Jacob’s Ladder

jacobs_ladder

[jandgse812] shows us how to build a Jacob’s Ladder from mostly household parts.   The bulk of the instructions for this project are included in the downloadable document, there is a downloadable video as well. Be sure to follow to the end where he shows us a much safer and possibly better looking revision. The Jacob’s Ladder has become standard fair for any mad scientists laboratory. If you plan on having a workshop suited for world domination, it absolutely must have one of these in it. Be careful though, the high voltage can be deadly.

Comments

  1. tony says:

    I’ve thought about making one from an ignition coil, but I think a neon sign transformer works better. And they usually use some sort of flyback topology with the transformer to make sure the current stays below a certain level. Makes it a little less deadly.

  2. chris says:

    Neon xformers limit current to 30 ma which is not as likely to kill you. Don’t use the kind with a GFCI as they won’t work since the GFCI will trip. They do work wonderfully without the GFCI tho. I had a 30″ tall ladder with a 10″ gap at the top that made an awesome show using a 15kv xformer.

  3. mike says:

    In my electronics class in high school, our teacher had one he made years before and told us not to get near it. Supposedly, somebody left it on over night and a janitor came in and thought it would be cool to light his cigarette on it but instead got the shit shocked out of him. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it sure is funny.

  4. dan says:

    speaking of mad science, i was amused to see that this page served me an advert for the following:

    http://www.lifetechnology.org/teslashield.htm

    “The tesla shield™ emits a positive tachyon field with a radius of approximately 10 meters which is capable of penetrating any material substance or living organism.”

    “the tesla shield™ has the ability to transfer specific information rich energy from the schumann resonance field to the human bioenergetic field. the schumann resonance field is a natural magnetic field with a unique harmonic frequency of 7.83hz.”

    Quackaday.com…

  5. mike says:

    So we better start wearing our tin foil hats then…..

  6. roshamboe says:

    thats the biggest waste of time ever

  7. Hybridchemistry says:

    Me and my dad made a Jacobs Ladder a few years ago. I wanted it for a Halloween decoration, and when we were eating breakfast in a restaurant, I saw a guy changing the transformers for a big neon sign. After going out to talk to him, he gave us a smaller transformer, I don’t remember the voltage jump, but it was the smaller of two, the larger would shoot a 2″ spark that probably would have maimed me. *__* After some re-bending clothes hangers, we had a 3′ Jacobs ladder. I don’t think it’s been on in a while unfortunately :( It really need a plexi case as to not kill anything.

  8. Tim says:

    I did it with a microwave transformer once.

    It produced wicked sparks, but the voltage wasnt high enough for the arc to start if the gap was less than a few milimeters.

    It ended up being “manually operated”, I.e you had to jam a screwdriver in the gap to get each arc going.

    Kind of scary. A one-off novelty project at best but too dangerous to really keep out.

  9. Peter Kazakoff says:

    I build one a while ago:

    (Hey, what do you know, that video has sound now. Youtube actually got good codecs).

    It was not as nice as this one – no home made driver circuit, just ripped the circuit directly from an old TV. Dangerous as hell, but the amperage was only 50mA or so, so it wasn’t fatal.

    And before you lament the high pitched speaking, that’s not me, that’s the kid filming it.

  10. jonathan says:

    You can make a simpler jacobs ladder if you can get the transformer off of a discarded oil furnace burner. The ignition transformer on the old burner puts out 10,000 volts at 20 ma. The newer transformers put out 15,000 volts at 20 hertz and 20 ma I think. The newer one is a solid state power supply, 120v in. The older one is a straight transformer. On the old transformer you can half wave rectify the input and get half wave dc on the output.
    Jonathan

  11. Marty says:

    Oh, the incredible spreading goo of typos continues. C’mon, it’s “standard fare”, not “standard fair”. we need to keep things at a higher caliber, caleber.

  12. Josh says:

    @roshamboe: To each his own. But, I prefer to look at this as a proof-of-concept or educational project. There are a lot of hacks that one could consider a “waste of time.”

    I built on of these long ago for a science fair project. It was a project out of Popular Electronics or one of those hobby mags. It used a Quadrac and a couple of other current-limiting things. The assembly minus the rods was enclosed in a metal box with just the terminals sticking out. The project didn’t say anything about not using a two-prong cord, so when you turned it on, you got a nice, healthy shock (and electrical interference) from the corona discharge at the cap of the ignition coil.

  13. TJ says:

    @marty

    “calibre”

  14. markps2 says:

    I made one using an old oil furnace transformer. I don’t recommend using a microwave transformer as the current is very high. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGYuXRRc-hY

  15. Tony says:

    I built one of these also with an oil burner transformer. This isn’t the best one I’ve seen but it’s an alright use of the automotive coil. You can make really tiny ones that just sit on your desk with smaller automotive coils.

  16. jaded says:

    We built one about 30 years ago with a transformer that had a porcelain standoff marked “65KV” that my friend got from somewhere unknown (we kind of assumed it was a neon sign transformer.) We were too scared to power it with 120 VAC so we used two D-cells hooked in series with a mechanical buzzer. Two bent coat hangers later, and we had a working Jacob’s ladder.

  17. carlton says:

    high voltage is fun, and not to be (too much of) a buzzkill, but, guys talking about 30 mA or 50 mA being okay, think again, that can be very dangerous, depending on the path. more than 10 mA can make it so you can’t let go!

    from OSHA on effects of ac electricity:
    * >3 mA- Painful shock- cause indirect accident
    * >10 mA- Muscle contraction – “No Let Go” danger
    * >30 mA- Lung paralysis, usually temporary
    * >50 mA- Ventricular fibrillation, usually fatal
    * 100 mA to 4 A- Certain ventricular fibrillation, fatal
    * Over 4 A- Heart paralysis, severe burn

    always use the one hand behind the back deal, a path through the heart is the real issue — i.e., if you grab the ladder with both hands!

  18. abel2488 says:

    me podria explicar alguien como construir una escalera de jacob con un transformador de microondas me refiero al montaje si puede ser con fotos y en español mejor gracias

  19. Mike K. says:

    GREAT Movie! I watched it online at “nowonhd.com” the movie was freakin awsome..

  20. Jeff K. says:

    OMG this movie is f***** AWSOMEE!! WAY better than the first one.. I watched it online at “www.nowonhd.com” quality was awsome..

  21. Robert K. says:

    Awsome movie loved it! it got leaked.. I watched it a couple days ago online b4 it got out. for those of you who are interested in the site I watched it at here it is: “nowonhd.com” the quality is pretty good..

  22. Pedro R. says:

    This movie got leaked.. watched it a couple days ago.. for those of you that are interested on were i saw it at here’s the link: “nowonhd.com” the movie was pretty good i liked it alot.. quality was also great..

  23. Carlos R. says:

    this movie was wayyy better than the first one I watched it yesterday assoon as I found out it got leaked on the internet at “nowonhd.com”

  24. Zach K. says:

    OMG this movie is f***** AWSOMEE!! WAY better than the first one.. I watched it online at “www.nowonhd.com” quality was awsome..

  25. Porcelain says:

    Wow, good post. I just now clicked a link to your site and I am already a fan. :D

  26. Matt says:

    Yeah spam like that really works mate. And instructable removed =(

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s