LumberJocks

A little Christmas Wimshurst Machine

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mork posted 12-25-2016 02:30 PM 2362 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a little Wimshurst I made for my brother in law. In case you are not familiar with these machines they are a static electricity generator. Turning the crank makes the acrylic disks spin in opposite directions. The charge is picked up by the collectors and stored in the two capacitors. When the capacitors are fully charged a spark jumps across the terminals. The second picture shows a little ball against the side of one of the capacitors. This is a switch to add or remove the capacitors from the circuit. The bolt holding the switch is a conductor connected to wire under the machine which goes to the outer conductor of the other capacitor. I should also mention the neutralizer bars. They are equipped with a soft conductor material which wipes the sectors on the disk as it spins. This is to short out opposing sectors on each disk.

If you want to know more… google it. This is my 5th machine but I still don’t have a good understanding of what makes them work!

This machine produces a 3/4” spark which was disappointing. Most the machines I have made are larger and all produce a 3.5” to 4” inch spark. This machine has 9-inch disks and my others are 12 and 15 inch.

If this sparks an interest (pun intended) check out the 2 other machines in my projects. If you want to build one I recommend going with a 12 inch or larger disk. Also feel free to contact me if you want more specific information. I’ve learned a few things along the way and I can help you avoid a few problems.

These things are a lot of work to build but also great fun!





15 comments so far

View abie's profile

abie

847 posts in 3434 days


#1 posted 12-25-2016 04:23 PM

WOW..

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115806 posts in 3241 days


#2 posted 12-25-2016 04:38 PM

Crazy cool great build . I never heard of Wimshurst machines before, looks like a super fun project.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Mork's profile

Mork

281 posts in 2438 days


#3 posted 12-25-2016 04:59 PM

Thanks, this one is a better example. They are very cool and a 4-inch spark really get attention.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/123321

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9756 posts in 3716 days


#4 posted 12-25-2016 05:15 PM

SHOCKING! LOL

<big-grin>

Merry Christmas!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5487 posts in 2811 days


#5 posted 12-25-2016 07:10 PM

Man that is a great machine—will definitely spark a lot of interest!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Roger's profile

Roger

20754 posts in 2467 days


#6 posted 12-25-2016 07:22 PM

Wow! Dr. Frankenstein.. lol Very awesome

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5006 posts in 3016 days


#7 posted 12-25-2016 08:53 PM

Great project! Electrifying to say the least!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View Redoak49's profile (online now)

Redoak49

2503 posts in 1652 days


#8 posted 12-25-2016 09:09 PM

Excellent work !

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7674 posts in 1670 days


#9 posted 12-25-2016 11:26 PM

Pretty cool. So if you can convince someone to hold the 2 handles while you crank it, do they get ZAPPPPED?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Mork's profile

Mork

281 posts in 2438 days


#10 posted 12-26-2016 12:38 AM

Ha… the handles are insulated but touching anything metal on the machine will shock you even when it is not in motion. The capacitors will hold a charge for many hours. Of course you can avoid this by touching the two electrode balls together when you get finished. Of course if you mess with these things long enough you will forget. It’s a bit more than a door knob shock but not deadly.

View BobWemm's profile

BobWemm

2166 posts in 1590 days


#11 posted 12-26-2016 10:52 AM

Thanks for the post.
You’ve sparked another interest in me. LOL
Always been fascinated by these machines.

Bob

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

1238 posts in 886 days


#12 posted 12-26-2016 03:17 PM

That build looks museum quality, excellent detail!

More fun than playing “chicken” as a kid with a bunch of friends in a circle and an old lawnmower.

View ekpuz's profile

ekpuz

7 posts in 171 days


#13 posted 01-04-2017 05:39 AM

Very nice! I love these sorts of science gadgets. I’m going to put one of these on my list of things to make.

While it is not necessarily much of a woodworking project, I came across the “Kelvin water dropper” which is another interesting generator of static electricity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin_water_dropper

This one works just generates the high voltages that can produce a spark simply from falling water droplets. Here is a video someone posted showing it work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OuonluJPw8

View Mork's profile

Mork

281 posts in 2438 days


#14 posted 01-05-2017 12:27 AM

ekpuz

That’s an interesting static generator. I’ll have to look into this!

If you want to build one of these things (a Wimshurst Machine) contact me and I’ll give you some pointers. I’ve learned from a few failures. I’ve built 6 of these things and at least to a degree I’ve figured out a few things. What amazes me is how little information there is on Wimshurst machines.

Here’s a machine I made with a 4 inch spark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPVbjn6w_fA

I’m working on Machine number seven – I’m hooked!

View ekpuz's profile

ekpuz

7 posts in 171 days


#15 posted 01-05-2017 12:42 AM

The 4 inch spark is very impressive! And your machines look like they belong in a museum.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com