Introduction: High Voltage Ignited Plasma Bulb

Picture of High Voltage Ignited Plasma Bulb
Hi everybody, this is my first project here on I am a Steampunker from Germany and I am going to develop my own and unique style in building gadgets and other Steampunk stuff.

I like to present my "High Voltage ignited Plasma Bulb"

Step 1: The Material

Picture of The Material

What do you need?

A Neon filled bulb (any type will do but I found out these fireballs are best)
Electronics from a disposal camera (how to modify see here: CLICK)
A potentiometer 200K
A handle for the poti (I used a foot contact of a bulb)
Some fittings made of copper and brass
A base plate made of wood

Step 2: Preparing the Parts and Mounting Procedure

Picture of Preparing the Parts and Mounting Procedure

I polished the copper and the brass parts.

First I cut a round piece of wood and an other piece in same size from vulcan fibre.
I clued this together and mounted the potentiometer on his round plate.
As a knob to turn the poti I used a E27 bulb fitting. Inside the E27 I clued an E14 bulb fitting that fits exactly to the axis of the potentiometer.
 On the last picture you can see the first mounting of the parts.

Step 3: Cabling and Finish

Picture of Cabling and Finish

The cabling is very easy:

You can see the battery case and the low voltage cabling running from the case to the switch and then to the electronics and back.
The high voltage cabling is easy as well. From the electronics to the middle contact ot the potentiometer than from one of the other potentiometer contacts the middle contact of the bulb. The other wire of the high voltage output runs to the big brass stand under-need the bulb.
If you switch the power on turn the potentiometer you will see this.

Last I mounted some brass screws around the poti knob and mounted the switch into the wooden stand.

Step 4: Finished

Picture of Finished

Lets have a look what´s happening if you touch the bulb.
So lets switch the lights off and play around....

Step 5: It Glows Even at Daylight

Picture of It Glows Even at Daylight


LoneGinger made it! (author)2014-11-24

I used a box with a built in compartment to hide the electronic and the contact is made when the box is closed. Copper foil provides the permanent luminous effect. I am working on one now with mechanical motion based on admiral aaron ravensdales piece. Mine is mechanical not electrically powered however. Motorized will be next. Thank you for the informative instructable on wiring the electronic. Your work is great also!

Junophor (author)LoneGinger2014-11-24

Hi LoneGinger

You did a great job too!!! Looks really good;-)) You idea of motorizing sounds good. I´ve also planned such a rotating plasma machine for some years but all the parts I need are still in their box lon ging for beeing built together. Maybe I get some spare time next winter;-)) .....

PLease show us your results (this one and the moving one) as an instructable!!!


Yours Aeon Junophor

LoneGinger (author)Junophor2014-11-28

CraigRJess (author)2015-04-05

Awesome design + workmanship!

How did you join the end of the copper tube to the black part on the end of the light bulb? Since that black part is glass, was it drilled to enlarge the hole?

Junophor (author)CraigRJess2015-04-06

Hi CraigRJess

I didn t join it!!! I just welded a piece of wire to the bulbcontact in the middle of the glass part and connected this wire(running inside the coppertube) to the electronic. At this particular place I can change the bulb if neccessary by turning the coppertube aside and taking out the bulb. That is why I needed the glass for insulating otherwise I would have created a short-circuit.

Yours Aeon junophor

mizginny (author)2014-05-16

Let me know how much please

mizginny (author)2014-05-09

Is there a chance that any of these could be purchased?

Junophor (author)mizginny2014-05-12

Hi mizginny


Why not?

If you are really interested please contact me

Yours Aeon Junophor

mizginny (author)Junophor2014-05-15

Yeah I sent one other reply. Do you have a price yet?

Junophor (author)mizginny2014-05-15

Hi mizginny

Do you like to contact me at my personal email

Greets Aeon Junophor

mizginny (author)Junophor2014-05-13

Yes I love it. If the price is not too high. Can you let me know how much you would charge?
Thank you

mizginny (author)2014-05-09

I LOVE THIS. Steam punk is great I've made some jewelry but no artifacts such as this.

atlaswalkedaway (author)2014-03-25

wow, just wow. my greatest complements.

spn_phoenix_92 (author)2013-04-18

I would also love to see the schematics for this :D

Junophor (author)spn_phoenix_922013-04-18

Hi spn_phoenic_92

You asked for a schematic. I`m sorry to say so but I´m not so good in drawing such a shematic but I found two very good drawings from the famous instructable member Plasmana. He is working with the same stuff of used one way cameras and his constructions follow directly the same way as the parts had been put together on the original board. So these drawings answer your questions perfectly. I took these pictures out of his very nice instructable about building the world smallest electronic shock. Instead of these loose ends for shocking you have to put the flickering bulb or cfl or nixie and so on ...... and that´s it! Hope this will help you.

