How to Build a Tesla Coil

The Tesla coil is a resonant transformer capable of generating electrical discharges. Unlike other electronic devices, you can build a Tesla coil at home easily.

Required Tools and Materials

Wood board
Transformer (9000 volts, 30 milliamps)
4 PVC pipes taller than the transformer
Brass doorknob
Two 1 1/2 inch diameter PVC pipes, 6 inches long
One 3-inch diameter PVC tube, 12 inches long
One roll enameled wire
One roll heavy gauge wire
4 bolts with round end caps
4 "L" brackets
4 10 inch square metal plates
5 sheets of 12 x 12 x 0.032 inch polystyrene

Step 1

Create the capacitor by setting down 5 polystyrene sheets. These should be alternated with 4 metal plates. You can also use aluminum plates, aluminum or copper foil.

Step 2

You will also need spark gaps to build a Tesla coil. You can make these with the bolts and 4 L brackets. Place the round end caps on the bolt ends.

Step 3

Put a heavy gauge bare wire around a cylinder form seven times. The cylinder should be 8 inches in diameter minimum. Make holes in four PVC pipes. Distribute the holes about 1/8 of an inch apart. Thread the wire in it. This will make up the first coil.

Step 4

Wind the enameled wire around the 3 inch pipe. This is the second coil. The turn should number 500. Put varnishing on the coil. Apply several coating layers. Ensure that it is even when it dries.

Step 5

Enfold enameled wire (20 turns) in 2 separate PVC pipes each 1 ½ inch in diameter. This is for the RFCs (radio frequency chokes).

Step 6

Put the doorknob over the secondary coil. This will be the discharge terminal. Put this coil in the first coil. Join both in the wood piece’s center.

Step 7

Join the four other PVC pipes to the board’s underside. Connect the radio frequency chokes spark gaps on the board’s top. Put the transformer beneath it. Set the capacitor over the transformer.

Step 8

Link a ground rod on the wire. This should lead from the RFC 2 onto the coil. The coil is finished.

Tips and Warnings

You can also use neon sign transformers or oil furnace ignition. Automotive oil transformers can also be used. The latter can generate more subtle effects.

Before you build a Tesla coil, make sure you have a good understanding of electricity and how to handle it. Do not attempt this project unless you know how to manage electricity safely.

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