Introduction: Tesla Coil

The Makerspace at Østfold University College were holding an competition where the theme was to make something with an WOW-factor, so our group decided to make an tesla coil.

Just a tl;dr:

the project was built with no prior knowledge on tesla coils so the results were not what we were hoping for, becasue we could only get it to light up halogen light tube.

Step 1: Materials

The materials we used were:

5 cm diameter (on the inside) pvc pipe (the longer the better, the excess part of the pipe can be cut off)
Alot of copper wire (used for both the primary and secondary coils, and the doughnut on the top)
Something to hold the doughnut (here we used thin metal plate that you can fasten with skrews, see picture in
step 5)
A small metal rod (used to form the doughnut around)
A round piece of plastic (this doesn't have to be a piece of plastic, it is just used as a piece to hold the doughnut)
A 3D printer
Halogen light tube
A power source, here comes our problem. We didn't use a HV power source, so we didn't get a high enough voltage.

Step 2: 3D Printing the Parts

The files can be found here:

The four pillars that holds the primary coil is printed on an Ultimaker 3 extended and the two other parts were printed on a MakerBot: Replicator 2.

You can use whatever 3D printer you have but the settings on the printer may vary for each part.

All the parts fits, but you may have to be a little rough to get them some of them together. A tip is to use a rubber mallet on the four pillars to get them to fit.

Step 3: Secondary Coil

our secondary coil consists of 900 windings of copper wiring. We started at the bottom where drilled a whole into the PVC pipe. Here we stuck the copper wiring in and out bellow so we could use that end to connect it to the ground on the circuit board. When all the windings were done at the top we fasten it with some tape so it wouldn't unravel. At the top we also let there copper wire continue to go so we could solder it to the doughnut at the top.

Step 4: Primary Coil

For the primary coil we ran copper wire through the four pillars from the bottom to the top, by doing that we could tune the machine by connecting the wire from the power supply at different heights.

Step 5: The Top

The top of our tesla coil is just a third coil on top of the rest. Here we started by bending a metal rod into a circle that we could wind the coils around, and use to to attach the top coil to the the lid that sits on top of the secondary coil. After the third coil was made we took an plastic lid and attached the metal strips that would hold the third coil in place with skrews. in the middel of the plastic lid we drilled a hole that the excess wire from the secondary coil could come through and get sodered to the third coil.

Step 6: The Circuit

The circuit we used was a very simple amplifier just for testing, the way the circuit works is by amplifying the signal from the function generator before passing in through the primary coil. Be sure to set your function generator to square waves to make your delta A as big as possible. You may have to tune the frequency of your function generator to match you secondary coils frequency. The best way I found to tune was to put your light tube on top of your tesla coil and adjust the frequency until the light turned on, then you can try to remove your light while you continuously adjust your frequency.

Step 7: The Result

The results we got when we were done were not the sparks we were hoping for. As you can see in the picture, we only got it to light up a halogen light tube.