[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.

Here’s one she donated to the Oatmeal in celebration of the Tesla museum.

How about a baby lightning gun?

[Staci] has also been brought on-board to help with a top secret promotional video for hackaday, in a similar vein to the Portal Gun video we did earlier this year. We promise, this one will be a bit more shocking.

45 thoughts on “[Staci Elaan]’s Awesome Portable Tesla Coils.

  1. I’ve never made a Tesla gun. But I did make a really nice floor model. Very well tuned with a Maxwell pulse cap, inductor buffers, air quenched tungsten spark gap. The sparks were easily 2-3 feet in length when it was resonating in free air (as opposed to using a grounding rod). I donated it to the Cal Poly physics department. They were scared of it :D but really appreciated the donation.

  2. Are these capable of creating a strong static charge on things? I need some sort of very small (1″) wide super lint attractive gun of some sort, seem to remember these did something with static electricity…? (I’m a watchmaker, need static gun to pull lint out of clean watch cases, no cloth gets them completely clean)

    1. You could probably use a belt of wool rubbing against plastic of some sort to generate static in a similar fashion to how we generate static wearing wool socks. Hmm… someone else can probably give a better hint. XD

        1. Yes- that was what I was thinking of, except not small enough to fit in a watch case :( If I could build one small enough, would that make the sphere at the top attract dust strongly as I wished?

      1. Interesting find. We cannot use normal brushes on crystals, however- ones from companies like Breitling have coated crystals that are scratched by almost anything. This might have promise, but for this particular use, which is one of the more difficult things in modern watchmaking, I think it might work.

        I wish someone made something just for watchmakers, as normal or even high quality optics cloths don’t do squat. We get rid of all dust, completely. Near clean room standards, without a clean room. It’s a real pain in the ass.

        If I can afford this tiny radioactive brush someday, I will try it.

        1. I was formerly a prisoner of the PPP&C regime – not that I’d ever steal something from an employer, but dumpster diving is a gray area in my book. Once the intern said “I took all those stupid black clips off the fins – so the dumpster got lots of blowers that day :D

    1. Thank you :D – Originally I used a 18VDC ->380VDC push-pull converter, but it was supposed to be a steampunk piece – and I was really struggling to work in anything resembling steampunk without looking too desperate (ie, reaching for copper spraypaint and gluing gears on it) – so a motor/generator was a good compromise.

      1. I’ll happily answer this as honestly as I can…

        Generally stuff from Robert Iannini is shit. How many poor kids try to “Build a Laser, Phasor, and Ion Ray Gun!” only to find out it’s poop and works nowhere near as well as the plans suggest. I got my “ion ray gun” kit and it worked, but no better than a high voltage air ionizer.

        Most of my portable Tesla coils are my own circuits – but that is only because I use what I have in my parts bins, not because I invented them from scratch.

        The history of these MOSFET/IGBT solid state coils is pretty recent, perhaps 10-15 years recent. Richie Burnett, Steve Ward, Jimmy Hynes, Skori, myself, and likely hundreds of others all started making these things as silicon got cheaper and better.

        I think Steve’s coils are the most badass and best looking. Jimmy is often credited with the invention of the DRSSTC – which is awesome. I think Richie Burnett once asked me a question during some correspondence about driving IGBTs beyond their latch-up current in resonant applications – but at the time I was in high school and didn’t really know enough about it. That was sort of the beginning of the DRSSTC era.

        It was Richie’s site that got me interested in AC mains powered MOSFET SSTCs to begin with. I’ve never been much for putting together web pages, but I can say these things are all very EE101 simple. If you can understand basic op-amps, comparators, digital logic, you can design any solid state Tesla controls you want. Any power supply designer could get the RF inverter layout and feedback systems right with their eyes closed. I used to design grid tie inverters so this is all easy stuff… Yawn worthy in fact.

        Where it gets really exciting is the work being done in the area of QCW coils. I’m having all kinds of fun with my QCW rig running it on a 12V marine battery, using Lattice MachXO2 CPLDs (which are practically small FPGAs) to implement digital phase rotators and incorporating voltage sensing of DC link, active, and passive leg outputs.

        It’s fun stuff and it keeps me sane…sort of. I like shooting things too but ammo is expensive.

  3. Ooops! Awaiting moderation? Must be the two URL citations? No thanks…

    I said:
    “Don’t get me wrong… you are a truly amazing woman. You need to check out Tatjana Joëlle van Vark and her amazing projects… at tatjavanvark(dot)nl/projects(dot)html

    Checkout her workshop at craftsmanshipmuseum(dot)com/vanvark(dot)htm (Using CTRL-F on your PC keyboard type workshop and press ENTER)

    Her “working” remake of the German ENIGMA Cipher machine simply baffles me.”

    Please change (dot) to a single period with no spaces…

      1. She is a really amazing woman. You seem to be atypical too. I like the look of your workshop. Can you give me some background on your choice of occupation, education, early hobbies, etc. leading up to your desire to build amazing gadgets? Tatjana is still a mystery and she’s in her 60’s. You appear to be in your late 20’s or early 30’s. You are an enigma to me too. I like it…

        I did meet a woman once who was doing ASW* work for the government and I was awe inspired by her knowledge of everything technical like electronics. You women are like hen’s teeth in the industry. It’s a good thing that there are women like you. It does not need to be a male-dominated occupation. Even women are now becoming submariners in US Navy.

        I like how clean your designs are. Most guys would have a quick and dirty look like this charging station – http://tinyurl.com/b3fnd9j (ugh!) – you know a dude did this thing…

        *ASW – anti submarine warfare

        1. I’m mid 30s. I have a BS in EE, and about 50 graduate credits in physics but never did a thesis, so no MS for me. I didn’t let school get in the way of my learning. If look me up on Linkedin you can find my profile there and see all of where I’ve been. I’ve always built things as long as I can remember. Grew up on a poultry farm – not much else to do. Professionally, I’ve done everything from +/-80kV solid state cyclotron power systems for cancer therapy all the way down to LC tank PLLs for AMD’s HT link interfaces on various ASICs. I didn’t have anything to do with the Xbox360 CPU.

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