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Re: [TCML] Small tesla coil design

 Hi Dirk SI have been to BM many times have brought some coils  there too. Have seen Dr. Megavolt. I have been building SGTC coils now for about 55 years. just built my first VTTC. will try a SSTC this year ?. But a small coil is cool. My advice is have fun. Stay with a NST, I saw a great coil a friend built. It was less than 8 " tall 3" sec form. I think it was a 9kv@30 NST that drove it with 4 or 5 20kv ceramic caps from a tv. it had a static spark gap. It had a small ball on top. The coils I have now are stuff you can get from home depot now. Example 1.5 diameter plastic pipe schedule 40 for primary cut slots for .250 copper tube. you need a table saw. Hot melt works great for some things. wire size for a small coil 24 or 26 gauge magnet wire. but my coil now that I love is a cone but made from fiber glass it is old. you can make one from a cone from forth of July Fireworks. After you clean & dry & spray it with my fav is from Grainger an insulating red spray for coils. The coil I like uses #16 stranded wire & the primary uses about 5 turns ribbon copper 2.625. I use 4 15kv@30ma NST to run it. Direct burial plastic electrical conduit has thin walls get gray not black or 3 or 4 inch thin wall white. Or bucket coils too have made a few. my coil now has some 30kv .02NF that I came by they were part of a Marx generator. Just have fun but be safe. I was a Maintenance Supervisor electrician programmer retired now.
    On Friday, December 28, 2018, 08:38:07 PM PST, Dirk Schmidhofer <dirk611@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:  
 Greetings TCML'ers!

I can't exactly declare myself a long-timer, but have been lurking the list
for several years.  I haven't built my first TC yet, but am on the verge.
I was wondering if there might be a reliable design I can sort of mass
produce for an art project I'm working on.  I've been making various art
installation contributions to Burning Man for a dozen years now, and I have
the prototype for what I call the Kosmik Kalliope (Kosmik Dust is my
Burning Man theme camp, so please pardon the awful spelling abuse).  The
Kalliope currently is a flame effect piece; please see the prototype 13
second video here:


I have a custom microprocessor that receives MIDI and switches the solenoid
valves accordingly, 12 pipes for the 12 notes of the chromatic scale (it
rolls over and plays regardless of the octave a la MOD 12 calc.).  I've
fashioned a custom igniter so I don't need pilot lights.

I am licensed by the Nevada State Fire Marshal to operate flame effects as
well as a pyrotechnics license and I do commercial stuff but my true love
is to take art to Burning Man. (o:

I've been gathering parts for awhile now (NSTs, MMC and Terry Filter parts,
etc.) and I know it is highly recommended to build a SGTC before tackling
the solid state stuff, but I've also finished building several of Eric
Goodchild's UD2.5 boards I've had laying around for awhile because
sometimes I don't work linearly (o:

My question:  (Sorry for long windedness); I would like to build 12
relatively small Tesla Coils (or 24), and was thinking they might be static
spark gap units that could be displayed either above or alongside my Kosmik
Kalliope pipes and switch them on and off reliably, like I do the flame
effects?  Not looking for massive streamers (6-12"?), but I would like them
noticed by the audience.

Is there an available design out there that might meet my intentions, or is
this just a crazy idea, whereby the things will strike my stuff and blow up
all my other electronics?? (o:  They would of course be on stands far away
from audiences.

I would like to switch them quickly but I'm not interested at this time in
actually doing the MIDI modulation; just turn them on and off, as there's
lots of other music playing already.

I have ten Allanson NSTs (12K 30mA) that are unfortunately GFI and potted,
but perhaps could use them the way a previous TCML contributor used them
with that resistor network he described?

I also have three other NSTs (nonGFI) larger and smaller.

Or perhaps MOT TCs would be the way to go?

Or a simpler solid state design whereby I could power them all off one
large power supply?

I have a modest machine shop with lathe, 2 hp CNC mill and 3D printer so
I'm not afraid of fabricating.

I've toyed with the thought of designing, but as a first-timer, I seem to
get stumped with a chicken or the egg thing as far as where do I start?

Thanks for all your ideas!

Dirk Schmidhofer
Las Vegas, NV
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