Hot Fear Of Lightning Posts

How To: Make A High-Lighter Stun-Gun

The Stun-Gun In this article, I'll show you how to make a small, weaponized highlighter. Before I get into how to built this device, let me warn you. This device is harmful! When used, it can cause burns and/or serious muscle spasms. The voltage is potentially deadly! DO NOT attempt to build this device unless you are experienced with safety, electronics, soldering, and understand circuit schematics.

How to Make Ferrofluid: The Liquid of the Future

What Is Ferrofluid? Ferrofluid is a black, solvent-based liquid, that, in the presence of a magnetic field, becomes strongly magnetized. The fluid is made up of nanomagnetic particles coated with an "anti-stick" or surfactant compound, suspended in a "carrier", commonly an organic solvent. For mechanical applications, it is used in hard drives and speakers as a lubricant. However, it also has been implemented in artwork, as seen in the video below.

Making Electromagnetic Weapons: EMP Generator, Part One

In this series, I'll be exploring electromagnetic weapons, how to build them, their function and application to the future, and the amazing possibilities electromagnetism has to offer. First, the electromagnetic pulse generator, or EMP. You've probably heard of these before, and their devastating effects on electronics. A simple EMP consists of a capacitor, transformer, trigger, and coil of copper wire. This, when triggered, would produce an intense magnetic field for a brief period, similar ...

Master the Power: How to Shock People with Your Fingertips

In this article, I'll be showing you how to make a simple yet effective static electricity generator. Basically, this device allows you to carry a constant static charge on your body and discharge it on anything grounded or of opposite polarity. The electricity generated is around 8-10 kV, at a very low current. The shock is enough to startle your friends, just like a static shock from a trampoline or carpeted room. You'll need a little experience in soldering and circuit design to build the ...

How To: High Voltage Happiness? How to Make a Negative Ion Generator

In this article, I'll show you how to build a simplistic circuit to generate negative ions. Negative ions have been known to contribute to fresher air, happier mood, and general health benefits. However, they also look amazing in the dark (check out the photos below, purple plasma is amazing!). And if all else fails, they make a cool nightlight. If you've ever been around a Tesla coil, cathode ray tube TV or sometimes even on a trampoline, you've probably noticed that smell; the smell of "sta...

How to Make a Jacob's Ladder: Chained Lightning

In this article, I'll show you how to create a simple yet accurate demonstration of the "rising ionized gas" principle. In other words, a transformer, two metal prongs and lots of evil laughter. Remember those large "towers" in the background of Frankenstein movies with a "lightning bolt" rising upwards every few seconds? That's called a Jacob's Ladder; one of the coolest awe-inspiring demonstrations of high voltage. Here's a video of the final product: Materials and Tools

News: Making Sound Sculptures with a Speaker and Cornstarch

Posted below is an interesting video on the effects of low frequency square waveforms on cornstarch. To make, simply mix cornstarch and water, then place on a large speaker hooked up to an amplifier and a signal generator (generating around 20-30 hertz). An old stereo works great, as long as it has an aux-in. There is lots of free signal generating software at arms length, like this one. I found adding a little olive oil into the cornstarch mix makes it easier to handle, and contributes to th...

How To: Build a Wireless Energy Transfer Array to Power Light Bulbs Without Plugging Them In

In this article, I'll show you how to built a Wireless Transfer of Energy Transmitter. Simply put, this device will send electricity to a florescent light bulb and light it up, from up to three feet. The idea originally (at least, prominently) came from Nikola Tesla (read more about this amazing inventor here), who used his Tesla coils to transfer wireless energy to light bulbs in demonstrations (photo below). However, the circuit described in this article consists of a flyback transformer, n...

How To: Generate Electricity From Kinetic Energy

Piezoelectric Energy In this article, I'll show you how to make a small, wallet-sized device that generates electricity from kinetic energy. The concept is simple: Piezoelectricity is the charge that is produced when certain solid materials (commonly ceramic and crystal) in response to mechanical stress. Piezoelectrics have many applications; in speakers, actuators, sensors, even fuses. For more information, click here.

Make Your Own Nitrous Oxide: Hilarious Science

If you've ever had teeth removed/minor surgery, you most likely received some laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. This gas creates a happy, lightened feeling, and causes instant laughter. In this article, I'll show you how to make some. BUT BE CAREFUL!!! DO NOT proceed in this experiment unless you have EXTENSIVE knowledge of chemistry!!! Misuse of this procedure could result in the production of LETHAL GASSES! However, the set-up is quite simple, if done correctly should not lead to any issues. ...

Making Electromagnetic Weapons: The Theory Behind EMP Generators

This is the third part of my electromagnetic pulse series (see Part One and Part Two). By now, I've covered the hardware and general concept of electromagnetic pulse generators, but how exactly do they disable electronics? How can an invisible field of energy have such a catastrophic effect on computers, cell phones, and most any other electronics? I'll be answering all these questions in part three of Making Electromagnetic Weapons.

