High Voltage: Build your own 84 kV lightning stick

There’s a proverb that says ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’. Now that stick can come in a high-voltage form factor. The device above, which reminds us of a side-handled baton with a coke can stuck on the end, is a portable Van de Graaff generator.

Although debated in the comments, the creator of this hack claims you can shock someone with 84 kV of electricity using the device. Of course as a weapon it’s lacking since we’re talking about static electricity; the voltage can be through the roof but the current is extremely low. Despite that, there are some fun things you can do with them. The video after the break show it throwing off sparks with the lights dimmed. [Yardleydobon] also includes a few other tricks at the end of his tutorial. He makes a set of Franklin Bells using two more soda cans with the aluminum tab from one suspended in between them. As he charges it up, the tab dances back and forth, ringing the ‘bells’ it runs into. Once they are charged, the ringing can be restarted by discharging just one of the cans.

 

Comments

  1. Ben Buxton says:

    I used to have a sweater made of artificial fibre, which when I took it off after it being over a natural fibre shirt, would get massive static sparks (Around 5cm long) jumping to my nose.

    Similar voltage I’d think, but probably get more hurt from this probe!

    Whilst easy and relatively safe, its hard to beat the continuous “buzz” from real HV supplies. (Just built another flyback tonight, info on my own site) Of course, the potential for danger from real supplies gives a little bit of a rush!

  2. Trenchcoat Monobrow says:

    What, someone went and built a combine stunstick? Why am I not surprised, either at that or my sudden desire to make one myself?

  3. Its fun in the same way that putting a coin on the top of a plasma call is.
    You can buy the toys off firebox too, pretty cheap. (the top is designed to make little bits of foil float…which is actualy fun in itself once you get the hang of it). Got one for my newphew.

  4. jethomson says:

    When I wrote this article I estimated that it was 84 kV from the length of the spark, but a comment has led me to believe that this might be too high by an order of magnitude. I don’t know what the real voltage is. Here’s a pdf link for those that hate instructables.

  5. Welsh Mullet says:

    Combine stun stick from half-life 2 anyone?

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