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Making a mad scientist lab this year. A tesla coil is of course the peak of mad scientist props imaginable. I looked at a diagram or two, thought "hey, that's easy", and whipped a lowest effort proof of concept:

Wood Gas Household cleaning supply Composite material Soil


As you can tell this is probably not safe at all. On the plus side, it's only using 3 volts. Coil was wound on my minilathe using the tool holder to hold the spool and turning the pulleys by hand. Leyden jar is the capacitor. For the full size one I'll have a whole crate of these, which as a bonus are themselves decorations. Can probably put a green light under them for added effect. I'll use real wires on the full size one as well instead of just jumper wires and a bread board. :p The spark gap is just two jumper wires sitting close to each other, topload is just a ball of aluminum foil, you get the idea. No tuning attempted, but as you can see from the video it lights a CFL and I've got streamers you can see in the dark.

I've already got more wire and a 4 inch tube and some other odds and ends on their way for a full size one. Gonna have to make really sure people can't get close to it and there's plenty of heavy paths to ground between the coil and anywhere people might be.
 
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