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Re: [TCML] need help


I'll leave a more thorough responses to your questions to some of the more knowledgable 
resident member geniuses but to give you a brief rundown:

#1 - It doesn't take a large well-built and tuned Tesla coil to produce 20" discharges.
       A 4" x 16" secondary coil with a topload of approximately the same dimensions
        should handily do the trick, whether SG driven or of the DRSSTC variety.
#2 - How much it cost is somewhat dependant on how advanced your "scrounging" 
       skills are ;^) but I would think that you should be able to construct a spark gap
       driven coil of this magnitude for < $500 w/out much difficulty. The fully electronic 
       DRSSTC may cost a bit more and is also considerably more advanced in
       design than a SG driven coil. I would recommend the plain SG driven coil
       for the beginner coiler. The main costs would be the transformer, capacitor(s),  
       and the wire and/or copper tubing for the primary and secondary coils
#3 - Plexiglas is NOT a good idea, as the heat of the discharges will start to melt 
       and carbon track the plastic surface in a pretty short order. Tempered glass
       would be a better choice - avoid any plastic product for this purpose. Also,
       the sparks can pretty easily penetrate plexiglas.
#4 - Low pressure inert gases do make for interesting colors and effects with
       electrical discharges but obviously require air tight seals. Also, the discharges
       are nearly silent (think neon signs) and don't require near the voltage potential
       to bridge a given gap as opposed to open air. Sealed inert gas chambers for
       the discharges would certainly increase the construction complexity (and cost),
#5 - Wood is a poor insulator for the high voltages and frequencies of typical 
       Tesla coil discharges and will also quickly carbon track and give off copius

Fellow list member Jim Lux, as well as others, can give you a more thorough dis-
sertation on the liability issues of using TCs near other people, but I think the 
bottom line is that it's quite a difficult task to operate them near people while keep-
ing it "OSHA" safe, from a legal liability standpoint. KVA Effects is a professional 
special effects company in Southern California that specializes in Tesla coil/
high voltage effects and Jeff Parisse, their CEO, has voiced the exorbitant 
insurance costs for them to do the Tesla coil effects for hire on this forum.
(And they know what their doing!) I would suggest proposing your TC
idea to the school administration to see if they would even allow it before you
dive too deep into this project, unless you'd like to built a TC for your
own enjoyment.

David Rieben

 From: terry zollner <tzollner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: tesla@xxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2013 8:19 AM
Subject: [TCML] need help
Hello to all,

This is my 1st post at this club!

I'm an avid admirer of tesla coils and the people that make them!

I need some help with a tesla project for a school musical.
I have seen several tesla coils in action and know what they can do and the dangers they produce.

Here is what I'm trying to do
I need to build a tesla coil that can be attached to 42 inch vertical ring that has a 6 inch plate in the center.The discharge would go from the small center plate to the outer ring.
So here are my questions.

question 1 What size tesla would I need to make to get discharges (roughly) 20 inches away?

question 2 Roughly what would be the cost for the construction?

3rd question. If I put plexiglas on both sides of the ring will that contain the discharge?
in other words can plexiglass shield you from the discharges.

4th question. If I do go with the plexiglass and make it air tight what would happen if I put argon gas inside?
Will that make the bolts act differently?

5th question Can those bolts go thru wood?

I've read thru your safety sheet, and believe I can create a safe environment, however that all hinges on what the
static discharges will and will not go thru.
My number one concern is safety of the actors and crew, which is the reason I'm contacting your club.
I've been told this site has the best people with the most knowledge of tesla coils. So I'm relying on your expertise.
So what do you think? Should I find a safer way( video or  lights), or do you think this is possible?
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