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Hello from The Newbie

Original poster: "Chris Watkins" <tesla@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi all!

   Chris here, with my first post. Location: 35 miles west of Atlanta, GA.
I've been scouring websites, reading articles and posts about Tesla Coils,
for a few weeks now. The list kept popping up, so of course I subscribed :-)

I've been in awe of Tesla coils since seeing a demo in school, too many
years ago... but I never considered actually building my own. After seeing
that it doesn't appear to be "rocket science",  I've decided to "Just Do
(With assistance from you who have "been there and done that", hopefully!)

I haven't decided all specs... but my first will surely be a bit on the
small-ish side,
especially compared to some monster coils seen here and elsewhere on the
I'm not greedy, yet!  If it's capable of  ~4-6" sparks, after tweaking and
I'll declare success. Anything more is gravy. I'll set higher goals for my
next coil.
Maybe I'll venture more than $25, to build that next one. This one will be

I'll be scrounging for most items, whenever practical. As a packrat, I
expect to find
enough "junk" laying around to come up with most of the ingredients for the
If I happen to mention a thing you *know* does not work, by all means clue
me in!
If something is "not optimal, but may work", I'd appreciate that knowledge
as well.

OK... For starters, I think I'll wind the secondary. I'm not expecting it to be gorgeous or perfect, but I'll do the best I can. Scrounging around, I'm not finding much in the way of coil forms. The first two possibilities are: A paper towel tube, or a Pringle's chip can. Using partial specs below, which one would you choose... if you were forced to wind a functional Tesla secondary using one or the other?

(Note: I'm not opposed to butting two items together if necessary. ie... on
 thought, I'm guessing 2 Pringle's cans, 6:1 with ~1000 turns might work
 I'd rather use only one item, but will use two if it's felt that one just
won't work)

Pringle's Can (with aluminized liner & steel end cap removed) 2 15/16" Diameter 3:1 Aspect ratio ~500 turns of 26 gauge wire

Paper Towel Tube
1 3/4"  Diameter
6.2:1 Aspect ratio
~625 turns of 26 gauge wire

I'm sure I'll have a couple dozen more questions before the year(week?) is
over :-)
Thanks in advance for any response.