With a great „Thank you“ to Plasmana
Yours Aeon Junophor

kpomerleau (author)2013-04-16

Very cool. You should be able to get a good price for those. What type of camera is used for the electronics and where do you get those Fireball lights from.


Junophor (author)kpomerleau2013-04-17

Hi kpomerleau
In this instructable of mine you will find the answer to your question about the camera type I used.
The plasmabulb is very seldom and can be found at the internet. I orderd mine at a shop in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, but it was the last one... :-(

Hope this will help you
Yours Aeon junophor

kpomerleau (author)2013-04-16

Would love to see the diagram also!

longwinters (author)2012-01-22

Hey Junophor: Would you seed me, or post a link to the bulb's manafacturer, they are not availible in the US as far as I can see, when I Googled neon Fireball your project came up.

I think this has to be my second favorite project of yours, the leader in my book is the

dfecker (author)longwinters2012-03-14

I'm looking for these bulbs too! I can't find them anywhere and your source below no longer carries them.


Winged Fist (author)2011-10-28

Junophor – I noticed that this "High Voltage ignited Plasma Bulb" project appears without a name... Maybe you should go in and edited the headline to add the name.

Junophor (author)Winged Fist2011-10-28

Hi Winged Fist
You´re a real friend!
Thanks for your carefully reading. Idon´t know why the title head gone lost, but now it is reapaired.

It great that you like my projects so much. I´ll just start another one which might be similiar to your wonderful dieselpunk lamp;-) This is also a very inspiring projct to me;-))

Keep it up
Yours Aeon Junophor

kinoschool9 (author)2011-10-22

Could you post a circuit schematic of this project? Or just specify what if any components you removed from the camer circuit? Your projects look wonderful and I'd love to build them but I just need a little more clarification about the camera parts.

Junophor (author)kinoschool92011-10-23

Hi kinoschool9

In my instructaable above I took a link to another steampunker: "Admiral Aaron von Ravensdale". We are together in a german steampunk community called "Rauchersalon" and exchange ther also our ideas and constructive tipps;-)))))
In his project:
Plasma Bulb with Clock Gear he already described the modification of this camera module please look at the step1 till step four.
(Hi Aaron thanks to your support)!!

or you read this line above again and click youself to this part.
"Electronics from a disposal camera (how to modify see here: CLICK)"

I am pleased by your idea to build this instructable
and I hope that my answer will help you

Yours Aeon Junophor

stringstretcher (author)2011-09-01

I love this! I want to make one with this lamp:

Where did you get one of those? You need to be careful with it! That looks very much like a high-pressure xenon arc lamp used in movie projectors. Because it is high pressure it may not work in this kind of project. Be very careful with it--treat it like it was a glass hand grenade! Don't handle it at all unless you have the training and the safety equipment! I know a couple of my co-workers have been hurt by those things unexpectedly exploding, even though they were wearing a kevlar shirt, gloves, and a thick plexi face shield when it happened!

Muhahahaha! That is exactly what it is, only all I have is this picture. I googled and posted the most radical one I could find. No danger here...yet

Gizmo. (author)2011-09-21

How long does it last with just the two batteries?

Junophor (author)Gizmo.2011-09-21

Hi Gizmo

My bulb was running about nearly 20 hours in one turn and another time the batteries last for about 23 hours.

But if you take an converter eg from an old mobile or something else which transforms the 230 (110) Volts down to 3 Volts instead of using batteries it would be an alternative......
Yours Aeon Junophor

dmdsanchez (author)2011-09-07

Ok guys those of you in USA that cant find the globe valve (aparently is not available) you can switch to a PVC sanitary tee. It comes in every configuration you can imagine and you only have to spray pain with copper or bronze spray paint for plastics it looks pretty decent and it's a good cheap alternative.

Junophor (author)dmdsanchez2011-09-08

Helle everybody

here is a link where you can find those valves . PVC won´t work because the valve hast to lead the electricity( cathode)! to close the circuit
It is als possible to order this valve in the US!!!!

