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Project Icarus
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Posted by Krux on Saturday November 2, 2013 @ 11:23am
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Every mad scientist, as mandated by international law, is required to have in his possession, at least one Tesla coil. As such I began the project of building a spark gap Tesla coil, which I named Project Icarus. This coil consists of a high voltage transformer consisting of a nine thousand volt neon sign transformer (NST), a Terry filter which protects the NST from RFI and reverse EMF, a primary spark gap with blower fan for quenching, a multiple mini capacitor (MMC) tank circuit, a ten turn primary winding using 3/8 inch copper tubing, a 4 1/n inch diameter secondary coil consisting of 814 windings of 22 gauge copper magnet wire, and a spun aluminum toroid top load. All this in a CNC machined HDPE base, with laser cut acrylic, and machined aluminum and brass.

I've been collecting parts for awhile, with some rough ideas on a design. Since it was going to be my first coil I've built, I wanted to start out with the basics. While eventually I want to build a coil that can play the tune to Super Mario Bros., that adds a lot of complication to design. So my first coil will be a static spark gap style coil run off a neon sign transformer (NST). The secondary will be 4.5" in diameter, and all the remaining decisions are based of this initial parameter.

Initial Design
  • 4.5" secondary coil, using 22AWG magnet wire
  • primary coil, using 3/8" copper tubing
  • NST (Neon Sign Transformer)
  • MMC (Multi-Mini Capacitors) tank capacitor
  • Static spark gap
  • Terry Filter
  • Toroid discharge terminal


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