Introduction: Van De Graaff Generator Made From Junk

This is instructions on how I built a Van de Graaff generator from junk lying about my house.(And I do mean junk.)

Step 1: Parts

Okay, the first thing you will want to do is gather all of the necessary parts. They include 1 pencil with ereaser, two dried out old click pen parts, a piece of 8in. long PVC pipe, 1 dead light bulb, 1ft long piece of 2 by 4, a elastic band, one metal paper clip, aluminum foil, see through tape, one small toy motor, 9 volt battery, and some junk wire. A good sense of humor and a few band-aids would come in handy too.

Step 2: Part 1

The first step is to take your 1ft piece 2 by 4 and drill 1in. deep with a drill that is wide enough to snugly fit your PVC pipe. The position where you drill the hole should not really matter just as long as there is enough room to work with.

Step 3: Step 2

The next thing you do is stick the PVC pipe into the drilled out hole, and mark the point where the axel of your motor touches PVC pipe and drill a (STRAIGHT) hole through both sides of the PVC.Then drill another (STRAIGHT) hole through both sides of the pipe at the point were your elastic band is lightly out stretched. Make sure that elastic band is not too tight or it will stop the motor.

Step 4: Step3

Next you drill two more holes into the PVC.The first hole should be drilled directly perpendicular too the bottom holes, and should only go through one side of the PVC.The second hole should go just above the top hole and should also be drilled through only one side of the PVC.

Step 5: Step 4

Now you need to clean out any ink that is left in the dried out pen parts. I used a ribbon tie like the ones that come with trash bags to clean out the pen.

Step 6: Step 5

Next you cut a piece of the pen you just cleaned out to the length of the inside diameter of the PVC pipe. Then take your paper clip and cut a piece of it long enough so that there should be at least a quarter inch of excess metal on booth sides of the tube. This should all go into the top hole with the rubber band already attached. Then you fold over the excess metal from the paper clip, and see if it turns freely.

Step 7: Step 6

Next you take the left over metal from the paper clip and bend over about a quarter inch of metal depending on how big of a hole you drilled.Then using your plyer or a hook stretch the elastic band far enough so that you can place the piece of metal through the bottom hole.Then you take the ereaser from the pencil and drill or poke two small holes into booth sides one for the motor and one for the paper clip.To hold the ereaser firmly on the two pecies of metal place super glue into both holes on the eraser.

Step 8: Step 7

The next step is to add the brushes that collect the charge. The bottom brush as shown in the picture on the left goes through the hole at the bottom the wire needs to be frayed. You have to make sure that the bottom brush is close to the elastic band, but cannot touch it. The top brush as shown in the picture on the right goes thought the top hole and needs be touching the elastic band at all times.

Step 9: Step 8

The next and finale step is to wrap the dead light bulb in a piece of aluminum foil. The key to making the aluminum hold more of a charge is to smoothen it out as much as possible. Then you cut off any aluminum that might be touching the metal part of the bulb, and place it into the PVC pipe. Then attach the top brush wire to the light bulb. Well, that's it you now know how to build a Van de Graff Generator from junk which can give a door knob like spark or do neat tricks. Now the only thing left for you to do is super size it and send your neighbors annoying cat into the next century.

Comments

author
maxhirez made it!(author)2016-09-02

Could you expand on how the brushes are made and attached and what to use as a rubber band?

author
JamesM480 made it!(author)2016-05-14

This is good guide on how to select the best one.I really loved your comparison chart and look of the site. You seem to be expert in this.

author
nitinr2 made it!(author)2015-01-13

whre should be the another end of bottom wire attach?????? please reply

author
jerenmie made it!(author)2015-11-25

ground

author
DzanZ made it!(author)2015-12-10

Does the light bulb have to be dead?

author
ErikC1 made it!(author)2015-01-18

where do you attach the other end of the bottom brush wire to

author
jerenmie made it!(author)2015-11-25

to the ground

author
FREEZZZINGICE made it!(author)2013-01-11

Does it actully work?

author
HaileyK2 made it!(author)2015-11-18

yes

author
AstridS1 made it!(author)2015-09-17

What's the battery used for? any idea?

author
EmilianoC made it!(author)2015-09-14

what's the 1ft long piece of 2 by 4?

author
AstridS1 made it!(author)2015-09-17

i guess it's the wood?

author
333pancake333 made it!(author)2015-08-28

will it make any sparks?

author
ErikC1 made it!(author)2015-01-18

i spent literally 5 hours making it and it didnt work

author
ErikC1 made it!(author)2015-01-18

it doesnt work

author
SgBriggs made it!(author)2013-01-05

dose the grounding wire need to touch the ground or the - terminal on the battery or a wand so you can do the lightning stick thing?

