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Re: [TCML] All of my tesla coil questions (for now)
It takes a certain fascination/obsession with high voltage and making things
with your own hands, among a few other things, to make it worth your while
to attempt to build a coil. You have to look at every so-called "failure" as a
learning experience, and not a reason to quit, because you will have many of
them. It would be easy to spend two grand on building a coil, but if you're
willing to haunt the surplus markets, the junkyards, neon shops, hardware
stores, ham fests, eBay and other out of the way places, you can do it for a
fraction of that. But don't expect to build the perfect TC on the first try.
Start small. Throw together something to use as a learning tool, and work
out your problems on that coil. You'll need a small NST or OBIT transformer, a
fan quenched stationary spark gap, some 12 gauge copper wire for the primary
and a few of the recommended MMC caps. Find a few hundred feet of #24-28
gauge magnet wire for the secondary, wound on some 2" to 3" PVC tubing, and find
something for the top load, like a round copper ball or small aluminum dryer
duct for a toroid. You should be able to come up with all of that for less
than $100, if you ask around.
It's not too hard to build something that works, but getting it to work well
is a matter of bringing all the parts and their placements into balance.
Change any one thing, and likely you'll have to make adjustments to all the
other parts. A small coil is a lot easier, safer and cheaper to experiment with,
and just about everything that you learn from it will apply to a bigger coil.
This can actually be a lot cheaper and less frustrating than trying to build
the perfect coil on the first try. Tesla coils look deceivingly easy to
build since the schematic diagram is so simple, but in the real world there are
countless variables to consider. You'll soon began to get a feel for how these
variables affect performance, and then you'll be ready to build your next
coil. And the next...
In a message dated 6/12/2008 8:44:21 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
You guys are starting to scare me now. It sounds like after I spend
$1000-$2000 building a tesla coil, I'll be left with a nonfunctioning,
dissappointing box that will kill me if I go near it. Please don't get me
wrong, I really do appreciate the responses, but you're making it sort of
difficult to find a plus side to building a coil.
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