Faraday Cage Bucket





Introduction: Faraday Cage Bucket

Hey everyone. Just thought I would share with you not only an 'ible, but with the state of things going on in the world right now, I wanted to also some information about EMPs, Faraday cages, and how to protect your valuable electronics. This will be an easy, short tutorial with only a few steps.

As you can see from the above picture, that is my Faraday cage/bucket. Why would you want to copy my 'ible? Why should you care about EMPs and all that jazz?

Lemme show you how I built this, and then I will share some information at the end that might make you think about making this bucket for yourself!

Step 1: How It All Fits Together

So I was walking around Home Depot one day, because they always have such cool stuff, and I love thinking of new uses for home improvement hardware stuff. I happened upon this awesome 6 gallon sized galvanized steel bucket with lid made by the Behrens company at the far end of the store, on the front of the aisle, almost into the gardening section. I was looking at it, and I thought "I could turn this into a Faraday cage!" It sure beats a surplus ammo box (NEVER use those if you are serious about this sort of project)!

Now I have my "cage", but I need to insulate whatever is stored inside from touching the metal. I was going to go get some rubber and some carpet and cut it all to fit.and saw this black 3.5 gallon plastic bucket (without lid) in the paint section. The black bucket had a wire handle on it, and it wouldn't fit inside the metal bucket. So without anyone noticing, and with some difficulty actually, I stealthily removed the handle and dropped it in. It couldn't have fit any more perfect if it had been custom made! EXCELLENT! And right next to the buckets, were Gamma Seal Lids. I know a lot of people use these lids for food storage and such, and again, it was a match made in heaven! All 3 pieces were practically MADE to be turned into Faraday cages!

Step 2: Houston, We Have a Problem!

Then I noticed something when I put the plastic bucket with Gamma Seal Lid inside the galvanized steel bucket. The steel lid has a handle that is pressed through the top. It isn't a solid piece of metal. This is a so called "chink" in my Faraday cage's "armor".

I was looking around, and found some Aluminized duct tape. Even though it is a bit pricey, I picked up a roll.

When I got home, I tried putting some tape on the lid, but it wouldn't stick to save my life. I guess the lid, and bucket had a very slight coating of oil on it to prevent static buildup during shipping or something? Well I wiped the entire lid down really well with a rag soaked in rubbing alcohol. That made the metal ready to tape up the underside of the lid, where the handle comes through.

Now, time to stuff my cage full of stuff! I placed a couple small flashlights, a larger square battery flashlight (all have their batteries protected from drawing electricity over time), I also tossed in my NOAA radio/charger/flashlight which has a built in solar panel, and threw in tons of cords and adapters so I can charge whatever I need to via the sun. I threw in an old Ipod Nano just for fun. I also threw in my Kindle Paperwhite (which has a TON of survival books, .pdfs, .jpgs, and much much more. The custom camo job was also done by yours truly, as is the case made of an old BDU jacket ;) Lastly, I tossed in a notepad with some information I have written down regarding various topics.

You can throw in whatever you want. Just be sure whatever you throw in there is for long term, and you don't need to use it any time soon, because you next wrap the metal lid to the metal bucket so there are no openings whatsoever. This is a must, and completely seals the contents inside.

That's all there is to it! Pretty simple to make, and everything is from a single store. Overall, if I remember correctly, the metal bucket with lid, the plastic bucket, the gamma seal lid, and the aluminized tape was around 50 dollars total. That may sound like a lot, but protection is worth every penny in my opinion.

Step 3: Facts and Final Thoughts

So why would you want to follow my instructions, rather than someone else's design? Let us talk about some interesting facts about EMPs, and how they work first. EMPs work by line of sight along very small wavelengths, and basically short circuit anything with a microprocessor by literally making a positive feedback loop of electric current. Think of an electric guitar and its amplifiers. You strum a string, that sound goes out through the amp, that gets picked up by the microphone in front of the amp, and being sent back out through the amplifiers. Over and over. That is why some bands get that "squelch" sound while playing.

That is why my design in Faraday cage is superior in my humble opinion. There are no openings, and the electric current simply travels around and dissipates into the ground. No weak link. No way to bounce under the metal lid, or down the holes in the handle. Electromagnetic waves have no place to penetrate. Surplus ammo boxes have a hinge, and that makes for a weak link, unless you wrap the entire thing in tinfoil and aluminized tape. But that is ugly, and a small container for that matter.

"If an EMP goes off, I can just toss in my cell phone before it gets affected!"

I have heard a few people say this. And every one of them is dead wrong, to a degree. It depends on the type of EMP that hits us. If the EMP comes from a CME, or Coronal Mass Ejection, which comes from the sun, then the EMP will at first be relatively weak, and will build up in our atmosphere over the course of a couple hours, to maybe a couple days before it builds up enough power to start frying electronics. We should have some sort of advanced notification over the radio and TV from places such as NASA telling us to prepare for an EMP. So even though you might have some forewarning, you still need to protect your stuff.

Now, what if we get hit by a HEMP (High altitude ElectroMagnetic Pulse) from something like a nuclear weapon disguised as a photographic satellite launched into orbit that flies over the US twice a day by a country like North Korea? I'm not saying that is what they did, but they could have. Who knows? Anyway, if that scenario plays out, and they detonate the nuke high in Earth's atmosphere, then you literally have 1 nanosecond before your electronics are fried.

