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RE: Rotary gap safety...

Original poster: "by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>" <lod-at-pacbell-dot-net>

Hi Terry,

The bearings weren't the cause of that mishap; rather it was 
a wayward G-10 arc shield, that fell into the rotors at about
3400 RPM.

For the 120L50K coil shown, that SRL show (Seattle, 1990) probably 
qualifies as a "baptism by fire" --  First light was literally 
20 minutes before showtime.  Coarse loaded tuning took place
during the first 15 minutes of the show, and by the end the coil 
managed to strike a few machines that ambled by.  The accident
occurred during the finale, just as everything was exploding, so
it seemed almost appropriate that the coil committed its ritual
'sepiku' with an arc to its own primary circuit.  In my haste I had 
forgotten to securely bolt in the 5 pound arc shield, which dangled 
by a thread between the spinning rotors until the finale, when
the arc struck.  The 1/2" aluminum casing contained the whirling
debris storm nicely though, and many people thought that the gap 
explosion was a 'nice touch' at the end!

A video of the the whole incident is available at:


The Seattle show is on last 20 minutes of the "Pleasures of 
Uninhibited Excess" tape, listed near the bottom of the page.

Several of the other videos also have various bits of footage, 
showing what happens sometimes when a coil interacts with large, 
autonomous radio-controlled machines, filled with microprocessors.


Original poster: "Terry Fritz" <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>

I saw a video once of one of Greg Leyh's big rotary gaps coming apart at 
an SRL show.  The parts breaking away (a bearing got a primary arc and
suddenly welded solid I think) hit that shield like a ton of bricks!!
Heavy steel plate, well bolted down, not only to control parts but to
literally control an "explosion" is needed!  If the rotor comes off, or
worse, cracks away so it suddenly becomes super unbalanced, you will
a monster on your hands really fast!!