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The man behind the world’s largest Tesla coil (the 30,000-watt Electrum) is once again upping the ante on machine-generated lightning. Greg Leyh and his group Lightning On Demand (LOD) have launched a new a project, The Lightning Foundry, that will try to re-create super-long discharge effects normally found only in lightning.

“Somehow lightning can generate huge discharges with only about a fifth of the voltage per foot that lab discharges require,” Leyh explains.  “The part that especially fascinates me is that this mysterious ability kicks in around 200′ in length, which is right at the edge of what we can produce with a practical machine.”

Leyh wants to see if humans can replicate this voltage economy effect, and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the building of two 10-story Tesla Coil towers (obviously superseding his current coil-size world record).  These twin coils will fill an area the size of a football field and be capable of striking electrical arcs at and beyond this critical 200′ length.

Maker Faire Bay Area 2009 and 2010 attendees may remember seeing LOD’s twin coil Lightning Foundry prototypes in action (they are the pair in the video thumbnail).  If you enjoyed that show and can get your head around the scale Leyh is proposing for Lighting Foundry — or if you just want to ensure that you witness the biggest lightning humans have ever made — get in on the ground floor now and reserve your spot at the Lightning Foundry premiere.

Sabrina Merlo

Sabrina is the Maker Faire Program Director. She works on stage content for the flagship fairs (Bay Area & New York), and also runs Maker Faire’s licensing program for locally and independently produced “Mini” Maker Faires. She also co-creates the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in her town, Oakland, CA.


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Comments

  1. Cory Geesaman says:

    If you’re going for power and usable lab tests – you should really go with Tesla’s Wardenclyffe project – not a Tesla coil.  The Wardenclyffe Tower was designed around being able to produce higher powers and to transmit them effectively, whereas a Tesla coil is a fairly static machine with very little ability to be tuned once it is in place.

    1. Anonymous says:

      You are correct, but I think you missed the point.

    2. For the Lightning Foundry, our goal is not to transmit power but rather to generate the highest electric field possible over a 200ft distance, for studying lightning initiation. 

      Tesla’s Wardenclyffe was essentially a 3-coil version of the standard 2-coil scheme used in a Tesla Coil.  The 3-coil Wardenclyffe scheme, which Tesla called a ‘magnifying transmitter,’ is actually considerably more difficult to tune since it involves matching three separate resonant circuits and two coupling parameters.  It’s also considerably more expensive to build to the same power level as a 2-coil design.

      In the Lightning Foundry coil towers, only the secondary coil resonance is fixed.  Both the primary frequency and coupling are adjustable.  -Greg

  2. Les Clay says:

    There goes the neighborhood. Just try to get insurance on that house between ‘em! At least they’ll probably never have to pay for electricity. What? Just for scale? Never mind.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tweakers everywhere are probably out stealing copper right now to support the project.  ; )

    1. rofl….tweakers and crack heads love ther copper….but your not getting it from them unless u got a rock..

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