Taking picture of exploding wire

wire

[Patrick] didn’t just want his name in lights. He wanted his name in glowing plasma explosions, made by sending thousands of volts through a very thin wire.

This project is an experiment in capturing high speed images of exploding wires. [Patrick] wanted to know if he could shape wires in such a way that they would explode into letters of plasma. Of course, photographic proof of this would be needed, and would make for an awesome logo in any event.

To get pictures of wire turning into plasma, [Patrick] first needed to construct the necessary electronics. A simple spark gap was constructed on a large plastic cutting board – an excellent high voltage insulator. The huge capacitors are charged with a pair of high voltage transformers, and the entire assembly is triggered with an optocoupler and a very beefy SCR.

Even though [Patrick] designed the system for a low propagation delay, there was still the matter of capturing an exploding wire on film. The camera delay varied by about 120μs, but with a really great camera trigger, [Patrick] eventually got some impressive pictures.

After getting the electronics and photography portion of the build down, [Patrick] turned to making letters out of expanding plasma. Simply shaping the wire into a letter shape before vaporizing it had no effect, so he turned to 3D printed channels to contain the plasma. After a few attempts, this actually worked, allowing him to form the letters L, U, and X in an expanding ball of vaporized wire.

Wireless light bulbs with a Slayer exciter

slayer rocksWhile playing chiptunes, creating lightning, and illuminating fluorescent tubes with a homebrew Tesla coil is awesome, they’re not exactly the safest electrical devices around, and certainly aren’t easy or cheap to build. There’s another option open if you’d like to play with strong electromagnetic fields; it’s called the Slayer exciter and is simple enough to light a few fluorescent bulbs wirelessly off a pair of 9 Volt batteries.

The circuit for the Slayer exciter is extremely simple – just a single power transistor, a few diodes, and a couple of resistors. The real power for this build comes from the custom-wound transformer made from more than 100 feet of magnet wire. After plugging the driver circuit into the transformer’s primary winding and connecting a metal ball (in this case a wooden ball covered in aluminum foil), it’s possible to light up a four Watt fluorescent tube with a pair of 9 Volts.

You can check out a video of the Slayer exciter after the break.

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Modulator box connects iPod to Tesla coil

tesla-coil-modulator

This pass through audio modulator lets you playback stereo audio on two Tesla coils. But don’t fret, you can just use mono files if you only have one coil on hand. On one side there are inputs that connect to the audio source. The other side drives the Tesla coil, switching it on and off based on the relationship between a reference voltage and the audio signal. As you can hear in the video after the break this sounds great as long as you have the right kind of source audio.

The song played in that clip is the Duke Nukem 3D theme. [Daniel] started with a MIDI file and removed the chimes and drums to make the playback a little cleaner. The demo uses just one coil because the other was destroyed during testing when feedback between the two became a problem.

For some reason this reminds us of that singing Tesla coil hat. If you’re already on our mailing list (sign up in the sidebar) you know we’re getting pretty close to unveiling our own awesome Tesla coil project. It doesn’t sing… yet.

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Home built stun baton turns you into a cop from Demolition Man

home-built-stun-baton

It seems much like a cattle prod, but [Pode Coet] definitely had people in mind when he built this stun baton. It’s not for the faint of heart — especially since a wrong move could stop your ticker cold. But the design and fabrication are top-notch, and he didn’t hold back when it comes to build images and details.

The enclosure is a hunk of PCV pipe with a cap on each end. The business end includes two electrodes separated by a 10mm air gap. The spark has no trouble jumping across that gap, and if you get it close enough to the victim it’ll use their body as a path of least resistance. The butt end of the baton features the charging port which takes 5VDC power and a pair of LEDs for feedback. This power port feeds a charger stored within to top off the Lithium cell which itself only puts out about 3.8V. This potential is fed into a boost circuit to ramp up to 16V before feeding a Royer circuit which jumps it up to 900V. That is connected to the final stage which gets it to the target of 10kV!

You can see and hear a demonstration of the baton in the clip after the break. To bad [Caleb] wasn’t around to take the thing for a proper test drive.

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Mains rated solid state relay test box

building-a-mains-solid-state-relay-test-box

We like our nice, safe, 5V prototyping projects where the only thing that might get fried is a chip. But there are times when you want to switch appliances for one reason or another and then you’re going to want a mains rated relay. [Viktor] got tired of having exposed high voltage on the bench during the prototyping stage of these projects so he recently built a solid state relay test box.

The only thing he bought for the project was the SSR itself. To act as an enclosure he used the brick from an old laptop power supply. This is perfect for a couple of reasons. First off, it’s designed to contain high voltage if there is ever a short or other problem. Second, it’s already setup for incoming and outgoing power. He just needed to remove the guts and mount the relay. Notice that it comes with a clear plastic shield that physically separates the high voltage side from the low voltage control end. This, along with the cable routing, keeps the dangerous stuff on one side to ensure you won’t get an arc to the low voltage portion of the project.

244 9 Volt Batteries in Series – Arcing Ensues!

244-9v-batte…n-series

Here’s another hack that we would definitely discourage you from trying at home, 244 9 volt batteries wired in series. There’s really not much more to it than that, but [jersagfast] takes this setup through its paces arcing through air first, a LED light second, and then a CD. The air arc is probably the most impressive, but a CD doesn’t look happy after this kind of abuse either. Around 4:38, a capacitor is abused for yet more arcing.

In theory, 244 9 volt batteries in series should be nearly 2200 volts, but as measured (in sections), it “only” came out to a “measly” 2000 volts. Still plenty of voltage to be harmful or even deadly depending on the current emitted. Passing on this hack at home is strongly encouraged. On the other hand, you should watch the video after the break to see what happens. Much safer. Arcing starts around 1:44!

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[Staci Elaan]‘s awesome portable tesla coils.

We stumbled onto [Staci's] videos a while ago when we posted this big tesla gun. While it wasn’t the first portable coil we had seen, it was certainly an impressive implementation. In the comments we found [Staci] had already been making these for a while. Hers were big and small, had awesome modulation, and looked freaking cool too.

It also should be pointed out that [Staci] donates her coils to people when she’s done! Let me say that again, she gives them away to groups of people that could use them. That deserves some respect.

Unfortunately, [Staci] didn’t document her builds in great detail at the time. She has added some information recently though.   You can read about her first working prototype from 2006, or a slightly more modern one here.

Of course, the real fun is in seeing them work.

[Read more...]

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