RE: Grounding/spark Gaps/Caps

" Hi its Tab,
I have been going over the feasability of actually building components of a
coil in terms of the tools available to me. "

I built my coil with a dremel, jig saw, and cordless drill.  Alan Yang just
finished his coil using similar equipment.  Of course there are little
things like drill bits, taps, squares, etc, but the equipment to build a
coil is not prohibitive.  Does your school have any sort of craft shop?
Have you made friends with your school's machine shop personnel?  Do you
guys have a physics dept?  If so, you should make some contacts over there.
Man, I love universities.  There are so many resources that are laying
around just begging to be put to good use!

"I heard somwhere that a capacitor plate should never touch a dielectric
sheet. This has confused me so could anyone put me in the right direction. "

That's right - you can never let the plates touch any dielectric, even if
it's vacuum or air!  Just kidding (I'm cracking myself up here).  Of course
the plate can touch the dielectric, it has to touch some dielectric or it
wouldn't be a capacitor.

Just make sure that you use cleanroom practices when constructing HV caps
(especially rolled LDPE, not so critical on MMC or bottle caps).  Clean all
surfaces 2X with denatured alcohol.  There can be no sharp edges or even
pointed corners on any of the plates.  Make sure there are no flaws in the

Good luck,

Ross Overstreet
Huntington Beach, CA