. TO small and leaky to make hair stand on end, increase size, minimize corona leakage. Batteries spin the motor, and yes, technically they do the work of chage separation, Tesla published a wonderful article on the subject in Scientific American in the '30's.
will our hair stand up with this van de graff
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