author
CaptainCogwheel made it!(author)2014-09-27

The bottom wire needs to touch the belt, with the other end grounded, either with your hand or actually into the ground

author
Ahtasham+Ahmad+Mohtashim made it!(author)2013-01-16

Where the bottom brush has to be attached?

author
Saad+DX made it!(author)2014-07-30

Bro just drill a small hole below the motor..and attach the bottom brush near the bottom roller(where the motor is).....i mean the bottom brush should be very near the bottom roller......just like u did in the upper roller :D

author
Georgewister made it!(author)2014-06-14

You are brilliant!

I hope you will make more instructables.

author
Jonathon+Haberkorn made it!(author)2008-12-19

I discovered the perfect matiaral. take one of the big capacitors in microwave open it up in side there is pieces of thin foil covered in a plastic in between is is them is the perfect martial.

author
rvaidya made it!(author)2013-09-04

get your english corrected

author
Sumantkr123 made it!(author)2013-08-24

good job

author
dng8 made it!(author)2013-06-18

here's another website from MAKE http://blog.makezine.com/projects/simple-van-de-graaff-generator/

author
marvel_x23 made it!(author)2013-04-20

what can be used instead of the pvc tube

author
scristian made it!(author)2013-03-02

i made a shake machine :(

author
scristian made it!(author)2013-03-02

Does it still work if i use 1 engine on the top roller and one on the bottom one?
also i covered the top roler with somme duct tape so that the ruber band stays centered.

PS:for somme reason mine doesn't do anything other that shake

author
Velin9 made it!(author)2013-02-01

also can you use a plastic straw instead of the pen tube?

author
Velin9 made it!(author)2013-02-01

Can you use a piece of foam for the base instead of the wood or not?

btw this looks like a very cool project. good job.
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Thumbs Up

author
frederickgraff made it!(author)2012-12-11

Check out www.physicsplayground.com for extreme Van de Graaff generators!! Its a must see!!

author
teslapulsa94 made it!(author)2012-11-13

how thick pvc?

author
CoolDon made it!(author)2012-09-27

and if we attach a 9 volt battery to a toy motor wont it burn?

author
CoolDon made it!(author)2012-09-27

Hey can we run something on this one because i need to do it for ma science fair project

author
swaghmare made it!(author)2011-11-15

where does the another end of the bottom wire go????
plz reply fast.

author
CoolDon made it!(author)2012-09-27

Its a ground wire i think so!

author
Aron313 made it!(author)2012-08-19

Do you have a video on it?

author
Isaac+Laserman made it!(author)2012-08-19

video please

author
onlymadhur007 made it!(author)2012-08-07

can anybody plz send me the pdf file for it?
i need it urgently as m havin an exhibition in school.

Thanx :)

author
KronoNaut made it!(author)2007-03-22

Am I assuming correctly that you attach the top lead to the aluminum foil, and not the metal part of the bulb?

author
Daxuto made it!(author)2012-06-15

Yeah, connecting to the metal of the bulb would just attach to the filaments, however, what we want is charge to build up in the foil sphere outside.

author
maryamyam made it!(author)2012-05-21

is the top wire attached to BOTH the light bulb and the upper rubber band?

author
Tobor+2.0 made it!(author)2011-10-23

Can you leave out the bottom wire? I want to know the point of the bottom wire.

author
joshuaw97 made it!(author)2011-12-09

the bottom wire is to keep the generator grounded.

author
builder23 made it!(author)2011-11-03

I REALLY need to know if this generator works. i am doing a science fair project on electrostatic electricity, and have already tried to build one of these from another website. Somebody please respond!

author
rocketbat made it!(author)2007-03-20

LOL!" super size it and send your neighbors annoying cat into the next century" that is just what i intend to do!

author
cheezy+monkey made it!(author)2011-10-26

Been there.
Done that.

=D

author
yetibunny made it!(author)2010-06-03

You could also send your neigbor with them!   >: )

author
eric+m made it!(author)2011-06-29

photography here is awful.

how bout some closeups of the comb and pulley.

author
Daniel+Deacon made it!(author)2011-06-21

does it have to be PVC? or could the tube be Cardboard or something else thank you :D

author
Crazy-Inventor made it!(author)2011-04-30

Hi,
Can u plz tell me how much volts will this generator produce?
and one more question if it produces high voltage then why can't we use it for electicity supply for home.
waiting 4 reply.
Thnx
-Jerin

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