What makes it tick
Even Mr. Wizard would do a double take at the inside of this beautiful DIY weapon. Flickenger used a combination of electrical components to create a Tesla coil gun capable of emitting 20,000 volts.
"The heart of any spark gap Tesla coil is the high-voltage switch," Flickinger wrote on his blog. "It needs to be able to withstand repeated switching events of many thousands of volts at an instantaneous current of a couple of thousand ampere, generating more than a little bit of heat along the way."
Flickenger created a high-voltage switch (the white cone-shaped component) with assistance from Metrix Create:Space, a public workshop in Seattle. The process required using a 3D powder printer to define a mold of the switch. The mad scientist then used a slip-casting process to create the porcelain housing that houses tungsten welding electrodes.
"Since the housing is made of highly conductive aluminum, electrical connections are made with 40kV high-voltage wire," Flickenger noted.
The gun packs several other components, including six capacitors (942C20P15K-F by Cornell Dubilier) and some bleeder resistors to safely store energy.
May 15, 2012 6:59 AM PDT
Photo by: Rob Flickenger
| Caption by: Christopher MacManus
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