Introduction: Singer's Ladder

Picture of Singer's Ladder
My modification of antique box from sewing machine Singer.
Most of parts are old junk or pulled from old equipment.

Welcome to mad scientist party!!!



Step 1: There Was Once Old Box.

Picture of There Was Once Old Box.

I always was wondering what can I do with it but once...

Step 2: Meet Allanson!!!

Picture of Meet Allanson!!!

Local neon sign shop's got rid of an old transformer.
Allanson brand.
15000V, 30 mA, 450VA.

I brought poor device home.
I already knew what to do!

Step 3: Hey, Our Rusty Fellow's Got New Clothes.

Picture of Hey, Our Rusty Fellow's Got New Clothes.

I've cleaned and repainted transformer and covered it with acrylic protective coating.
Should stay hundred years more, I guess.

As electrodes I've used couple of brass glass hangers from bar equipment.
I've found them in scrap bin near local restaurant which was closed for renovation.
They are two feet long and have such a right geometry so I've used them without modification.

Step 4: Old House Has Got New Windows and Door.

Picture of Old House Has Got New Windows and Door.

I've designed electrical circuit and cut opening for all components.
Dremel with high speed cutter is very handy for this kind of job.

Step 5: I Could Be Furniture Maker...

Picture of I Could Be Furniture Maker...

Painting inside, drying it up,
sanding, staining, drying it up...
staining, drying it up...
staining, drying it up...
covering with protective coating.

Victorian style, eh?

Step 6: Now We Need Strong Base.

Picture of Now We Need Strong Base.

That thing is quite heavy, so I've chosen 3/4 inch thick plywood to make base.

Step 7: Always Design Things With Easy Access to Guts.

Picture of Always Design Things With Easy Access to Guts.

I've used t-nuts and machine screws 10-24 to fasten top cover to side planks of the base plate.

Step 8: We Are Still Building Strong Foundation.

Picture of We Are Still Building Strong Foundation.

Base plate is permanently fastened to side planks by wood screws.

Step 9: Let's Add Some Decorations in Wooden Style.

Picture of Let's Add Some Decorations in Wooden Style.

Pretty luxurious, eh?

Step 10: Welcome to New Home, Buddy.

Picture of Welcome to New Home, Buddy.

Well proven T-nuts and custom made aluminum brackets that's a core of successful fastening!!!

Step 11: New Faceplate Is on the Way.

Picture of New Faceplate Is on the Way.

Faceplate is cut from 1/16 aluminum sheet.

Step 12: Shape Is Fully Exposed

Picture of Shape Is Fully Exposed

I'm happy it's soft aluminum...

Step 13: And Finally - Labels

Picture of And Finally - Labels

Labels are made using heat toner transfer technology.
Plate is covered with transparent protective coating.

Step 14: There Will Be Light!!!

Picture of There Will Be Light!!!

Those buttons are designed to work with incandescent lamp 30V 50 mA but I prefer modern solution.
I like to embed LEDs everywhere I can.

Step 15: So, How Does It Look Now?

Picture of So, How Does It Look Now?

Hey! It's nice to see old friends...

Here's analog meter from my other instructable.

Step 16: Control Circuit Wiring.

Picture of Control Circuit Wiring.

Woodworking is done.
Metal crafting is done.
It's time to pull wires.

99% of circuits serve only to increase dramatic effect ;-)

In real life, it would be more than enough to use standard power cord and switch.

I've employed 5V relays to control light and as a switch for primary winding of HV transformer.
As HV cable I've used standard 12 AWG wire inserted into flexible vinyl tubing.

Step 17: Spark Emitter.

Picture of Spark Emitter.

Ground clamps serve as electrodes holders.

Step 18: Last Stage.

Picture of Last Stage.

We are about to finish, but before we must protect public from contact with this devil's machine.
So let's make one last thing.

I've got nice acrylic sleeve from local plastic shop.
Brackets to hold protective sleeve are made from aluminum transition strip and polished.
Automotive polishing wax works pretty well for both metal and acrylic surfaces.

Step 19: Safety First!!!

Picture of Safety First!!!

15000V around the corner. Be aware!!!
That acrylic tube is professionally made and most expensive part of project. I've found it accidentally in local plastic shop as rejected part of some kind of custom-made display.
Dimension 5"x5"x27" and it perfectly fits Singer box.

Step 20: Woohoo!!!

Picture of Woohoo!!!

We are all done!!!


Dream Dragon (author)2010-11-29

Beautifully done.

conrad2468 (author)2009-07-23

Lol, replace that wimpy metal toggle switch with an SPST safety cover switch! THAT LIGHTS UP!!!

WolfVecho (author)2008-09-14

Wow now this looks good though I doubt it would fit in with my furniture but I'm sure I can find a spot

slayer_x911 (author)2008-06-13

well, um... i'm speechless really looks like a must have in a mad scientist's lab :D outstanding, just simply outstanding

rx3115 (author)2008-03-24

Could you also post schematics. this would be helpful. Thanks.

AP Digital light (author)rx31152008-03-24

It's on step 16

rx3115 (author)AP Digital light2008-03-25

Thanks i missed that link

rx3115 (author)2008-03-24

What was the total price of this project?

AP Digital light (author)rx31152008-03-24


tech-king (author)2008-03-22

its nice, but the nst lack the power you need. see how, at the top 3rd of the ladder, the arc ceases to rise smoothly? instead, one side rises, then the other. this is caused by instability of the arc. as it gets longer, it needs more current to sustain itself. although the current does not drop too low for the ladder to work, it causes the arc to become unstable. i recommend a higher amperage supply if you can get one. otherwise, it looks nice.

ARIrish (author)2008-03-19

That is simply beautiful. One day I hope I'll have the time/patience/effort/resources to make something like that.

DrSimons (author)2008-03-14

While this isn't an original concept the craft work and presentation is far the nicest looking jacob's ladder I've seen. Good work!

unspecified (author)2008-03-14

Very nice.

uguy (author)2008-03-13

Most excellent project and documentation! I love your attention to detail. Very well done, thanks for sharing.

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-03-13

Wow! I never knew it was so easy to make something so beautiful. Wow!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-03-13

Wow, great job! That 1st picture is awesome.

fma321 (author)2008-03-13

truly one of the most polished instructables i have seen. If I saw this, I would think that singer was in the ladder business at some point.

incorrigible packrat (author)2008-03-13

Super nifty, I like. Dig the illuminated switches. Ever use neon indicator lamps for such a purpose? They have such a lovely orange glow to them.

PKM (author)2008-03-13

Steampunk science toys- full of win. You've clearly put a lot of effort into the presentation, and it really shows. +

DonQuijote (author)PKM2008-03-13

i see a growing number of steampunk gadgets around here, which delights me on every occasion i see another. go Steampunk!

Bongmaster (author)2008-03-13

nice work there :) really well made :)

About This Instructable




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