Introduction: Steampunked Plasma-beam Generator

Picture of Steampunked Plasma-beam Generator

Hi everybody 

I just returned from my steam-powered-laboratory (Dampfkraftlabor, in german) to present you my latest invention:

The Steampunked plasma-beam generator:

To get an first impression please watch this short movie

Notice: Don´t wreck your health and please obay the following advices:

***Disclaimers***This instructable works with voltages in excess of 250V. This is more than enough to give you a potentially fatal electric shock if handled incorrectly. If you are unfamiliar with how to work with high voltage, please refrain from performing this instructable. Exercise caution throughout the following steps to avoid electrical dangers and also use insulated tools like pliers and screwdrivers and so on.

If you choose to undertake this instructable, you do so at your own risk.

And here ist the instructable 

Step 1: Construction of the Chassis

Picture of Construction of the Chassis

As you know I love to work a lot with red vulcanized fiber material,  brass screws  and copper parts.
So I chose an old antique handlamp chassis and modified it  as you can see in the following pictures

Step 2: The Electronic Inside

Picture of The Electronic Inside

Here you see all the components :

a switch
an green LED
an mini flickering bulb with E10 socket
an E10 socket holder
an AA battery holder (and the AA-battery of course)
an banana-plug ant its counterpart
a small piece of copper wire  ø1,5 mm
the well known former flash electronic of an disposal camera
The steampunked modified chassis

Step 3: Step by Step Explanation for the Electronic Works

Picture of Step by Step Explanation for the Electronic Works

In this instructable of mine you will find all the answers to your detailed questions about the electronic works;-)))

The mini flickering bulb with an E10 socket  can be ordered by the manifacturer Konstsmiede

Step 4: Combine the Components

Picture of Combine the Components

And now you can build the three parts together

Step 5: Start the Generator

Picture of Start the Generator

To start the generator switch it on  
Maybe a small light spot occurs at the top of the metal flame-cathodes.
If not,  just come near to the glass bulb with your hand.
When  you move slowly you can see that the spot comes in even if you don´t touch the glass.
Then touch the top of the glass and the plasma-beam rises up.

Step 6: Explanation How It Works

Picture of Explanation How It Works

This trick is easily explained: To ignite the neon-gas filled bulb you need about 140 Volts minimum. Because of the high resistance of the whole construction the ignition is impossible. When you touch the glass top you lower the inner resistance and the tension rises up to ignition level. Afterwards the bulb needs only  about 90 Volts for running and that is why the plasma beam stays on without touching. 

And that´s it

Take care of yourself and enjoy this little gadget

Cheers Aeon Junophor


zaxs18 (author)2016-12-14

my life is on the line of bow of this amazing monstrosity (: i like it ...

lukichu (author)2012-03-11

high voltage? lol i've been shocked by one of those transformers before. it stings a bit but nothing fatal

mysss (author)lukichu2012-03-13

Both you and the author are making the mistake of assuming that the dangerous quality of electricity is voltage. As far as I know (do your own research, obviously, before trusting someone's advice with your life) amperage is much more important, which is why capacitors are so dangerous and Van de Graaff generators are so safe. It's possible that energy is actually the which case high voltages would be safe at low amperages and high amperages might be safe with low voltages.

wkoepp (author)mysss2012-03-13

Mysss is correct in that current is what kills. 5mA is usually painful and only 10 to 15 mA (milliAmps) can kill you. High voltage is considered extremely dangerous though, this is for many reasons. Voltage is like electrical pressure, even if the voltage cant surge through your body and kill you, it can blow a good chunk of flesh off. I have accidently cut a live 120 V line which blew my wire cutters apart. The other main reason is that the human body has an average resistance of 50k Ohm, so say 250v / 50,000 ohms = 0.005 A ( 5 mA). that is enough for some serious pain. Watch out more for anything 600v or above, which is considered true high voltage. Anyways have fun and stay safe. :)

lukichu (author)wkoepp2012-03-13

i have learned alot today. lol

Mipy (author)lukichu2016-09-13


Rich99 (author)lukichu2012-03-14

Me too!

Junophor (author)wkoepp2012-03-14

Hi wkoepp

Thanks for your detailed and very good explanation. I absolutely agree with you and Myss too!!
Can you help me and all the others who want to present such projects in future and write the technical right formulated security advice new?

If "Yes" then I will change it as soon as possible!!!

