Singer's Ladder




My modification of antique box from sewing machine Singer.
Most of parts are old junk or pulled from old equipment.

Welcome to mad scientist party!!!



Step 1: There Was Once Old Box.

I always was wondering what can I do with it but once...

Step 2: Meet Allanson!!!

Local neon sign shop's got rid of an old transformer.
Allanson brand.
15000V, 30 mA, 450VA.

I brought poor device home.
I already knew what to do!

Step 3: Hey, Our Rusty Fellow's Got New Clothes.

I've cleaned and repainted transformer and covered it with acrylic protective coating.
Should stay hundred years more, I guess.

As electrodes I've used couple of brass glass hangers from bar equipment.
I've found them in scrap bin near local restaurant which was closed for renovation.
They are two feet long and have such a right geometry so I've used them without modification.

Step 4: Old House Has Got New Windows and Door.

I've designed electrical circuit and cut opening for all components.
Dremel with high speed cutter is very handy for this kind of job.

Step 5: I Could Be Furniture Maker...

Painting inside, drying it up,
sanding, staining, drying it up...
staining, drying it up...
staining, drying it up...
covering with protective coating.

Victorian style, eh?

Step 6: Now We Need Strong Base.

That thing is quite heavy, so I've chosen 3/4 inch thick plywood to make base.

Step 7: Always Design Things With Easy Access to Guts.

I've used t-nuts and machine screws 10-24 to fasten top cover to side planks of the base plate.

Step 8: We Are Still Building Strong Foundation.

Base plate is permanently fastened to side planks by wood screws.

Step 9: Let's Add Some Decorations in Wooden Style.

Pretty luxurious, eh?

Step 10: Welcome to New Home, Buddy.

Well proven T-nuts and custom made aluminum brackets that's a core of successful fastening!!!

Step 11: New Faceplate Is on the Way.

Faceplate is cut from 1/16 aluminum sheet.

Step 12: Shape Is Fully Exposed

I'm happy it's soft aluminum...

Step 13: And Finally - Labels

Labels are made using heat toner transfer technology.
Plate is covered with transparent protective coating.

Step 14: There Will Be Light!!!

Those buttons are designed to work with incandescent lamp 30V 50 mA but I prefer modern solution.
I like to embed LEDs everywhere I can.

Step 15: So, How Does It Look Now?

Hey! It's nice to see old friends...

Here's analog meter from my other instructable.

Step 16: Control Circuit Wiring.

Woodworking is done.
Metal crafting is done.
It's time to pull wires.

99% of circuits serve only to increase dramatic effect ;-)

In real life, it would be more than enough to use standard power cord and switch.

I've employed 5V relays to control light and as a switch for primary winding of HV transformer.
As HV cable I've used standard 12 AWG wire inserted into flexible vinyl tubing.

Step 17: Spark Emitter.

Ground clamps serve as electrodes holders.

Step 18: Last Stage.

We are about to finish, but before we must protect public from contact with this devil's machine.
So let's make one last thing.

I've got nice acrylic sleeve from local plastic shop.
Brackets to hold protective sleeve are made from aluminum transition strip and polished.
Automotive polishing wax works pretty well for both metal and acrylic surfaces.

Step 19: Safety First!!!

15000V around the corner. Be aware!!!
That acrylic tube is professionally made and most expensive part of project. I've found it accidentally in local plastic shop as rejected part of some kind of custom-made display.
Dimension 5"x5"x27" and it perfectly fits Singer box.

Step 20: Woohoo!!!

We are all done!!!



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    22 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Lol, replace that wimpy metal toggle switch with an SPST safety cover switch! THAT LIGHTS UP!!!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow now this looks good though I doubt it would fit in with my furniture but I'm sure I can find a spot


    10 years ago on Introduction

    well, um... i'm speechless really looks like a must have in a mad scientist's lab :D outstanding, just simply outstanding


    11 years ago on Introduction

    its nice, but the nst lack the power you need. see how, at the top 3rd of the ladder, the arc ceases to rise smoothly? instead, one side rises, then the other. this is caused by instability of the arc. as it gets longer, it needs more current to sustain itself. although the current does not drop too low for the ladder to work, it causes the arc to become unstable. i recommend a higher amperage supply if you can get one. otherwise, it looks nice.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    That is simply beautiful. One day I hope I'll have the time/patience/effort/resources to make something like that.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    While this isn't an original concept the craft work and presentation is far the nicest looking jacob's ladder I've seen. Good work!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Most excellent project and documentation! I love your attention to detail. Very well done, thanks for sharing.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! I never knew it was so easy to make something so beautiful. Wow!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    truly one of the most polished instructables i have seen. If I saw this, I would think that singer was in the ladder business at some point.

    Super nifty, I like. Dig the illuminated switches. Ever use neon indicator lamps for such a purpose? They have such a lovely orange glow to them.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Steampunk science toys- full of win. You've clearly put a lot of effort into the presentation, and it really shows. +