Ionocraft Aka Lifters

It’s hard to believe that in five years we haven’t covered lifters before. This realization was sparked when [Tyler] tipped us off about a lifter project demonstrated at the Kansas City hackerspace called CCCKC.

Lifters, the casual name for ionocraft, fly without combustion or moving parts. We’re not going to tackle the particulars of what makes flight possible, but high voltage is required to feed the phenomenon that provides the lift. One of the first comments when we asked what to do with old CRT monitors was to use them for lifters. The flyback transformer puts out plenty of voltage if you can tap into it without killing yourself (no, seriously, that’s an issue).

This is the method that the CCCKC folks used. Take a peek at the video after the break. If you’re thirsting for more fun with lifters, stop by the Lifter Project.


40 thoughts on “Ionocraft Aka Lifters

  1. Ah, i’ve build one of these, also used a monitor. It was my final highschool project.(profielwerkstuk voor de nederlanders hier :P)

    I constructed it out of drinking straws instead of balsa wood, to make it even lighter.

  2. Ion Thrust is nothing new as for Mythbusters , thats psuedo science for rtards , my cheesy left toe takes a more scientific approach to questions ; lol

    Wouldn’t recommend hooking straight onto the EHT of a CRT to achieve this as its akin to russian roulette, you can get a really nasty (and certainly lethal if sustained) belt like this.
    I do like the safety precautions ;lol
    Sit huddled on a chair with METAL legs ,, sweet.

    Better off using a proper low current HV supply or a large diode ladder if that is beyond available mats or knowledge.

    Don’t try this one at home with a monitor HT unless you know what your doing and have a great respect for high voltages.

  3. I was there last Thursday for the initial setup. I know how to safely handle a CRT, and taught the guys in the hackerspace how to properly disarm the HV before touching things. Thursday, we couldn’t get it off the ground because something was arcing. Saturday night, Mike posted the link to the videos to our mailing list, then it was posted to the CCCKC blog.

    The reason the flight seems so erratic? It was fighting against a tether, so that the HV wires weren’t going to touch or get too close, nor would the flyer runaway and shock the shit out of someone.

  4. Some safety then :D Still would avoid a CRT HT and certainly worth mentioning the risks to those who don’t know to respect high voltage.

    Average run of the mill home-brew hacker is used to harmless LV circuits, taking a step (especially this one) into the unknown of HV is a great way to earn a Darwin award if you aren’t in the know :)

    I am used to HV and have seen my share of incidents.

    We would find a scorched corpse from time to time on our outdoor HV subs (66,000V no limit on current)as Gypsies would try to cut out sections of copper bussbar with hacksaws to weigh in as scrap, never a pretty sight. Happened so often infact we swapped out the copper for cheaper aluminium in the end.

    Ok a CRT HT isn’t likley to turn your body to a pork crackling but can happily kill ya all the same (just easier to identify).

    A friendly word of warning to anyone who wants to attempt this and doesn’t have experience… Ya cant see it , ya can’t smell it so take care :) Disrespect it and your worm fodder.

  5. Maybe I could update the CCCKC blog post to mention reverence for HV… but if all the warnings on the back of the CRT won’t dissuade the noobs, I doubt that a mention of danger in passing would help much.

  6. Made one myself. When I was very sick and very bored. Used an over voltaged ion generator module I had left over from a pikashoe( ) project years ago. Took me less than half an hour to get a decent setup out of stuff around the house. Would take far less time if you don’t have bronchitis. Its really fun testing out different layouts to get the maximum thrust. I tested it out by seeing how quickly and how far away it could blow out a candle.

    Seriously check out afrotechmods if you never went when he was still active. Serious fun to be had and you wont feel bad about your own ghetto hacks anymore.

  7. By the way, I got quite abit of attention at the time for messing with my pikashoes at parties. Tell some drunk girl to rub her hands together real hard and if they do it enough it will generate static electricity. They were amazed at how powerful it was and how it only worked with me. Tee hee…

  8. As far as I know, Italian people at ASPS ( – warning, slow load) were experimenting non-newtonian propulsion since early ’70s, including ionic lift.

    ASPS (Association for Developing Space Propulsion systems) even demonstrated a few hundreds grams to a few kilograms payloads lift to officials of the Italian Army (Esercito Italiano), using a much smaller “aircraft”, but the I.A. officially declared to have no interest in it.

  9. lol ax0n thats what i was going to say, that thing flying out of control. hitting you in the face, shocking the shit out of you, and then you’re dead.

    also, if this emits ozone, and you are using aluminum foil, i would much rather do it in the garage than inside my house. not because of the ozone, but for the same reason i light my thermite outside. Al2O3. i think thats the formula for aluminum oxide anyways..

  10. Ok,… not to sound like a jerk, but,…

    Do these people read before they post? 5 people in the first 10 comments or so ALL POSTED about it being on mythbusters,… dont you think thats a bit redundant?

    and then theres the guy down the chain a way with the “did anyone mention this was on mythbusters” comment. Seriously. You guys dont R E A D the posts before you throw up word vomit on this otherwise wonderful site?

  11. Many posters have had VERY good comments that are a credit to all Hackerdom.

    A few have been examples of how *not* to post in a forum.

    If you are uncertain of which category your post will end up being seen as? Think very carefully of how your post will make all Hackerdom look!

    Lead By Example.

    Will you be a good one or a bad one?

    Building a prototype and making it FLY is the essence of Hacking itself. Replicating a concept but using whatever materials etc you have on hand is also true Hacking. Kudos to my friends in CCCKC who took a Hackerspace from flying muffin fan&paper plate hovercraft to flying Ioncraft in literally less than a year!

    When and if you can Fly something not bought shrinkwrapped-post about it with videos like this thread started with. Or at least keep your comments to non-detracting ones. Were we to see the same level of energy applied upon crap comments applied to flights, I suspect we’d be a spacegoing species before this year’s end. That last one being constructive/instructive use of sarcastic exasperation. AkA- mindhacking:)

    You can be a good example, or a horrible warning by what you all do next.

  12. would it still be human or would it be C-LUFO

    (Corpse-Like Unidentified Flying Object)

    JK, I know it wouldn’t. Hopefully.

    and wasn’t this on Mythbusters?

    S illy
    A nimals
    R epeat
    C learly
    A…. obvious
    S illy
    M essages

  13. lol. yeah i am not sure about the flyback in tvs. i know there is something in a tv that can kill you. probably just a big capacitor. i broke a plasma globe and disassembled it, continued to play with until it was just a bare flyback transformer with a bare red wire. you could feel it in your head, and it was good for burning things, but i cant recall whether or not i touched that 20khz hotwire. i want another. especially for times when i cant find a lighter, or have no fluid. except i cant imagine me sticking it so close to my face. maybe if i had a really long pipe, with a metal bowl, i would stick the wire down in the center of the plant matter, and inhale, letting the spark SPARK IT UP

  14. somebody post plans to build a flyback transformer. i want to scale it up and put it in my silver surfboard, paint myself silver, and surf around on an extension cord all electrified.

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