Thank you very much

Aeon Junophor

dudes (author)mysss2014-05-09

energy is indeed the issue, at high volts, low amps the body's resistance goes down allowing more of the current to pass through. at low volts, high amps the body's resistance goes up allowing less of the current to pass. I have seen people pass 100000+ volts at a few microamps through themselves, I have also seen people pass 800+ amps at <2 volts through themselves as well.

lukichu (author)mysss2012-03-13

why do signs say danger high voltage?

tesla man (author)lukichu2012-07-06

Because normally in those cases, high amperage comes along with, even though using a transformer to increase voltage, decreases amperage. But high voltage does have heat, and still herts.

Junophor (author)mysss2012-03-14

Hi mysss

Let me repeat this important noteagain:

Thanks for your detailed and very good explanation. I absolutely agree with you and wkoepp too!!
Can you help me and all the others who want to present such projects in future and write the technical right formulated security advice new?

If "Yes" then I will change it as soon as possible!!!

Thank you very much

Aeon Junophor

jerenmie (author)lukichu2015-11-25

Voltage won't kill you, current will :)

Knextremely stupid (author)2014-12-08

I made it i wanna show u but my only camera broke its so neat nice job a great conversation starter

Clever_Alchemist (author)2012-09-24

Awesome...just fantastic...

Gunther45 (author)2012-03-11

I love this. Small and very nice. Is that switch final though? It's the only thing that looks a little out of place.Maybe a dial switch? I think this thing is cool as hell though! Nice Work!

Junophor (author)Gunther452012-03-14

Hi Gunther45

I chose the red cover for a better view in this video and fotos. Afterwards I put it away;-))))))

Cheers Aeon Junophor

Gunther45 (author)Junophor2012-05-24

Bro, I never knew it was so hard to find a proper switch for a Steampunk project. It's very very hard especially in the states because I wanted a Dolly Switch and we never had them. I always like the piece just thought the switch was out of place but I totally understand now! We got to do what we got to do.

Junophor (author)Gunther452012-05-24

Hi Gunther45

Here are some adresses where you may find such switches, hope this will help

And there I buy my switches:

Your Aeon Junophor

longwinters (author)2012-04-14

Here is my second attempt with a bigger bulb a good friend sent me.

I think this will become an Instructable.

hamer (author)longwinters2012-04-18

that looks insane! could you describe to me how that is done and what type of globe it is
so cool..damn clever

Junophor (author)longwinters2012-04-14

Oh my god what a beautiful Idea!!!

This will be very great!!!
Im longing for your instrutable and your detailed explantion too.....;-) How do you out the stripes on?

If you put the to contactsofthis bulb together to use them as one cathode and the outer stripes as anode the whole inner ball will shine.

once again a genius idea

Cheers Aeon Junophor

longwinters (author)Junophor2012-04-14

I did connect the contacts on the base, the foil "wires" are the other pole,
maybe an electronics person will explain why one half of the sphere inside is brighter, it could be the connection on the base is poor.

The foil is the type used to make stained glass projects, I cut it in strips as narrow
as I could, I just had an Idea I'll try and connect one base contact then the other and see what happens to the glow pattern.

Why do I have the feeling you are going to beat me to the next project with this idea???? Of course I am joking with you.

OK I just checked the less bright picture I posted is connected to the small inner contact, the brighter is to the large brass one.
Connecting them togeather does not have an effect.

Junophor (author)longwinters2012-04-15

Thanks for your explanation

Your next instructable will be a bright and shiny one for sure.....
Did you use the flyback for generating the light Can you draw the circuit? Well I think this all will be said and shown when you present you next object......

I will try your idea as soon as possible with a small NE 56 bulb ...;) I have got from a very good friend in the states ...;) and I hope to get the chance to get such copper foil you used, because I only have some foil without glue.
Cheers and keep up your great works
Aeon Junophor

Junophor (author)2012-04-12


Risky but veeerrrryy good inded.

Be careful with it!!!


Aeon junophor

Winged Fist (author)2012-04-11

Pure Steampunk genius;-) My hat's off again to you Aeon Junophor!

domdanial (author)2012-03-18

Hey, how are the neon bulb and the plug connected? On the high voltage power supply instructable, it show multiple configurations for the power. Do you use AC or DC for the bulb and plug? Oh and the term you are looking for is "circuit" or circuit board" instead of "electronic." Great though =)

Junophor (author)domdanial2012-03-19

Hi domdanial

Thanks for your explanation. I will use the right term in future;-))

Now to your question:
I connected the plug with one contact usinig the AC-variaty and the other contacct goes to the two contacts of the small bulbsocketholder so that both cathodes inside the bulb are working as one. That ist also why I had to insulate the metal part oft the bulb socket above the holder with the black shrinking hose (to avoid a short cut and even electric shock) if this part might have been touched by fingers/hand.

