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RE: [TCML] All of my tesla coil questions (for now)

Tony - VERY well stated, especially the start-small part.

I fear that the $1000-$2000 figure cited was taken from the main page of my web site http://www.laushaus.com/tesla.  I should probably qualify that with the fact that I'm a perfectionist and my coiling hobby is a journey, not a destination.  My coil is not and never will be "done".  There's always an additional inch of spark to be gained, something to replace that will make it look nicer, some piece of test equipment to be made or purchased that will allow me to gain additional insight into how it works, etc.  There are many components in a Tesla coil that have no undisputed "best way or practice", and the only way to know what would give the best performance it to try them all.  One can certainly build a very functional and satisfying coil for very little money; it just won't win any performance or beauty contests.

Regards, Gary Lau

-----Original Message-----
From: tesla-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tesla-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Sfxneon@xxxxxxx
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 1:47 AM
To: tesla@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: 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...

Tony G

In a message dated 6/12/2008 8:44:21 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
noongoble@xxxxxxxxx writes:

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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