Introduction: Handheld Van De Graph Genarator

Build Your easy to make Van de graph generator thats portable!

Step 1: Materials

Stuff from think geek ( and your fridge):
Soda can
Fun Fly Stick
Alligator clip
Xenon tube (optional i used this to make sparks)

Step 2: The Can

Use a can opener to top the top section of the can off.
Pour the soda into a glass (enjoy it)
Clean the can out

Step 3: The Stick

Take the cardboard part of the stick off by pulling it firmly from the bottom part.
Attack one end of the clip to the copper tab at the top
Attack the other to the rim of the can
Put the stick through the can, now you have a portable van de graph generator.

Step 4: Information

This gives off about 500 - 1000 volts

In order to use this device use this device press the button with your right hand, and use your left hand as a grounding contact Or vice versa

This device is pretty safe do to the low current, but i cannot be held responsible for any harm done to you or anyone around you, Always use common sense.

Step 5: Fun

A fun trick If you have a .5" - 1" xexon flash tube you can make small (or large) sparks appear in it

Small Sparks. hold the tube using 1 contact put the other on the can and watch the sparks appear.

Large Sparks: Hold Tube by one contact and put it parrel to the can so the glass tube run along side the can, this works because you have more surface area which ='s more current which ='s bigger sparks.


thestyrofoampeanut made it! (author)2009-11-23

 does anyone else realize he took a pre-made van de graaf and just put a can on the end for a bigger discharge area?
i was looking for a way to build one not buy one but i guess he doesnt actually say how to build it

mammasboy made it! (author)mammasboy2012-10-07

This may be to your liking thestyrofoampeanut:

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-11-23

Does anyone realize stryofoampeanut posted an extremely stupid comment considering a VGM needs a collector dome rather than the levitation wands ion Spreading tube? I was looking to get comments from people who think things out before posting comments

thestyrofoampeanut made it! (author)thestyrofoampeanut2009-11-23

 whoops i meant graaff
somebody probly wouldve got on my case for that....

gb123 made it! (author)2010-10-17

Im so confused!!... where does the bottom comb go? where does the wire go? It it grounded?

SNiPERSeyes made it! (author)2010-02-07

its not graph its graff!!!!!!!

H20 made it! (author)H202010-08-18

its graaff

SNiPERSeyes made it! (author)SNiPERSeyes2010-08-18

thanks you!!!! sorry forgot the a in my rage....

mathman47 made it! (author)2009-12-05

Can't we be nice to everyone?  No matter, but please, everyone, use a spell checker.  Some of you are coming across like 8th graders as far as spelling and grammar goes.  I thought this Instructable was for actually building a VDG, not just attaching a larger wand to a generator.  Could you try that (actually building the generator) next, or maybe buy a kit to put together.  Still, I applaud your efforts.  At least you took the time to build this and make an Instructable about it.

Hunter4000695 made it! (author)2009-03-10

If you attach the clip in the can you can get a bigger spark.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-03-10

Why? the rim of the can has no paint, thus it is as conductive as the inside.

toddjwood made it! (author)toddjwood2009-12-05

The Van De Graaff takes advantage of the Faraday Ice Pail effect, meaning that if the charge is applied to the outside of a conductor it can only charge to the input voltage, but when applied to the inside of a conductor the charges move to the outside and can collect to a higher voltage than the input voltage.
Check out the Van De Graaff Group on Yahoo. for a wealth of Van De Graaff information

Xellers made it! (author)2009-04-26

This probably generates more than 500 - 1000 volts... And can you take clearer, more accurate photographs. No pictures of sparks give us no proof that you actually made this work. Also, if you know that its "graaf", and not "graph", then please change it.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-09-19

There's really no way to photo the spark seeing as it lasts .001 seconds, aside from that i wouldn't be lying -.- whats the point in that lol?

toddjwood made it! (author)toddjwood2009-12-04

Not true, taken with a standard Digital camera under normal lighting conditions.
I had a few misses but not to many.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-12-04

ts either long exposure, or, you took a video and found teh rigth frame, i am not kidding, its physically impossible

toddjwood made it! (author)toddjwood2009-12-05

Sorry, no trick photography, no video frames, the Van De Graaff was discharging multiple times per second so I am sorry to say that you are wrong.
You can see the arc meanders through the air, if it were a long exposure then there would be multiple arcs in the pic, and there is clearly only one; also there is only one point of origin and one destination again if it were a long exposure the would be mutiple. I don't want to argue but I have built and photographed many Van De Graaffs and you can capture the discharges here is an earlier one of mine. In this one you can see me taking the picture if you still have any doubts.

