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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.

towerelevation Help Build the World's Largest Tesla Coils

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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