Hello fellow makers! I have recently finished building a solid-state, 5 foot, tesla coil capable of generating arcs up to 30 inches long. I am only 14, but I have quite a bit of experience with high voltage. Though this is my largest project yet, I designed it from scratch with only a little inspiration from certain design websites. Currently, the coil can run at an output of about 300,000 volts, which generates 8-inch arcs at most. It is designed to run at 1,000,000 volts, but I just haven't bought all the capacitors yet. On this page, I will show my entire design and building process along with advice for anyone interested in building their own Tesla coil. But first of all,
DISCLAIMER: TESLA COILS ARE VERY DANGEROUS AND GENERATE EXTREMELY HIGH VOLTAGE, ALONG, WITH OZONE (WHICH IS VERY BAD), THEY ALSO CREATE EXTREME ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND LOUD NOISE. PLEASE BE CAREFUL IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH HIGH VOLTAGE. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY INJURIES YOU MAY ENCOUNTER. BE SAFE AND DONT BE DUMB, SO I CAN AVOID A LAWSUIT AND YOU CAN BUILD THINGS HAPPILY. Sound like a fair deal? Good! Now let's get into it!
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: SUPPLIES AND CONSTRUCTION
I am going to explain this assuming you know how a tesla coil works. if you don't then visit this site and learn all about it!
Now, the first thing you need to do is find a way to generate very high voltage to power your coil. this is usually done with a transformer that charges a capacitor bank. when the bank discharges through a spark gap it completes the circuit allowing the coil to oscillate and then arc from the top. To achieve this I turned to eBay.
I used a 6kv neon sign transformer from Information Unlimited, to charge the capacitor bank.
For the capacitor bank, I used about 12 doorknob capacitors(21-40kv each) wired in parallel.
For a spark gap, you can use a couple of hex wrenches with about a 1-centimeter gap.
(don't use pointy electrodes because the arcs will be sporadic and uncontrollable.)
The primary coil can be made from copper wire in a cone or spiral. About half-inch diameter will do
As for the secondary, if you don't have the patience to meticulously wind a huge coil, then you can buy a really great one at this link
You can use some AC ventilation tubing for the top load.
Step 2: WIRING
To wire up all the components, just follow the schematic above. make sure there are no short circuits and try to cover up the spark gap as best as possible. I would strongly recommend making a control panel with a multimeter or oscilloscope to have more control and safety measures. make sure that the secondary is grounded and that the transformer is as well. make sure the capacitor bank is wired carefully so that the capacitors don't short or arc. Always short the capacitors before handling them.
Step 3: SAFTEY/OPERATION/FUN
When activated, make sure there is no GFI (ground fault interference). If your coil is powerful enough, and if it is working properly, you should see arcs spouting off of the top load at random. if you don't see any arc then you may not have enough transformer power. That's ok though! no need to go buying a higher voltage NST. you can simply try holding a piece of metal near it (with gloves on) and generating arcs that way it that way. Even if you are seeing arcs spouting on their own, I would recommend trying to control them with a metal probe. wielding lightning is awesome no matter what voltage. if you want you can put a spinning piece or a point on top of the torrid to see more directed arcs. If you happen to have a banana you are willing to sacrifice, then try putting it on top of the coil with the ends facing up. I'm not going to tell you what it does, but I seriously recommend the banana experiment.
REMEMBER NEVER TO TOUCH THE ARC WITH YOUR BARE HANDS, IT WILL SHOCK AND BURN YOU.
Another thing you can try is bringing a fluorescent light near it and watching it light up wirelessly.
Make sure that the outlet your coil is connected to does not have a direct breaker.
Also, this device generates huge electromagnetic fields (EMPS), so much so that all the TVs in my house go out when I run it. So if you have hearing aids or a pacemaker or any other electronic implant please be super careful. This thing will also kill your watch or phone if you are in the room when you run it. Trust me.
I hope you guys have enjoyed my instructable and I will update it as I go. if you have any questions at all, please ask them in the comments or message me. I would love to hear from you guys and get some input from the community!
This is an entry in the