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Electric Ring Wheel Prop - Is a Tesla Coil the way to go? Answered

So here's the deal: 
I need to make an electrical ring prop, and while I have basic electrical knowledge, I'm a noob at High Voltage applications.  What I need is to produce electrical streamers, such as what you see from a Tesla coil (at least an inch if possible) to appear to be sparking off and around a spinning wheel held in a fork (ie. the front wheel of a bike).    What would be the safest and cheapest (in that order) way to accomplish this?  

Optional requirements: It would be perfect in all ways if it uses a DC power supply for locational freedom, and if it can be made so that a person can actually sit on the bike without you know, dying.  But work-arounds for those are doable, we just need the visual effect.

CG isn't in the cards for us, and we've tried the others already.  LEDs and glowsticks etc. look just like what they are: cheap spinning lights, and pyrotechnic type sparks and such look more like the bike is busted and about to blow than anything else.  Your first thought is "oh my god you're frying the bearings!" 


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11 years ago

Why bother with electricity at all?  It's relatively easy to produce sparks, using flints like those found in cigarette lighters.

But if they must be electric sparks, then do a search for taser circuits or maybe something based on disposable camera flash circuits.  They can often be multiplied with a voltage multiplier to produce inch-long sparks.  Be aware, however, that the sparks will need to traverse a gap - they can't just discharge into the air in this case.  Fortunately, the current would be low enough (if using camera parts) that you could use the wheel itself as one end of the "spark gap."

Just don't ride it in the rain, OK?  ;)