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Re: [TCML] Building a medium sized Tesla Coil

Thanks Gary. Although I like your thinking about winding your own secondary
coil for pride reasons, I just don't have the tools and setup for that
where I live (for a jig) and time so I will find one online that meets the
requirements for my neon sign transformer. Thanks to you and this great
resource for Tesla coil builders and enthusiasts!


On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 7:07 PM, Gary Lau <glau1024@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hi Tim,
> Ahh, these must be heady times for you!  I remember being in your shoes and
> seeing everything through Tesla glasses - everything looks like it could be
> used in some manner in the construction of a TC!
> I would recommend relying less on purchased plans and more on the
> collective wisdom of this forum - we're only too eager to answer questions
> and review plans, especially to someone who has done their homework as you
> clearly have.  And unless you're really crunched for time or are truly all
> thumbs, you should consider winding your own secondary - it's really a
> point of pride.  I put up a web site that addresses the basic how do you
> start the design question - see
> http://www.laushaus.com/tesla/howtodesign.htm
> Good catch on the 15/60 - just resist the temptation to open up the spark
> gap too far, and do study the numerous cautions throughout my web site
> about spark gap width and protection networks.  Many a newbie has lost a
> treasured NST to spark gap recklessness.
> Regards, Gary Lau
> On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 9:11 AM, Timothy Gilmore <tdg8934@xxxxxxxxx>
> wrote:
> > 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
> > 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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> > Tesla@xxxxxxxxxx
> > http://www.pupman.com/mailman/listinfo/tesla
> >
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