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Re: [TCML] Building a medium sized Tesla Coil

Yes. I remember "The Boy Electrician" (1913 and 1948 versions) and that's
where I got the idea about Tesla Coils and related high voltage
experiments. However, I always thought since the book was so old that it
would be difficult as a teen building some of the projects in the book
requiring skills in woodworking, metals, etc. that was more inclined to
being made in a factory or shop setting than at home. Great book though! I
have read it many times growing up.

I found them online for download under public domain:


On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 8:00 PM, mddeming--- via Tesla <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx>

> Hi Tim,
> Welcome to the addiction. For me, it was the 1948 Edition of "The Boy
> Electrician" by Alfred Morgan which I discovered in 1954 (and still have).
> I believe there is no substitute for first trying to make as many
> components yourself as possible for the experience and pride, even if it is
> not the most modern and efficient way to proceed.
> Matt D.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Timothy Gilmore <tdg8934@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: tesla <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Tue, Feb 10, 2015 7:38 pm
> Subject: [TCML] Building a medium sized Tesla Coil
> All - This is my first post:
> When I was 15 (35 years ago) I saw in a magazine (Radio and Electronics?)
> and article about how to build a Tesla Coil. It used sheets of glass and
> aluminum foil for the capacitor and explained the details. I thought this
> was amazing! Initially I was able to locate a Model T Ford spark coil for
> $5 as the HV transformer. I used an old Lionel train set variable voltage
> adjustment (like a variac might be now) transformer used for speed control
> on the train - as AC input into the Model T Ford spark coil. I found some
> wood in my dad's garage for the base and used a PVC pipe and 8 guage
> primary wire and 28 gauge spooled secondary wire I had gotten from a
> friend. I pieced everything together and turned it on and figured out how
> to tap the primary turns (on wooden dowel rods as per the magazine
> instructions). I saw 4-5" sparks and held a florescent tube nearby. I was
> hooked!
> I brought it into school to show my shop teacher. He told me about a city
> wide Industrial Arts show and contest and thought I should re-build my
> tesla coil and have it properly stained and got everything looking really
> sharp looking for the contest. I was able to locate a more powerful neon
> sign transformer of perhaps 15 or 30 mA. We fired it up and tuned it and
> got 9-12" sparks out the single wire of the top of the primary. I did not
> know about toroids/spheres for capacitance back then. I entered the contest
> and won first place for the research and development category.
> From this point forward I read as much as I could about Tesla from the
> library and later bought many books about him and his work. I wrote a term
> paper the following year about Tesla. I don't know what became of my
> original Tesla coils but I have been reading online the last couple of
> months about various tesla coils and modern ones and the latest
> advancements with calculation software.
> I found about about the GFI issue and was lucky to find on eBay a "France"
> neon sign transformer 15kV 60mA used (no indication on the label about GFI
> or UL 2161) for $45 + $58 shipping which is a bargain for some of the
> prices I've seen online at over $300. I ordered plans online for $14 for
> several tesla coil designs and I'm hoping to get 3-4' sparks using the 15kV
> 60mA neon sign transformer. I remember hand winding my secondary coil as a
> kid and I should be able to find a 4" PVC 26 gauge 22" long secondary on
> Ebay. I also bought some HV 15kV connection wire (25') and a primary copper
> tubing frame holder to make it look nice and evenly space the primary turns
> - online. I will not use sheets of glass or make my own HV caps but will
> purchase MMCs and make a bank of them with 10M resistors. I hope to spread
> out the cost over the next few months and have a finished medium sized
> Tesla Coil by late spring. Getting Excited! - Tim
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