Anyone who’s watched an old Frankenstein movie – or almost any old black-and-white sci-fi movie – knows you can’t have a decent science lab without a Jacob’s ladder and its noisy, sparky electric arcs crawling up between two wires.
Since we call ourselves ylab, member Craig felt we had to do something about this and kicked off the project.
Now if you look up how-to sites on the web, you’ll see a lot of recommendations on how to make one using a tube TV fly-back transformer, and maybe a fluorescent light ballast as an power source. But nooooo, not us.
At ylab, we have the benefit of having some … ahem… experienced members. Some retired. They have some amazing knowledge. They have some crazy old stuff in their basements. And sometimes, they bring out that stuff.
Member Craig brought a transformer box that looks like it came from a World War 2 radar station. It kicks off some serious spark.
We took a break the following week after someone said there was a gas smell from the furnace room. As in holy-stuff we’re not coming in until that’s cleared up.
Once we got the all-clear…
Member Gilles of radio restoration fame brought in an electronic ignition thing from an old car. Probably a very old car. Looks like the first generation after points and condensers. That and a PC power supply would do the trick. But it would not be cool enough.
Gilles knows that we have a few jurassic audio oscillators. That’s the thing with the big dial in the background. How many? Enough that we could risk one.
Wire that in, and now the sparks fly with different tones as you turn the giant knob.
We’re officially a real science lab!
Correction from original post: we originally said the big transformer was from Ross. It’s Craig’s. And Craig is not retired.