Van de Graaff generator built for a few dollars

2-dollar-van-de-graaff-generator

This Van de Graaf generator was built using mostly parts on hand. The only thing that was purchased for the project was the Christmas ornament shaped M&M candy tin that serves as the collecting sphere. We didn’t include the in-action shot in the banner because it’s so dark. But sure enough, this will generate the visible sparks that make the device famous.

The gist of the device is that it uses rotating belt to generate static electricity. This potential is stored in the metal collecting sphere on top until a path for discharge is provided. They’re an awful lot of fun in middle-school science class as long hair can be made to stand on end if you touch one while your body is insulated from ground. This build uses a long rubber band as the belt. The band is moved by the motor from a DVD drive tray which is housed in the PVC base. An empty prescription pill bottle bridges the gap between the base and the metal sphere.

If this one is too small for you consider moving to a 900,000 Volt version.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Ankle bracelet lets you become Emperor Palpatine

Want to shoot lighting bolts from your hands to punish your enemies? You can (almost) do just that with this static electricity generator hack. Above you can see the charge jumping off of this guy’s knuckle and surging through the LED. But that’s not the only trick you can pull off when wearing just a bit of hardware around your ankle. The video after the break shows sand grains jumping around as a charged hand is waved over them.

The trick is done by powering a negative ion generator from a 9V battery. This can’t be done directly, since the ion generator is looking for an AC power source. But conversion is as easy as scrapping an inverter which is designed to plug into a car cigarette lighter. Everything is shoehorned into a glasses case, which can then be strapped on to your ankle. Why this fascination with the ankle area? One part of the answer is that this provides an easy way to interface the ion generator output with your skin. The other part of the answer is that you need to make sure the system is grounded (but you’re not) and the build includes a ring that goes around your shoe to achieve this.

Check out the demo and full build instructions in the video after the break.

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