[jandgse812] shows us how to build a Jacob’s Ladder from mostly household parts. The bulk of the instructions for this project are included in the downloadable document, there is a downloadable video as well. Be sure to follow to the end where he shows us a much safer and possibly better looking revision. The Jacob’s Ladder has become standard fair for any mad scientists laboratory. If you plan on having a workshop suited for world domination, it absolutely must have one of these in it. Be careful though, the high voltage can be deadly.
[Nickademuss] has put together these great instructions on how to build a 900,000 volt Van De Graaff generator. For those unfamiliar, Van De Graaff generators produce massive amounts of static electricity. They are usually the things you see in science centers that make people’s hair stand on end. [Nickademuss] put a lot of effort into this, he created 3D models and diagrams for many of the steps and gave a very detailed step by step breakdown.
Attempting to put our past behind us as quickly as possible, TIME has released what they feel are the best inventions of 2008. While there’s some pretty wishy-washy lab-only stuff on the list, we’re glad to see a lot of cool hardware made the cut. Some of our favorites are: The Tesla roadster proving electric cars can be fun. IBM breaking the petaflop barrier with LANL’s Roadrunner. The Large Hadron Collider for getting everyone scared about physics all over again. Have a look at the list for many other tech highlights from this year.
Here’s one more use for the insanely handy LM555 chips. [Terry] put together a Tesla coil tuner around one. The 555 is used to generate a range of frequencies while a simple double LED arrangement indicates the presence of an output spike from a coil due to the resonance.
The video above is ArcAttack! playing the classic “Popcorn” through their signature Tesla coils. Solid state Tesla coils (SSTC) can generate sound using what [Ed Ward] calls pulse repetition frequency (PRF) modulation. The heat generated by the plasma flame causes rapid expansion of the surrounding air and a resulting soundwave. An SSTC can be operated at just about any frequency, so you just need to build a controller to handle it. The task is made more difficult because very few electronics are stable in such an intense EM field. [Ed] constructed a small Faraday cage for his microcontroller and used optical interconnects to deliver the signals to the Tesla coils.
[Richard] took another shot at his battery powered tesla coils. He sent in his latest hand held plasma gun. He modified his battery powered tesla coil to work as a handheld. He added a large copper pad to the drill handle to couple the RF ground to the human torch holding it.. Sure, we’ve seen plenty of tesla lately, but who here wouldn’t want one? (Maybe the guy in the server room…)
All the parts needed are listed – just be sure you fully understand everything before you get into this one.