Yours Aeon Junophor

dmdsanchez (author)2011-09-02

Could you tell the name of the base you used to nest the bulb ? Is it a valve ?

Junophor (author)dmdsanchez2011-09-04

Hi dmdsanchez

It´s great that you want build such an light too ;-))))

If you look at the description of the first stepof this instructable, you will find an link called "CLICK" there it is shown all about modyfing the electronic.

The part which nests the bulb is an 2 inch straightway Y-type globe valve made of brass.
Hope this will help you;-))

With greetings
Aeon Junophor

dmdsanchez (author)Junophor2011-09-07


dmdsanchez (author)2011-08-27

I would love to build something like this but c ant find the bulb. Any ideas of where I could order it in the USA???

Junophor (author)dmdsanchez2011-08-28

Hi dmdsanchez
In the List of comments below
you can read this:"

Aug 14, 2011. 12:04 PMPhysicsSupplier says:
You can get Ne Burning Sun bulbs at

They are $9.88 + shipping

or go their website at apossibility to buy such a bulb.

I hope that will help you ;-))

Aeon Junophor

dmdsanchez (author)Junophor2011-09-02

ThanksI just ordered 3 for Xmas gifts. Could you post more details on the electronics???

-chase- (author)2011-08-15

Hi -

I really like your steam punk version as a use to desplay your floresent fireball bulb...

I have some vintage argon bulbs made by GE that glow purple and really have no idea as what i was going to do with them - other than set them up and photograph them.

After seeing what you've done i may go with trying something along your steam punk design so thanx for the insperation and an idea as what to do with my bulbs.

Here is the bulb i have in purple, (images courtesy of
 i also have it in Red as well as a single orange one as well though i have no idea what gas is in them... they do look pretty cool when on...

again thanx for sharing and a desply idea for my bulbs.

seby98 (author)-chase-2011-08-23

The purple ones are probably krypton (Kr) Gas.

-chase- (author)seby982011-08-24

From what i found out doing some researching / googling to find Junophor a source for my bulbs as well as finding other bulbs which are totally cool looking... i discovered that purple are usually Helium filled

However - according to this site:

The atmosphere inside the GE AR-1 is Argon and 10% Nitrogen and emmits UV.

The rated life of this argon lamp is 1000 hours to 50% output, much shorter than the 8000 hours of its neon equivalent.

Here is their main page:

check out the Discharge lamp section onthe main page of the above link ( down the page on the left) for some really cool looking bulbs that would be great to build a similiar project such as Junophor's instructable here presents.

As well here is a wiki page on discharge lamps that gives the gas with a picture example:

Wiki Gas Discharge Lamp


Junophor (author)-chase-2011-08-24

Hi Chase

Very well done! I´m really interested and later on I, follow your hints but I´m sorry to say that my familily is needing me first because my wife has had an bad accident. So don`t worry that I will answer you all a little bit later;-))

Yours Aeon Junophor

Totally crazy colour....

Junophor (author)-chase-2011-08-15

Really fascinating bulbs!!
If I`had such a lamp I would ignite it with this small electronic and create a total crazy, funny steampunkmachine around;.))
Congrets to this nice Lamp!!

straasha (author)2011-08-18

instead of using disposable camera parts, I wonder if an old pc power supply would do the trick for a more stable power source and it would be fan cooled.

caalvarez (author)straasha2011-08-23

No,not at all. The camera flash unit turns 6 volts into 40,000 volts. The PC power supply turns 120 volts into 5 and 12 volts.

Junophor (author)straasha2011-08-18

I Think your idea is in my objects a little bit oversized. But if it works let me know.
Regards Aeon Junophor

JingleJoe (author)2011-08-17

Another request for a circuit diagram please :)
If you need help drawing one I could lend a hand if the right information is provided.

Junophor (author)JingleJoe2011-08-17

Hi JingleJoe
I´ll try my best, but a friend of mine told me that he wants to draw it so we will show it as soon as possible,- promised.

jonathanisme (author)2011-08-14

Beautiful work. By chance do you work for auma? I noticed something familiar in one of the pictures.

Junophor (author)jonathanisme2011-08-14

I´m sorry but who is "auma"?
I´dont know anyone with this name. No these are all my own ideas and creations. Only at the electronic stuff I got some help from my steampunk friends. Can you give me a hint to auma so I can see what you mean, maybe we´ve got nearly the same ideas

About This Instructable




Bio: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one ... More »
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