5-Foot Floor Model Solid-State Plasma Arc Jacob's Ladder
Generates a real, impressive, and spectacular amount of flaming plasma.
These can be custom made for museums special displays with many options. All units have automatic shutdown for accidental contact for anti shock protection.
Another Info Unlimited first! We are the only ones who currently make this Jacob's Ladder, which is not a typical Jacob's Ladder -- instead of a thin and wispy spark, this Jacob's Ladder outputs a wide, soft, and quiet plasma flame. It can be left running indefinitely and the noise is barely noticed. Also, a normal Jacob's Ladder uses dangerous transformers which are potentially lethal if the output is touched while running. But this plasma arc Jacob's Ladder is inherently safe -- none of the electronics, the transformer, or the ladder are lethal (they may cause a burn if touched when running, but they are not lethal). These inherent safety features are a marked improvement over a standard Jacob's Ladder.
The spectacular display of a plasma arc, softly dancing as it moves up the metal rails, is sure to fascinate and amaze all those who watch it. A traveling wave of plasma is produced that starts at the base of the ladder electrode elements, rising and widening as it ascends and evaporates into space. The arc can reach a linear width of over 6 inches, but it's curved length can be well over a 8-10 inches. It then repeats and continues traveling up the ladder, evaporating and restarting.
The metal "ladder" itself runs about 6 feet high, with the device having an overall height of about 7 feet. Includes remote pushbutton starting, timer option (variable up to 15 minutes, or turn off timer for continuous operation), and active air cooling making it suitable for 24/7 operation. May be wired for 115 or 220VAC at customer's request. The outer dimensions of the protective tower enclosure are 8" Dia but can be built to a different size if you have special requirements (feel free to send us a drawing if you would like a different design).
The base of the unit is formed from sheet aluminum and houses all the electronics with the controls being on the front panel or in the back. An internal fan supplies a slight over atmosphere pressure at the top of the tower to keep the ladder cool, and also eliminates arc hangup from occuring.
Control options include a standard on/off pushbutton (good for visitors at museums, for example), or with an adjustable timer that can be set to run the Jacob's Ladder anywhere up to 15 minutes after pushed (useful for some presentations), and a unbilical remote switch that can be plugged into the control panel to allow operation from a distance whenever the lecturer desires (good for other types of presentations where the lecturer wants more control over the Jacob's Ladder and also wants to move around the room while talking).
Posted by Robert on 5th Jun 2022
When you open the plans, it immediately tells you that this is an advanced, difficult project. Believe it. This is a "don't suffer any fools" build. My friend and I built the project from scratch, including hand-fabricating the high frequency step-up transformer (toughest part, great learning if you are into high voltage), hand-building the full-bridge converter (second toughest but another great learning experience), and the fairly easy perf-board control circuit. Also understand that you will spend near 1000.00 for the build without a cabinet.
Making the transformer requires some searching for ferrite cores (I recommend the FerroxCube 3C94), and finding the proper plastic tubing to wind and pot the secondaries. We used polycarbonate. it also requires a good vacuum chamber to get all the air out while potting. That works amazingly well and the compound wicks into the windings.
When you finish it and get it running, it REQUIRES maniacal laughter - very impressive. I also suggest you build a small ladder first to get the idea as it is absolutely critical to get the rods bent into their proper shapes for full performance. This arc REQUIRES support of the rods - it is strong enough to push them apart and start them oscillating, messing up the effect and extinguishing the arc early.
There are a couple areas in the plans that aren't 100% clear but overall, great fun. Recommended for serious detail-minded builders who don't mind working through stuff. What I mean is: "For the transformer, how do I get the wire to stay on the secondaries and not turn into a nasty expensive slinky, how do I apply the insulating tape perfectly flat, etc." All require technique building.