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Re: [TCML] Safety gap, secondary coil, and coil mounting

Nicholas -
  Probably the best source if information for all your specific questions is to search the Archives of the Tesla Coil Mailing List at www.pupman.com. This Archive contains a vast amount of information (over 15 years worth of data) on every aspect of Tesla coil design, construction, testing, tuning, etc. It's likely that you will obtain more useful information in the dozens or scores of times these topics have been discussed in detail in the past, rather than in the limited number of responses you may receive from a question posed directly to the TCML. By all means post questions to the TCML if you need info on any subject that you don't find adequately covered in the Archives, or if after searching the Archives you have additional questions on any of the data presented there
  Before actually starting construction of any part of your coil, I strongly suggest that you spend a fair amount of time on Richie Burnett's website, which is probably the world's best source of information on every aspect of Tesla coil theory of operation, design. construction, etc.
  A Tesla coil schematic looks deceptively simple: just a few parts, a few coils of wire, and spectacular sparks. Unfortunately, its really quite a bit more complex than it looks, as the primary and secondary circuits must be "tuned" to resonate at the same frequency. If you have an RF signal generator and oscilloscope you can measure the resonant frequency of both circuits and "adjust" them as necessary to obtain resonance. If you do not have test equipment, then you must carefully calculate the physical dimensions of the primary and secondary coils, and carefully construct the coils so they actually resonate at the calculated frequency. In other words, you must complete the design on paper first, and understand the requirements for each part of the Tesla coil system before you actually start assembling anything.
  The #1 problem that first-time Tesla coil builders experience is that they get no output, or very little output, nothing like the spectacular arcs they see on various websites showing well-tuned coils. If your primary and secondary circuits are not "tuned" to resonate at the same frequency, you will get no output. If you haven't calculated the required resonant frequency, and built the primary and secondary so their natural frequencies match, you will be disappointed in the resulting "non-performance".
  There are several very useful Tesla coil design programs available (JAVATC, Wintesla, ScanTesla, etc) that will help you perform all the required calculations, and allow you to create various configurations "on paper" before you actually start construction. Designed correctly and carefully assembled, your coil will work the first time it is powered up. If you don't understand the theory of operation, and the factors that influence resonance, you may end up quite frustrated.
  Herr Zapp 

"Nicholas J. Goble" <ngoble@xxxxxxx> wrote:
  I have a few more questions (certainly not my last) about tesla coil 
building. The project has taken off after obtaining my free NST. It's 
rated at 9KV and 30mA. So far, I've purchased 1000' of 24 awg enamled 
copper wire through eBay and have bought a 4"dia PVC pipe in hopes of 
building a secondary. I'm just waiting for the wire to arrive. In the 
meantime, I bought some supplies from Lowes hardware to build a safety 
gap. I ended up getting 3 brass egg-shaped drawer knobs. I think 
these will work. Here are my questions for you all:

1) How can I determine the spacing for the safety gap?

2) The safety gap goes after the NST but before the spark gap and cap, 

3) Can I wind the secondary by hand? I don't really have a lathe to 
help me with that.

4) Do I have to seal the ends of the PVC pipe used in the secondary?

5) Should I varnish the PVC pipe before and after winding it? If yes, 
then why? How many coats? What type of varnish? 

6) How much room should I leave on the ends of the PVC pipe so I can 
attach the toroid and whatever goes underneath?

7) I see that many coilers have a two level table to keep their coil 
on. Why do you need that? My guess is that the streamers from the 
coil would short out the components unless they're underneath it. Is 
that true?

Thanks again.

Nicholas Goble
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