Hope this details will help ;-)))

Aeon Junophor

wkoepp (author)2012-03-13

Junophor awesome project as always. you always show good home craftsmanship. This is yet another one of your projects i will have to duplicate.

mysss (author)2012-03-13

First of all, awesome idea! This is definitely going on my list of projects to build if I ever get into electronics.

I noticed you seem to be using "a" and "an" rather oddly. My assumption is that you're using them as if they correspond to different genders of noun? If so, you should know that English doesn't have genders like this. "A" is used before words beginning with a consonant, and "an" is used in front of words beginning with a vowel. The only exception (I think) is words beginning with "h," for which the article depends on the pronunciation. I think the English are more likely to say, "an hero," for example, while (being an American) I say, "a hero." Using "an" implies a different way of pronouncing the word. Anyway, sorry if I misunderstood, and thanks for posting! Now on to check out your other Instructables. =)

iamdarkyoshi (author)2012-03-11

dunno what it could be used for, but really cool!

kovama1 (author)2012-03-11

What about radiation? in video I saw some geeen sparks....

MPLS_CBG (author)2012-03-11

I love neon lamps! I saw a similar flicker lamp at the hardware store and wasn't sure if it was neon or not. Beautiful project!

MPLS_CBG (author)2012-03-11

I would love to get a few to try out in this:

The little NE2 lamps work OK but they aren't as cool looking as these. Also I think these would have better optical coupling to light pipes.

goffymew56 (author)2012-03-09

Hello where can i get the stuff the metal box and the reddish stuff like the circle to put on the box

Junophor (author)goffymew562012-03-10

Hi goffymew56
The red stuff is called vulcanic fiber from Germany , the metal box is an former handlamp from Austria made in the 1960´s, and the bulb is manufactured by the swedish Producer Konstsmide.
Cheers Aeon Junophor

goffymew56 (author)2012-03-09

where do you get the small box for the wires

goffymew56 (author)2012-03-09

hello i can't find any of the parts any help i live in adelaide

unmitigatedaudacity (author)2012-03-09

Nice, it steams punky

Horatius.Steam (author)2012-03-08

Great work, my friend!

Junophor (author)Horatius.Steam2012-03-09

Hi Horatius.Steam

Yes indeed a good work. Thanks for friendship and supporting so much!!!

Aeon Junophor

bricabracwizard (author)2012-03-08

Another great invention, I love your work.

Junophor (author)bricabracwizard2012-03-09

Hi bricbracwizard

Tank´s for your kind comment. Your works are also an inspiration to me;-))))

Many greetings to Down Under

thechocolatist (author)2012-03-08

Dear Aeon Junophor

Again a great gadget from your laboratory! Wonderful!

Greetings from Helvetia

The Chocolatist

Junophor (author)thechocolatist2012-03-09

Hi thechocolatist

Thank you very much for your ovations!!

Let me say that your objects are impressing me too;-))))

Cheeers and greetings from Hamburg, Germany

Aeon Younphor

Junophor (author)2012-03-08

Thanks to all and their kindly comments

You see I am back again.
And I love it really much!!
I am so pleased that you like my objects. That´s it!!!!

Cheers to all of you
Aeon Junophor

longwinters (author)2012-03-08

Glad to see another project from you, we had a dry spell there.

I wish I could contribute as well but I am on a project that will take at least 1/2 a year so I must rely on the "old timers" to keep my imagination going.

This is a wonderful project and it made my day to pop online and see something new.

Grasshopper1221 (author)2012-03-08

I have been wondering when you would be back with another great steampunked classic!
And as always you have blown me away! This is really cool, Love the overall design Silver & black and brass always go good together.
Can't wait to see more!
You inspire me allot with you inventions, In fact my steampunked wall light was Inspired by your light tube.

Junophor (author)Grasshopper12212012-03-08

Hi grasshopper1221

Thank you very much for your patience. Indeed I needed some time for new inventions and now I will present them step by step so stay tuned and have a look at my site;-))))))

Your Aeon Junophor

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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