Picture of Make your own Lightning Globe!
This instructable will show you how to make one of those cool lightning globes with about $5.00 worth of parts.

WARNING Just like my Monitor Hack instructable, this makes use of some very high voltage. It could be potentially lethal, especially if you are standing in a puddle of water.

Watch the video for the overview:

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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
Here's a list of supplies I used:

1. Large, clear light bulb
Not just any light bulb will work. It must be one that has been gas filled.

Typically, anything 60 watts or higher should work. Lower wattage bulbs typically have a vaccuum. 60 watt and higher usually have an argon nitrogen mix, which lights up nicely!

I found a 5 inch 60 watt bulb for about $2.49 at the hardware store.

2. Aluminum screen, painted black
The aluminum screen will be our ground to attract the high voltage.

Instead of shelling out a bunch of money for an entire roll of aluminum screening, just look for an HVAC vent with some right on the back.

I found the one below at the hardware store for about $1.50, and the screen was already painted black!

3. A cheap black plastic pot
This is going to be the holder for the globe. Since it will be used at night, it doesn't need to look pretty.

I found a black plastic pot for about $0.79, you guessed it, at the hardware store.

4. A high voltage power source
This is what makes the magic happen.

I used the same monitor as the one in my Electric Fence Monitor Hack Video

With people upgrading to LCDs like crazy these days, you can easily get a 15" monitor from someone for free. You might even talk them into paying you for removing the hideous eyesore from their humble abode.

WARNING: Color monitors put out close to 30,000 volts. This voltage can harm you and quite possibly kill you, depending on the depth of the water you are standing in or how old your pacemaker batteries are. Seriously, though, be careful.
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Lil6lil4 years ago
would this work if i used a low voltage source????? cause the high voltage sounds kinda dangerous...
actually, volts dont kill. amperage does. thats why tazers have over 1000000 volts. i can't say weather this would work or not, and i'm definantly saying this isn't dangerous! so be careful.

Actually badideasrus it is not the voltage or the amperes that kill you. It is the combination of the two that kills you. Voltage is a measure of the power and amperes is the measure of current. Without power, then you have no current and without current, then there is no power being conducted to you or anything else

dtbradio lvogel983 months ago

Voltage is a measure of the electro-motive FORCE, not the POWER Power is the multiple of the motive force, and the current (speed at which the electrons are being pushed through the circuit by the motive force); IE, Voltage times Current = Power. And actually, it IS the current that kills you. Any current flowing through your heart at about .2 amps or higher is considered lethal, regardless of the voltage.

I actually discovered this inadvertantly at Barnes and Noble! I'm definitely going to try it. :-)

Sahilpotter2 years ago
Making One for the first time, what kind of high voltage wire should I use to connect the bulb to the flyback transformer?
scooter_kid2 years ago
if i make this is there a way to build a battery pack and hook it up to that? if so how? thanks!
Schmitty932 years ago

When you say, "Feed the wire through the side hole, then through the top and attach it to the bulb." where exactly on the bulb are you saying to attach it?

Thanks for your help, and great instructable.
AChillyDog2 years ago
AChillyDog2 years ago
Would a 12,000 volt, 30 milliamp power supply work?
Are you using an NST?
nerd74733 years ago
this is a good project
If you want some really nice sparks you should switch your power supply with a neon transformer.
that would be cool. I wonder does the voltage have to be 30,000V? p.s Tesla made the lightbulb 20 years before the factories "invented" them. GO TESLA!!!!!!
umm hate to burst your buble but Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb.
Actually Humphry Davy invented the light bulb. Also to the rest of you Nickola Tesla had really nothing to do with the light bulb.
ctrlx Rhamkota3 years ago
Well yes, Tesla had something to do with the light bulb, when he lit up the Pan American Exposition of 1901, he did not want to use the Edison based light bulb (screw in base) do he came up with his own design, pin style connectors......Edison was pissed....
Rhamkota ctrlx3 years ago
Yes, I know that, but that had nothing to do with the evolution of the lightbulb.
Proud to say, he did NOT invent the light a little research and you will find that the light bulb was patented 50+ years before Edison patented his "IMPROVED" light bulb design......not invented, just improved and existing design......For the most part Edison was a shrewd businessman and had people working from him that did a lot of the inventing.....
bubble hasn't been busted yet. gimme proof that he invented it before tesla
ummm hate to burst yours but edison perfected the art of making the lightbulb

tesla invented the lightboub
And Edison had one heck of a time doing it. He wanted the bulb to be DC run, which put far too much stress on the fillament. And, the bulbs were no brighter or safer than candles at the time.
dude no Im fairly positive he invented the lightbulb- yes he "perfected" it but those perfections were what made it work. Ive got nothing against tesla he kicks edisons butt but edison invented the lightbulb.
You are both WRONG.
I'm a Canadian, so I should know this.

