As moderator, I couldn't post an "executable" attachment (even if it is 
a zip file).  Many subscribers can't take large or binary files.

Anyway, to the task at hand...

Looking back at my first tesla coil, I believe that the biggest problem 
that I faced was the amount of power input.  I had an 8" diameter coil 
wound with 18 ga. wire on a cardboard form.  I used 18 ga. wire for the 
primary and glass plates and aluminum foil for the capacitor.  I was able 
to get a spark about 8" from the top to ground.  I never saw any 
streamers either.  

The next biggest two problems were the spark gap and capacitor.  The spark
gap was two 1" aluminum balls with about 3/4" between them.  The problem 
with this gap was that it didn't quench very well at all.

The capacitor that I made was very lossy too.  I could see the corona 
around the edges of the plates in all but the brightest light.

Other problems were that I was using a wire gauge for the primary that 
was too small.  Compared to the other problems though, this was minor.

As for toroids, they are nice, but not necessary.  Many a coil has been 
built using a large sphere.  However, these are expensive (sometimes) too,
so you could start out using something "appropriate".  I started out using
wok lids.  They are spun aluminum dishes that I held together with tape.
>From the side they look like () in cross section.  One of the TCBOR guys 
(Alex Tjynsek (spelling is wrong)) uses pots and pans with fine results.

I would suggest making a smallish coil first.  They are cheaper and 
easier to build.  I made my first working coil with 26 ga. wire on a 3" 
form with 750 turns of wire on the secondary and about 12 turns of 4 ga. 
solid grounding wire for the primary.  

There are files on the ftp site that you can down load for information.  
See ftp.funet.fi in /pub/sci/electrical/tesla/misc.  In particular, 
coilbld.zip and caps1.txt.Z.  If you can't get access to a UNIX machine 
or some other machine that handles compressed files (ending in .Z), I 
could help you with putting them in another format.

Richard Hull and TCBOR produces a series of video tapes that I wish I had 
when I was starting.

Hope this helps.


 On Sat, 15 Jun 1996, Tesla List wrote:

> >From ZODAPOP-at-aol-dot-comSat Jun 15 07:58:26 1996
> Date: Sat, 15 Jun 1996 06:14:46 -0400
> From: ZODAPOP-at-aol-dot-com
> To: tesla-at-pupman-dot-com
> Cc: ZODAPOP-at-aol-dot-com
> Subject: BEGINNER
> hi all,
> this file has the coil i am building.
> is it sound ? 
> or do i need to build a better way to fire it?
> or is there a better one to build?
> an what kind of sparks can i expect, if any?
> and will a sparkplug gap go on it?
> an what does it look like?
> or do i need a toroid?
> this is all new to me.
> is  there a video,  an can i get one?
>  i have been an electrican for 14 years
>  and a maintaince electrican  for 6 of them
> at a major makeup plant.
> i  can  build almost anything. 
> an for what i dont know
>  i have a good support team at work,  
>  electronics boys   /  mach  shop/    an engineers.
> but many have never heard of a TC much less how it works
> what i dont know is anything about  electronics.   
> you are over my head
> i know the parts
> but not what you are doing with them or why
> maybe i need to go back  to school.
> has anyone the time or enegy to help me.
>                      JAMES DARREN ZODA HALEY
>                              I.B.E.W.  295
>   [Part 2, Attached file "TESLABLD.EXE"  78KB]
>   [Unable to print this part]