Tesla Coil Auto-Winder

tesla winder

Tesla coils are awesome. But if you’ve ever built one, you know how tedious winding the secondary coil is. So [Krux] decided to build a machine to do it for him.

He’s currently working on his first Tesla coil — code-named Project Icarus — he doesn’t have all the logistics ironed out quite yet, but he’s been slowly collecting the components. What he does know is that he wants to use a 4.5″ secondary coil, using 22AWG magnet wire, meaning that’s a lot of turns! Since he’s also a member of a local hackerspace, he decided to make it a modular machine that can wind different sized coils for different sized projects.

Essentially, he’s built his own CNC lathe to accomplish this, well, missing one axis. There’s the main rotary axis, and a wire-guide that moves along it ensuring the coils are wrapped tightly without gaps. It’s an impressive build and you can tell he’s put a lot of thought into the design — He’s even got a semi-flexible 3D printed motor coupler on the wire-guide axis, to help mitigate quick acceleration! The main rotary axis is also driven by a 3D printed herringbone style gear — similar to the style used on Printrbot extruders. The rest of the build is made of plywood and pegboard — allowing for even larger coils to be wound by shuffling around the components. He’s even got a full featured command console with manual/automatic controls and an LCD giving feedback on the coil being wound!

Stick around after the break to see [Krux] explain the fascinating build, and to see a fun time-lapse of an 814-turn Tesla coil winding!

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“Professor Kill A. Volt” Shocks Pumpkins with his Tesla Coil

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[JJ Dasher] is back again this year, shocking some pumpkins! (Volume warning). We featured [JJ] two years ago for his Halloween candy shocking Tesla coil. He apparently has been busy in his mad scientist laboratory doing some upgrades. This year his coil is producing 5 foot long streaming arcs!

[JJ's] Tesla coil is a uses two microwave oven transformers as a power supply. He also uses an Asynchronous Rotary Spark Gap (ASRG). As the name implies, a rotary spark gap uses a motor to turn a rotor. At certain points in the rotation, the rotor creates a small enough gap that a high voltage spark can jump across, energizing the primary coil. This idea is similar to an automotive ignition system distributor. [Pete] gives a great example of an ASRG in this video. Most ASRG based Tesla coils use the small motor to spin up the spark gap. Varying the speed of the motor creates the characteristic “motor revving” noise heard in the final arcs of the Tesla Coil.

[JJ] made things a bit more interesting by installing a couple of fluorescent bulbs inside a pumpkin near the coil. The coil lights them easily, and they glow even brighter when the pumpkin is struck. Still not satisfied, he also donned his grounded chainmail gloves and drew the arc to himself. We always love seeing people safely taking hits from massive Tesla coils, but this definitely falls under the “don’t try this at home” banner.

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Faceless child’s engineer father builds him a breathtaking ride

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Okay, the kid does have a face, but it looks like Dad blurred it for his protection. The real story here is the killer ride built by his engineer father. It’s far nicer than the cars driven by the Hackaday team, but then again, since it cost more than a BMW 3 series that’s no surprise.

[Lingzi] lives in China and does custom car work for a living. So to take on this project for his son was more of a stretch of the pocketbook than of his skill set. The car features a custom frame with rack and pinion steering, disc brakes, a rear differential, and a reputable suspension system. The body of the vehicle is crafted from carbon fiber. The lights all work and there’s an electric motor and transmission mounted just behind the driver’s seat. Unfortunately there’s no video of this in action (China blocks YouTube). But do take a look at the album above for pictures of the final paint job. There is also a little bit more information to be found in [Lingzi's] Reddit discussion.

Tesla Model S handle dispenses beer; hides when done

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Let’s face it, sometimes you need to take time out from engineering cutting-edge electric vehicles to over-engineer a beer fridge. And to tell you the truth, after seeing what [Matt Brown] managed to pull off we now have a gut-felt yearning for one of our own. He took a beer fridge and added a vanishing dispenser handle from a Tesla Model S.

You might be thinking that this an expensive part, and you’ve be more correct than you realize. It’s not even a stock part. This is a prototype that someone threw in the trash. [Matt] plucked it from oblivion and milled a spot for it in the door of the fridge. Your average [Joe] probably doesn’t know that the Model S comes with handles that pull themselves flush with the body of the vehicle.

[Matt] dug out insulation on the inside of the door until there was room to cut a hole for the handle. The clamped the assembly in place and used spray foam to re-insulate as well as glue it in place. An Arduino monitors the area below the tap. When you put your glass under the spout the handle extends. When you pull on it a solenoid drives the tap handle forward. This sounds pretty dry, but we think the demo after the break will have you lusting after one as well.

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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.

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Maker Faire KC 2011: In Photos (Part 2)

Be sure to check out Part 1 of the KC Maker Faire photo series. In this post, we explore some of the big hitters of the show, including crowd favorites ArcAttack, as well as battling robots. Read on to see the wonders!

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Million volt guitar rocks the house…for science!

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[Bill Porter] and his friend [Dan Flisek] work together to put on a science-related educational stage show called “Science Brothers”, in which the pair try to convince school children that their field of expertise is the cooler science. While the two are competitive on stage, the main goal of the program is to get kids interested in science, no matter what the specialty.

The pair currently finance the project out of pocket, so they are always looking for ways to make things interesting while also keeping costs in check. With that in mind [Bill] came up with an awesome way to show off the Tesla coil he built a while back. His most recent educational creation is a little something he calls “Tesla Hero”.

Since he already had a solid state Tesla coil hanging around, he dug up a PS2 Guitar Hero controller and got busy getting the two acquainted. The guitar connects to the coil via a fiber optic isolator board, playing one of five notes as he strums along. A series of Arduino-driven LED strips adorn the guitar, flashing various colors while he plays, as you can see in the video below.

It’s quite a cool project, and we’re sure that his audience will be impressed!

Stick around to see a video of  Tesla Hero in action, and if you’re interested in learning more about the Science Brothers, be sure to check them out here.

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