Monday, May 20, 2013

Spark Gap Tesla Coil 1.0

Conceived during a summer that probably could've gone to better use (Junction, whyyyyyyy did I attend you???), SGTC 1.0 was what first got me into the whole business of shooting lightning.

Long exposure is best exposure.
Design Considerations:

- At some point, I want this thing to shoot monster streamers, so being able to swap components would be nice.

- Demos are far more fun when things work.

-Hnngggghhhh *ahem*

Construction breakdown:

-Two sheets of HDPE held up by threaded rod columns
- Fan bolted onto a piece of plexi that was subsequently ziptied onto the threaded rod (farming hard)

- Donated by the Daniel Kramnik
- 4" diameter, 2.5'~ tall
- 24 AWG???
- Resonant frequency ~555kHz
- Added toilet flange for increased mounting stability to chassis

- 1/4" copper refrigeration tubing wound spiral-style
- Added supports for sexiness

-  Some very sad aluminum ducting wrapped in even sadder aluminum tape. Not exactly my best handiwork.

- Scavenged Panasonic metal film caps
- Rated for ~8kV 
-Capacitance: ??? (something in the 0.005uF range)

- 9kV, 30mA (problem, MMC?)

Spark Gap
- Zinc-plated hardware (a bad idea)
- Cooled via muffin fan (a yummy idea)

Here, have some pictures media!

Note: bleed resistors help
 prevent accidental electrocution
Protip: when laying the primary,
 go from the center outward 

mmmm, HDPE

14"~ streamers 


  1. There is plenty of room for improvement, but that is the lovely thing about coiling, it is an ongoing adventure :)

    I have built many Tesla coils myself and you can see them at and I also write and discuss about building Tesla coils with other builders on

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