What is a Tesla coil? Well, it is a device for producing electricity. It is actually a certain kind of resonant transformer circuit that is used to produce a high voltage, but low current and alternating current electricity; the kind that you can feel, unlike battery current that is direct current.
A Tesla coil is normally comprised of two or three coupled resonant electricity circuits and can actually transmit electrical current wirelessly; similar to how electric power is transmitted between clouds in the sky. On a stormy night, one sees flashes of lightening. This is nothing but electricity charge being transmitted from one cloud or water vapor formation to another. How to work a Tesla Coil is based on a similar concept.
Tesla coil was invented by an electrical and mechanical engineer called Nikola Tesla, sometime in the year 1891. He was a Serb, with Austrian origin who later in life moved to France, worked there for some time and then settled in the United States of America.
- a step down transformer
- a few sheets of square polystyrenes; a synthetic resin which is a polymer of styrene about 12 by 12 inches in size
- some ten inch square metal plates; these can be copper plates
- aluminum foil or preferably plain aluminum plates
- some metal brackets also known as L brackets
- some metal bolts with caps that are rounded
- a full roll of heavy gauge wire
- a role of enameled wire
- a PVC tube that has a 3 inch diameter and is about twelve inches long
- two-six inch PVC pipes that have a diameter of about one and half inches
- a brass door knob
- a wooden board
- four additional PVC pipes which should be taller than the transformer
- some glue to fix components
- To begin construction of a Tesla coil, first prepare a capacitor by laying down alternate layers of the polystyrene with the metal plates.
- Spark gaps are to be created by using the metal L brackets and fastened by metal bolts onto the wooden board. Place the round end caps onto the metal bolts.
- Get some cylinder form and wrap the naked heavy gauge wire six to seven times around it. This should render at least an eight inch diameter to the cylindrical form. Create four holes in all the four PVC pipes for threading the wire through them to form a primary coil.
- Taking the three inch PVC pipe, wind the enameled wire around it about five hundred times to form a thick coil wound tightly. This is your secondary coil and it should be heavily brushed with varnish and allowed to dry sufficiently.
- Get the two-one and a half inch PVC pipes and wrap about twenty turns of the enameled wire around them. Remember, we are trying to transmit electric current wirelessly and this will act as radio frequency chokes in the system.
- Finally, place the secondary coil within the primary coil and attach both onto the wooden board. Spark gaps are already attached, now fix the radio frequency chokes on top of the board. Place the transformer underneath the board and place the capacitor on top of it. Attach a ground rod from the radio frequency chokes to the primary coil.
Now, your Tesla coil is ready.