Plasma Ball Plans

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

Plasma Globes were invented by Nikola Tesla some time before 1892. Glass-enclosed Tesla coil terminals containing low-pressure gases were part of his effort to develop a new source of lighting not covered by the Edison patents. The same device became an art object when William Parker, an intern at the Exploratorium museum in SF, redesigned the ol

Plasma Ball Plans
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der "Argon Candle" science exhibit to produce a long plasma streamer. Parker named the device "AM Lightning". His later devices were spherical and contained various gas mixtures producing a wide variety of nonlinear plasma phenomena. Parker exhibited these in Cambridge MA at the MIT Compton Gallery in 1985. First built a tiny Tesla Coil based on a flyback transformer. Flyback units can be had from old TV sets or dead computer monitors. Build your Tesla Coil using one of the following schematics: Your coil needs to be able to generate a spark of about 1. 5cm length. Next, obtain a "decorator" 40 watt 4-inch clear spherical light bulb. Large hardward stores like Ernst or Fred Meyer carry these. Connect the high voltage lead from your mini tesla coil to the base of the light bulb. (It doesn`t matter which light bulb contact you use. ) Turn off the lights and turn on your coil, and you`ll see purple "plasma fingers" spewing out of the filament supports in the light bulb. (In some cases you can improve this by taping some aluminum foil to one side of the bulb. Connect the foil to ground. Even better, you can improve the visual contrast. Just use black spray-paint to coat the foil. ) If you want to get ambitious you can eliminate the light bulb. Instead build your own glass globe. Use a glass jar, or better yet a boiling flask from a mailorder chemistry supplier or a lab glass outfit. Stopper with a 3-hole stopper. Provide two...

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