How fast is a nanosecond? Picture it this way: 1 nanosecond is to 1 second, as 1 second is to 33 YEARS! It is basically instantaneous. There is no forewarning. Nothing you can do. It happens and that is it. Unless you have your electronics already in a Faraday cage, then kiss your Iphones and Androids goodbye. You cannot save them once that sort of EMP is activated.

So you can basically kiss your phone goodbye... but why not have a solar emergency radio stored away? Information will be the most valuable thing to have after a HEMP strike. Also, you should wait maybe 48 to 72 hours after a HEMP strike before you even open your Faraday cage, just to be safe.

Hope I have educated y'all somewhat, and you find this 'ible useful.



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    29 Discussions

    if an EMP were to ever take out all of the electronic gaming systems it could be a good thing, at least children would have to go outside to play again. Tag anyone?

    3 replies

    Even adults would have to go outside and *gasp* TALK TO THEIR NEIGHBORS! Oh, the humanity of interacting with other people!

    If N Korea could figure out how to get a nuke of the launch pad, I be sure to make one of these! Just kidding, but do you have any numbers of the level of magnetic flux, coulombs, et cetera this could withstand?

    In my Army days I was responsible for two high power transmitters inside a double Faraday cage. AND...I had a large solid copper MAT buried outside, with a very high amperage rated copper braid connected to it and my cages. We peed all over that area where the copper mat was to keep it wet. So, YES...ground it.

    place ouitside to keep

    I have heard the 'Ground/NoGround' argument for the last 20 years being a radioman. I see no harm in grounding and so I do.

    Faraday Cage in photo would make a nice HEMP/CME Proof room.


    I have read up on this a bit and am considering doing this myself... and COMPLETELY knew N Korea was where this ible was headed when I started reading. Nice Job!

    So, I dont know about cage vs box... other things I've read (compton effect, High Altitude Nuke/EMP consequences in Russian experiments) lead me to lean towards the entire box thing. But I am worried even that may not be enough. So... one thought I had, was what if we had an outside box, followed by inner insullation plus ANOTHER faraday "box" inside it, followed by perhaps another layer of the same inside it. I realized I am reducing my storage capacity and increasing costs with each layer. But I wonder if it would be much more robust?

    Perhaps putting a bunch of these "cages" from this ible into a properly shielded shipping container would be practicle?

    One last thought, for all you people thinking to save your cell phone... who are you going to call if all the cell towers dont have power and the entire network is fried even if it did have power? Your phone is just a mini tablet at that point.

    There is one critical thing that you're missing. In order for a Faraday cage to work it needs a low impedance connection to ground they work by dissipation of the electromagnetic energy. You can actually build one with fine wire mesh, so long as the whole thing is electrically bonded to ground you can even have a door! As a side note a microwave is actually a Faraday cage if you find a junk one for cheep you can just cut the plug off and connect the ground wire to a copper water pipe and Bob's your uncle, ready made cage!

    9 replies

    You're wrong about the ground connection. The Faraday cage works because when it gets charged, the outer rim of it has the same charge (either positive or negative). And equal charges tend to drift apart, so they won't travel inside.

    Far·a·day cage



    a grounded metal screen surrounding a piece of equipment to exclude electrostatic and electromagnetic influences.

    nice bucket though.

    Actually in the very article your quoting if you continue reading it does discuss the importance of grounding in regards to shielding. As someone with a background in rf engineering I can say for a fact that although an ungrounded cage will provide some shielding the attenuation factor is minimal. I can fairly easily transmit in and out even on frequencies in the mhz range. Grounding the same cage makes it nearly impossible until you exceed 8-10 ghz.

    Faraday's intention wasn't protection from GHz waves but from lightning. Unfortunately he did not own a cell phone.

    FWIW: I once visited Deutsches Museum in Munich (which is a very lage technical museum). They have a Faraday cage where a person can sit inside in a hall with high voltage. This cage is not grounded in any way. It hangs down from a crane on an isolated cord. Before the person exits the cage, the cage must be grounded, though! This is because when it leaves the cage, the charge moves on to the body and when the person jumps down to the earth it will discharge - which can be life dangerous. Don't know if they still demonstrate it with a person sitting in the cage as they did some 30 years ago,

    Also in regards to the high voltage cage your talking about that's a completely different effect taking place. They are using the nature of electricity to take the path of least resistance going around the cage instead of the higher resistance occupants inside of it. If you've ever seen the videos of the band Arc Attack they rely on the same principles to stay safe from their tesla coils running at somewhere around 1M volts. Not the same requirements for RF energy though.

    This is why my design has no need for a ground wire :) Thanks for the input.

    Thank you for the comment. I however would highly advise AGAINST a wire mesh as being an effective idea. Sure, it can stop radiowaves (as shown on TV survival shows) which have long wavelengths, but it wont stop an EMP with short wavelengtbs.

    Think of it like this, you have a glass jar, and you fill it with rocks. These are analog to the wire mesh. Is the jar full? Some people say yes. Then you pour in some sand... Sand is like EMP waves. They would simply flow right through the wire mesh.

    Hope this helps. :)