Master the Power: How to Make Fluorescent Tubes Glow with Your Bare Hands

I'm sure most everyone has some kind of fluorescent light source in their home; those long white tubes that emit a bright white light when turned on, or maybe a few of the CFL power-saver bulbs. These bulbs actually require very little "power" (i.e. a high voltage:almost no current ratio) to emit light. In fact, static electricity is enough to make them flicker. Inside these tubes is a gas, and when electricity flows through that gas, it gets "excited" and produces light.

How To: Protect Your Door with High Voltage

In this article, I'll show you how to create a simple yet effective way of scaring off intruders. Of course, there are methods around this approach, but it's great for office pranks and general fun. The project requires a little background knowledge in electronics and circuitry, like reading schematics and using a soldering iron.

News: Space Painting with a Tesla Coil and One Million Volts of Electricity

Nikola Tesla. He was the man behind some of the greatest inventions of all time, including radio and alternating current. But perhaps his most visually fascinating invention is the Tesla coil. While maintaining a low current, it can produce dangerous high frequencies and voltages that can well exceed 1,000,000 volts, discharging it in the form of electrical arcs very similar to lightning.

How To: Make a Simple Touch-Triggered Transistor Relay

In this article, I'll show you how to make a simple touch-triggered switch. This is very useful for various electronic projects, from a simple bedside light to a flat panel touch keyboard. The circuit can vary in switching power depending on the transistors you use. For example, if you're looking into creating a 120V light that turns on when touched, you'd need two powerful transistors and an isolation relay. However, a simple flashlight that turns on when touched would only take a couple of ...

How to Make Propane Bubbles: Fire You Can Hold

You must ONLY conduct this experiment if you are experienced in using combustibles and understand the risk. Fire is very dangerous and can seriously burn you. Seems harmless at first, but believe me, these are bubbles turned evil. When ignited, the bubbles pop almost instantly, and all the propane is released in a huge fireball.

How To: Make a High-Powered Compressed Air Rocket Gun

In this article, I'll show you how to make a high-powered, long-range, air-powered rocket gun. This launcher is based on a sprinkler valve, a modified propane tank, and a few other components. Though not hard to make, this device is VERY dangerous! The rocket can seriously harm, if not kill any living thing it's shot at. Here's a video of it in action, quite an accurate shot by my friend Chris... Parts

How To: The Hardware Hacker's Introduction to Microcontrollers, Part One: Anatomy of an Arduino

In this article, I'll be explaining the basics of how microcontrollers work, physically and virtually. First off, microcontrollers are no simple thing, so don't be discouraged if you find it mind-boggling! The world of microcontrollers is fascinating, engaging, and an awesome hobby; it never gets boring. I'll be focusing more on I/O and analog based microcontrollers, such as those running Arduino, and using Atmel chips as examples (these are most commonly available, and easy to program).

Understanding Electricity: Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla In my opinion, one of the most neglected inventors of all time. The names Edison and Marconi come to mind as familiar, but Tesla? Most think of a car. Few know that Tesla is responsible for alternating current, florescent lights, radar, remote control, generators that preform efficiently, the spark plug, and many others. The U.S Supreme Court declared in 1943 that Tesla, not Marconi, was the true inventor of the radio.

How To: Use Google Voice to Prank Your Friends on April Fool's Day

In this article, I'll show you how to prank your friends on April Fool's Day with the very popular Google Voice, a computer to land/mobile calling feature. Basically, Google allows you to play whatever you like through the microphone port on your computer, and play it right through to your victim's phone. Whether it's Rick Astley ("Never Gonna Give You Up") or a text-to-speech application, general hilarity always follows.

Lightning on Demand: Building the World's Largest Tesla Coils

Electrical engineer Greg Leyh and company are currently creating a pair of 118-foot Tesla coils! The largest coil built to date is an 18-story tower constructed back in 1903 by Tesla himself, but Leyh has decided to not only recreate the huge coil, but double it in size. The project goes by the name of "Lightning on Demand" and is currently being constructed on an 81-acre plot in the Nevada desert. Once it's finished, the pair of coils will output 10 million volt acres 100 yards long—the size...

How To: Electron Spirographs with a Cathode Ray Tube

In this article, I'll be showing you how to make a cool visual representation of sound using an old cathode ray tube (CRT) television, a stereo, and a sound source. You'll also need a pair of wire cutters, and a few screwdrivers. To properly understand this project, it's a good idea to learn a little bit about how CRT TVs work. Check out this article on how they work.

News: Fiber Laser Scores Aperture Logo in Steel While Playing Portal's "Still Alive" Theme Song

Most of your who visit Fear of Lightning are probably well familiar with laser weaponry, thanks to Christopher's three-part series covering carbon dioxide, flashlamp, and semiconductor lasers. Another type of laser currently being developed as a weapon is the fiber laser, which is compact and efficient, but much weaker than a chemical laser. Fiber lasers are more commonly used in laser cutting and marking, telecommunications, spectroscopy, and of course... music.

How To: Make a Prank Stun-Baton

In this article, I'll show you how to make a portable prank stun-baton. Powered by static electricity, simply charge up the baton, and discharge it for a static surprise. The concept behind this device ties in with Leyden jars, and their tendencies to retain static electricity.

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