Be happy

Xellers made it! (author)Xellers2009-09-26

Incorrect, you can take a long exposure photograph.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-09-27

I have thought of this, lets say i am really good with the long exposure and can do it in 1 second, the spark is .001 seconds that leaves .999 seconds of no spark, the spark woud be so dim. it would be 100th of its normal light.

Xellers made it! (author)Xellers2009-09-27

First of all, I don't know where you're getting the "0.001 second" statistic, but I suspect that it is wrong because this depends upon the voltage, current, humidity, and gas that you are creating the spark in. Additionally, long exposure would work, as the camera keeps the shutter open the entire frame, so that if you did this in a dark room, almost all of the light that it would capture would come from the spark.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-09-28

Your last statment about the camera shutter makes sense, the .0001 was a gross estimate, usince electricty travels near the speed of light, and the tube is 1" long, the speed fo light is 81840000 feet per second, and i am too lazy to figure the rest, but its mroe like .00000001

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-09-28

Also, the air conditions play no role in this, as tegh arcing chamber is sealed.

Xellers made it! (author)Xellers2009-09-28

I think that you need to understand a bit more physics before you start to tell me how long the tube is actually emitting light for. When electricity passes through the xenon flash tube, it ionizes the xenon particles, which eventually causes them to emit light (a better explanation of this can be found here, I will not repost it: I honestly do not understand your comment about electricity traveling at the speed of light and the relation of this to the time that the tube emits light for. Please take some pictures, and stop creating silly explanations for your inability to do so. If you are simply too lazy to take decent pictures of this project, then please admit it.

woody558 made it! (author)woody5582009-11-08
Actually it's GRAAFF not graaf.
JaredsProjects made it! (author)2009-04-14

Isn't it van de graff and not van de graph if im wrong the my science book is lying to me (I wouldnt be surprised if it is)

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-04-14

your right it is indeed van de graff, it was late at night when i typed this up ( 1:00 am)

Apple Rule made it! (author)Apple Rule2009-05-10

nice instructable

Hunter4000695 made it! (author)2009-03-19

Yes If you solder a wire that would work. But you Would need to cover all the pointy ens.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-03-19

use solid core for this case

Hunter4000695 made it! (author)2009-03-18

Did you check out the link that I left? It explains the law pretty good. A question? Where did you get the efficiency number from? Also, the clip is connected directly onto the outside of the can so it becomes a part of the outside of the can. It does not do what you described. p.s. You are not being rude, we are just having a respectful differing of opinion.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-03-18

I see your logic, about how the clip becomes part of the can, and anyway soldering a wire would work better, i received the efficiency numbers from retailers

Hunter4000695 made it! (author)2009-03-17

yes but the teeth will provide points for the electrons to discharge it will limit the amount of charge on the can. why do you think they dont make commercial made ones with anything but a rounded sphere dought. i know what you are thinking. you would hear or see the discharge of the teeth when you are running it. but the same thing that happens inside the VDG is happening with the teeth. its making a corona, just one you cant see.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-03-17

i'm sorry to be rude but the wire or the tab do not store the energy so the teeth have no affect on the storage at all, once the electron is given to the can its stays there there is a 99.99% efficiency as are all commercial VDG's

Hunter4000695 made it! (author)2009-03-16

Check out this site

you need to read the last parograf is.
The when the clip is on the out side this affect is in possible.

itsthatsguy made it! (author)itsthatsguy2009-03-16

Hi the clip is acting as a wire only deleviring the charge while the can is storing it, as an example lets say you have a rechargeable battery you are charging it with 2 wires and a AA the wire is only moving the power not storing resulting in no lose of power, while the battery is absorbing all the power, the same affect ocurs here.