In 1875, Edison purchased half of a Toronto medical electrician's patent to further his own research.  That researcher was named James Woodward.
Woodward and a colleague by the name of Matthew Evans, described in the patent as "Gentleman" but in reality a hotel keeper, filed a patent for the Woodward and Evan's Light on July 24, 1874.
Working at the Morrison's Brass Foundry on Adelaide St. West in Toronto, they built the first lamp with a shaped rod of carbon held between electrodes in an glass bulb filled with nitrogen.
Woodward and Evans were treated as cranks and subject to much public ridicule.  "Who needs a glowing piece of metal!!"  They attempted, with very little success, to form a company to raise money to refine and market their invention.  (Where is the federal government when you really need them?)
In 1876, Woodward obtained a U.S. patent on his electric lamp and, in 1879, Edison considered it sufficiently important to completely buy out the patent from Woodward, Evans, and all their Canadian partners.  Woodward sold a share of his Canadian patent to Thomas Edison in 1885. 
Thus the electric light bulb became American.

So it was us! The Canadians that made the lightbulb.
I don't know where you guys are coming from, but this is the TRUE story. I even put a story in the Newspaper about it.

Then you sir are guilty of spreading propaganda!
It's not Propaganda! Look it all up! All of the history behind the light bulb. I know this. I did research on it for weeks.
ahhh lol,  I would not concern myself with the light bulb for weeks but if its your pleasure so be it....... YAWN....zzzzzzz...night - nite!
May I ask, how much do you know about the lightbulb? Seeing as you haven't even said anything about it yet...
frankly to be honest and I do not want to start a fight but does it really matter what country invented what give me a break.
history is that!!!,
I do not need to be historically Correct to construct one just understand the why behind the construction. lab work does NOT = Book smarts and Book smarts does NOT = actual getting hands dirty lab work.
haha yeah
but still edison perfected the carbon filament that had never been invented before! Thats what (along with a vaccum creates a light)
Edison also tried to enforce his patents against the English man, Joseph Swan, and was so unsuccessful, he had to form a joint company with Swan to market in the UK..

A neon transformer will burn a hole through the glass in 10 to 15 seconds. I used a 12KV 60mA transformer.
I just bought a mini one for $6.... well I bought a neon light for my computer but it came smashed in the I got to playing around with the transformer, and got a good 1 inch constant spark. and this ible gives me ideas for a mini lightning bulb.
hubi3 years ago
Hello, this is cool, but you get better results with an AC High Volage. With 15kVAC or higher and frequencies above 10kHz you do not need a groundplane around the bulb an you cn direct the discharges with your fingers. For Supply you can use an old TV Flyback without rectification and use the 2n3055 driver from Sam Barrows powerlabs or with FETs
ctrlx4 years ago
For the most part Edison was a businessman, he would employ people and call their inventions "his" because they worked for him. He tried to do the same to Tesla, but Tesla told him to "Stuff it" and Tesla went off on his own......Edison did NOT invent the light bulb! Please have a look at:
....I wish more credit would be given to Tesla, just look at the things around us that we take for granted: AC power, High Voltage coils (what gives car engines spark to run), Radio (Marconi used Tesla's ideas).....the list goes on and on.....Nikola Tesla, Man Ahead of His Time.
lis.tesla ctrlx3 years ago
i , as well, admire Tesla and his inventions and do recognize all his many woks in fact every science project in school had to do something with Tesla or one of his genius ideas thanx
OK, so you don't have to change anything inside of the lightbulb for this to work? Just wondering.
jay26lysne3 years ago
is there anyway i can use an old xbox 360 for this?
pjp155 years ago
When wrapping the aluminum screening around the globe, can you cover the top? And what do you mean by "so the high voltage wouldn't ark unintentionally"?
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