Steampunked Plasma-beam Generator





Introduction: Steampunked Plasma-beam Generator

About: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one side I am fascinated in neon lights and small electronic ...

Hi everybody 

I just returned from my steam-powered-laboratory (Dampfkraftlabor, in german) to present you my latest invention:

The Steampunked plasma-beam generator:

To get an first impression please watch this short movie

Notice: Don´t wreck your health and please obay the following advices:

***Disclaimers***This instructable works with voltages in excess of 250V. This is more than enough to give you a potentially fatal electric shock if handled incorrectly. If you are unfamiliar with how to work with high voltage, please refrain from performing this instructable. Exercise caution throughout the following steps to avoid electrical dangers and also use insulated tools like pliers and screwdrivers and so on.

If you choose to undertake this instructable, you do so at your own risk.

And here ist the instructable 

Step 1: Construction of the Chassis

As you know I love to work a lot with red vulcanized fiber material,  brass screws  and copper parts.
So I chose an old antique handlamp chassis and modified it  as you can see in the following pictures

Step 2: The Electronic Inside

Here you see all the components :

a switch
an green LED
an mini flickering bulb with E10 socket
an E10 socket holder
an AA battery holder (and the AA-battery of course)
an banana-plug ant its counterpart
a small piece of copper wire  ø1,5 mm
the well known former flash electronic of an disposal camera
The steampunked modified chassis

Step 3: Step by Step Explanation for the Electronic Works

In this instructable of mine you will find all the answers to your detailed questions about the electronic works;-)))

The mini flickering bulb with an E10 socket  can be ordered by the manifacturer Konstsmiede

Step 4: Combine the Components

And now you can build the three parts together

Step 5: Start the Generator

To start the generator switch it on  
Maybe a small light spot occurs at the top of the metal flame-cathodes.
If not,  just come near to the glass bulb with your hand.
When  you move slowly you can see that the spot comes in even if you don´t touch the glass.
Then touch the top of the glass and the plasma-beam rises up.

Step 6: Explanation How It Works

This trick is easily explained: To ignite the neon-gas filled bulb you need about 140 Volts minimum. Because of the high resistance of the whole construction the ignition is impossible. When you touch the glass top you lower the inner resistance and the tension rises up to ignition level. Afterwards the bulb needs only  about 90 Volts for running and that is why the plasma beam stays on without touching. 

And that´s it

Take care of yourself and enjoy this little gadget

Cheers Aeon Junophor



    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Creative Misuse Contest

      Creative Misuse Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest

    49 Discussions


    1 year ago

    my life is on the line of bow of this amazing monstrosity (: i like it ...

    high voltage? lol i've been shocked by one of those transformers before. it stings a bit but nothing fatal

    11 replies

    Both you and the author are making the mistake of assuming that the dangerous quality of electricity is voltage. As far as I know (do your own research, obviously, before trusting someone's advice with your life) amperage is much more important, which is why capacitors are so dangerous and Van de Graaff generators are so safe. It's possible that energy is actually the which case high voltages would be safe at low amperages and high amperages might be safe with low voltages.

    Mysss is correct in that current is what kills. 5mA is usually painful and only 10 to 15 mA (milliAmps) can kill you. High voltage is considered extremely dangerous though, this is for many reasons. Voltage is like electrical pressure, even if the voltage cant surge through your body and kill you, it can blow a good chunk of flesh off. I have accidently cut a live 120 V line which blew my wire cutters apart. The other main reason is that the human body has an average resistance of 50k Ohm, so say 250v / 50,000 ohms = 0.005 A ( 5 mA). that is enough for some serious pain. Watch out more for anything 600v or above, which is considered true high voltage. Anyways have fun and stay safe. :)

    Hi wkoepp

    Thanks for your detailed and very good explanation. I absolutely agree with you and Myss too!!
    Can you help me and all the others who want to present such projects in future and write the technical right formulated security advice new?

    If "Yes" then I will change it as soon as possible!!!

    Thank you very much

    Aeon Junophor

    energy is indeed the issue, at high volts, low amps the body's resistance goes down allowing more of the current to pass through. at low volts, high amps the body's resistance goes up allowing less of the current to pass. I have seen people pass 100000+ volts at a few microamps through themselves, I have also seen people pass 800+ amps at <2 volts through themselves as well.

    Because normally in those cases, high amperage comes along with, even though using a transformer to increase voltage, decreases amperage. But high voltage does have heat, and still herts.

    Hi mysss

    Let me repeat this important noteagain:

    Thanks for your detailed and very good explanation. I absolutely agree with you and wkoepp too!!
    Can you help me and all the others who want to present such projects in future and write the technical right formulated security advice new?

    If "Yes" then I will change it as soon as possible!!!

    Thank you very much

    Aeon Junophor

    Voltage won't kill you, current will :)

    I made it i wanna show u but my only camera broke its so neat nice job a great conversation starter

    I love this. Small and very nice. Is that switch final though? It's the only thing that looks a little out of place.Maybe a dial switch? I think this thing is cool as hell though! Nice Work!

    3 replies

    Hi Gunther45

    I chose the red cover for a better view in this video and fotos. Afterwards I put it away;-))))))

    Cheers Aeon Junophor

    Bro, I never knew it was so hard to find a proper switch for a Steampunk project. It's very very hard especially in the states because I wanted a Dolly Switch and we never had them. I always like the piece just thought the switch was out of place but I totally understand now! We got to do what we got to do.

    Hi Gunther45

    Here are some adresses where you may find such switches, hope this will help

    And there I buy my switches:

    Your Aeon Junophor

    Here is my second attempt with a bigger bulb a good friend sent me.

    I think this will become an Instructable.

    lamp idea camper 003.JPGlamp idea camper 001.JPG