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[TCML] Questions on grounding

Hello. I have built my first coil using standard parts and dimensions and have fired it up and so far I am producing sparks but only about 12" long. I am using a 12KV nst with .0125uf mmf, 13 turns of copper tubing as primary and 20" of #28 magnet wire on a 4" form with aluminum cloths dryer ducting for the toroid 

My questions concerning grounding. I have read alot about discharge spark length but not much regarding how to measure it. Above I said 12" discharge spark length, that was to a key ring held at the end of a boom stick handle. Should the metal object that I am drawing the spark to be grounded? To earth ground? Right now nothing is grounded to earth or electrical ground. The bottom side of the secondary coil is connected to the metal case of the nst. Should the secondary coil and nst be grounded to earth ground?

Lastly, the aluminum toroid is discharging all around its circumference. I know the fewer discharge points on the top load, the bigger the discharge length will be. If I tape the toroid with aluminum tape to produce a smoother surface, will it help?

I have a web page showing photos of my first tesla coil before I recently updated it to copper tubing and new toriod. The web page shows the old primary wire coil and old topload. I will post new pictures of the update soon. 


Thanks for your help.

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