Introduction: Simple Faraday Cage

What is a Faraday Cage?
A Faraday cage--also know as a Faraday shield--really isn't that complicated. Named after the English scientist Michael Faraday, who invented them in 1836, a simple Faraday cage is just an enclosure made of a non-conductive material, that is then enclosed in a structure that is made of a conductive material.

A homemade Faraday cage that will protect life-saving and useful electronics from an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) event is something that every prepper should have. It doesn't need to be fancy or complicated just a simple design that can be put together in under 30 minutes.

This Instructable will be a conductive metal trash can with a non-conductive plastic trash can inside of it.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials

  • One 31 gallon (117.3 liters) metal trash can
  • One 20 gallon (75.7 liters) plastic trash can
  • Two 20" (50.8 cm) lengths of rope
  • Roll of duct tape

Tools

  • Utility knife with a new blade
  • Drill with a bit just larger than the width of your rope

Step 2: Remove Trash Can Handles

In order for the plastic trash can to fit properly inside the metal trash can, we have to remove the exterior handles. The plastic is pretty thick here. So take your time and cut as close to the interior as you can.

Here is a before image:

Here is an after image:

Now the plastic trash can will easily slip into the metal one.

Step 3: Remove Trash Lid Handles

The plastic lid is not actually required for a functional Faraday Cage. As long as the electronic items that you store inside the plastic can are not touching the conductive metal trash can, they are protected. But I think that if you have the lid you might as well use it.

The lid handles need to be removed in order for it to fit properly inside the metal trash can. The lid is fairly thin so it is easy to cut.

Here is a before image:

Here is an after image:

Now it perfectly fits inside of the metal can and seals the top of the plastic one.

Step 4: Add Trash Lid Handle

Unfortunately once the lid is on the plastic trash can, it is difficult to remove it. So we have to do a little prepper engineering to make it easier.

Drill four holes into the lid so they look like this:

Then insert your rope ends through the top of the lid and tie them off like this:

Now you have two rope handles on the top of your plastic lid.

I wrapped a little bit of duct tape around the ropes so they act as a single handle.

Step 5: Wrap Up

That's it!!

Now you have a really simple Faraday Cage that you can store anywhere. Because the plastic trash can inside is 20 gallons (75.7 liters), you can store a large number of electronic items inside.

For additional ideas go to this Simple Faraday Cage post.

Comments

author
jkimball (author)2017-06-11

How are you attaching the metal lid to the can? I think you'll need something more contiguous than a loose friction fit to be effective.

Also, how are you grounding the can to earth?

Have you tested this in any fashion?

author

So the metal lid has a nice secure seal that is enough. You don't need a 100% connection all the way around. Just regular connections. A lot of Faraday cages are made of metal mesh. You can use aluminum tape to secure the lid if you want. This makes it harder to get in and out. But more secure.

Grounding is not required for this type of Faraday cage.

I didn't do any specific testing for this build. The metal can Faraday cage is pretty common and well regarded. What I wanted to demonstrate was a simpler technique than the usual build. Most of the time you have people lining the interior with cardboard or carpet. But I think the second plastic trash can is easier and cleaner.

author
Swansong (author)2017-06-09

That's a neat simple way to make one :)

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