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Electro Static Machine

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Project by Bill Huffman posted 07-15-2014 05:06 AM 1885 views 6 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a fun project I did a few years ago, Its supposed to generate static electricity when you turn the handle, collecting it on the solid brass contacts, then discharging at the end of the rod….....totally does not work, but a really fun build.

-- Im so impressed with what people can do, and I wonder how they do it. Thats what keeps me doing it.





16 comments so far

View stefang's profile

stefang

13530 posts in 2059 days


#1 posted 07-15-2014 10:53 AM

Beautiful and meticulously made Bill. Seeing all your wood and brass work which you do so well reminds me of a project I did not so long after I took up woodworking. It was a failure in almost every respect except that it actually worked (because I willed it to), not that it mattered because like your project it is mainly meant to be seen and perhaps create interesting conversation. Seeing your wonderful quality work made me think this might be something right up your alley. Here it is. I’ve always been ashamed of this project and I have wanted to make a better one, but I haven’t been able to find a brass supplier here, probably because I haven’t tried hard enough. I only posted it because I thought it was interesting from a historical perspective.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Rockbuster's profile

Rockbuster

336 posts in 1333 days


#2 posted 07-15-2014 01:44 PM

Beautiful looking workmanship here, can’t see why it wouldn’t work, it certainly looks like it would. Maybe you need someone like me to get it started, I just walk across the room, and get zapped when i touch the door knob.

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

View yao's profile

yao

58 posts in 195 days


#3 posted 07-15-2014 02:33 PM

This is a work of art, too wonderful!

View Bill Huffman's profile

Bill Huffman

140 posts in 144 days


#4 posted 07-15-2014 03:16 PM

Thank you all for viewing.

Stefang, I saw your link, what a wonderful project. (Everyone should see the link in the first comment on this post from Stefang) I would never think of this as a failure, it is just beautiful.

I like to think of my projects as concepts or scale models for building something else, but that constitutes a completed project for me.

I love the creative process as it allows me to flesh out ideas and do what I love in the shop, which is ultimately solving problems and creating something beautiful to look at. You have done this with your project with great aplomb. Thank you very much for the link and for creating something beautiful and mechanically interesting.

-- Im so impressed with what people can do, and I wonder how they do it. Thats what keeps me doing it.

View Matt's profile

Matt

81 posts in 143 days


#5 posted 07-15-2014 03:32 PM

Well it sure is pretty!

What you need are metal brushes that are grounded and metal brush attahed to your brass rod. There needs to be a circuit which does not appear to be there at least.

Check this out: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_de_Graaff_generator

Van de Graf used an insulating belt to move charge. You are using the wheel. The brushes pick up or donate charge.

-- I do this for fun.

View Bill Huffman's profile

Bill Huffman

140 posts in 144 days


#6 posted 07-15-2014 03:37 PM

Thanks Nes_Matt, I did also see some people who had placed metallic strips on the glass and this seemed to help. The 4 pads on either side are felt and are in contact with the glass and are supposed to generate the electrical current, but as I am a complete knucklehead on basic electrical theory, I just moved on to the next project.

Thanks for the link, it really does have some nice diagrams even I could follow, wish I looked further when I was building it ;-)

-- Im so impressed with what people can do, and I wonder how they do it. Thats what keeps me doing it.

View stefang's profile

stefang

13530 posts in 2059 days


#7 posted 07-15-2014 06:07 PM

Thanks for your way too generous comment Bill. I am still not happy with it, but it is a nice contrast to your work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

641 posts in 1738 days


#8 posted 07-15-2014 06:26 PM

That is beautiful.

Is that a plexiglass disk? If it is, I wonder if you had it pass thru a box of sawdust or some wool would static build up on the disk? Sawdust passing thru PVC pipe will build up a static charge. I wonder if the same would apply here. Just asking ….

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

621 posts in 1505 days


#9 posted 07-15-2014 08:33 PM

Stefang, what you have – nearly – built is actually a Wimshurst machine.

This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zilvl9tS0Og shows you what additions/changes you might have to make to get it to spark.

I hope you do get it to make indoor lightning properly as it seems a waste of so much excellent work to not be able to ‘amuse and amaze your friends’ !!!

-- Don, Somerset UK, http://www.donjohnson24.co.uk

View LeTurbo's profile

LeTurbo

175 posts in 310 days


#10 posted 07-15-2014 09:42 PM

It does work – see, the hairs are standing up on my arm! Lovely job.

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

1697 posts in 1872 days


#11 posted 07-16-2014 12:00 AM

Great looking machine! I too hope you can get it working—would be cool to see it in action!

-- Dean

View Bill Huffman's profile

Bill Huffman

140 posts in 144 days


#12 posted 07-16-2014 12:09 AM

Don Johnson, Great link, I can see know I need to start thinking about a new project!! I did see designs for that type when I was building it, but not the nice video really breaking it down, thanks for sending that.

I also never built the Leyden jars. From what I remember they were a sort of battery that allowed the charge to build, then let it discharge a higher voltage arc, (or is it amperage?)....... See, I really don’t need to be messing with these things!

I do think another build is in order, thanks again.

-- Im so impressed with what people can do, and I wonder how they do it. Thats what keeps me doing it.

View Bill Huffman's profile

Bill Huffman

140 posts in 144 days


#13 posted 07-16-2014 12:18 AM

Tyvekboy; Thanks for your questions. The disk is glass. I found it at Target as a small table-topper. I tried to order a custom cut piece from a local glass outfit, and they wanted 60 bucks or something and it would be a week. I went down and got this that night.

I have seen folks posting plastic, and while that looks like it works, the original design I was looking at was pre plastics and used glass. It also did not have the metallic strips like I saw some had. I think a second build is brewing and some design changes, plus it was a really simple fun build so hard to beat that.

-- Im so impressed with what people can do, and I wonder how they do it. Thats what keeps me doing it.

View Mork's profile

Mork

158 posts in 1500 days


#14 posted 07-16-2014 02:26 AM

My Wimshurst machine works pretty well. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/97900 . It looks like you did a great job. If you decide to build a wimshurst let me know. I learned a few things after building mine.

View boomfiziks's profile

boomfiziks

39 posts in 656 days


#15 posted 07-16-2014 04:07 AM

Beautiful work. For some help to get it working, go to YouTube and search for “RimstarOrg” and also look at this http://youtu.be/v_K9bMGcaug and his series “Thomas Kim”.

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