Jacob’s Ladder makes itself at home in a floppy disk box

[Plasanator] adds a bit of safety to his Jacob’s Ladder by housing it in a familiar enclosure. It doesn’t take very many components to make one of these, but to get the high voltage you’ll need some type of coil. He’s using one from the electrical system of an old car, then building around it with a big 15mf 220V capacitor, a dimmer switch normally used in household wiring, terminal blocks, and some braising rod or coat hanger for the spark to traverse.

The video after the break shows this in operations, and we’d agree with [Plasanator] that this is a wonderful addition to your Halloween decor. Of course you want to keep fingers away from the dangerous bits and that’s where the enclosure and key lock come into play. Were not sure what he made the upright cylinder from, but the base is a blast from the past. Remember when one of those used to sit proudly on every desk as a tribute to how important the information you had on had really was?

Don’t want to play with high voltage like this? You can build a fake using EL wire.


  1. Kyle says:

    That’s 15uF – m = milli, u=micro. Wow. Really, Mike?

  2. woutervddn says:

    I was going WHOOOOT myself when I read 15mF :p

  3. BadWolf says:

    It look like a MOT and it’s corresponding cap…using a Car Ignition coil requires a triggering circuit, 555 like.

  4. Ben says:

    As a kid I made one with a neon sign transformer and carefully bent pieces of copper wire. Still have it in my mom’s garage, but grownup fears of electrocution and UV have prevented me from firing it up. I ought to “upgrade” it to a safe, shielded version someday.

  5. Dielectric says:

    Hah, we made a neon-supply version with scrap wood and coathangers. It sat on a windowsill in the dorms. Super dangerous, especially when the coathangers fell out of adjustment and it stopped sparking. Tough to tell if the transformer is live or not because the pilot light was burned out. I do not recommend this.

  6. wosser says:

    I use the lid off one of those floppy disk boxes to etch my PCBs in. They do have their uses.

  7. Leithoa says:

    @ Badwolf
    HAD was just going on what the instructable lists in it’s materials list, which is a car ignition coil

  8. Tomasito says:

    That coil it’s not going to whitestand much longer..

    I don’t think the primary winding can handle those voltage peaks.

  9. Tomasito says:

    PS: A friend of mine scared the HELL out of me when i was setting up mine and he screamed “BAAAANG”.

    But a couple of days later i did the same trick to him while playing with his neon sign transformer haha.

  10. Electric Jesus says:

    It looks like a blender.

  11. buttim says:

    Putting the instructions in a bitmap is definitely NOT a good idea. But not publishing a schematic should prevent people from (otherwise fantastic) Hackaday to review such projects

  12. ColinB says:

    What is a “braising rod”?! Is it some clever device to cook your beef roast?


  13. synth says:

    actually, more like a welding rod, right?
    forget about that flux coating?

  14. HiVoltage says:

    I may have to make a Jacobs Ladder Blender after
    seeing this…

    By the way , are there any Jacobs Ladder Bong plans
    to be had anywhere?

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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,386 other followers