At age 16 I was inspired to build a working Tesla coil after watching videos on YouTube. The Tesla coil was invented by Nicola Tesla circa 1891 and is technically called an air cored resonant transformer. Matching the inductive reactance and capacitive reactance of the primary coil and tank capacitor to that of the secondary winding is the key to resonance and getting big sparks. Without the required test equipment back then, I was unable to determine what needed changing in order to optimize it.
While this was not my first DIY project, it was the first one that I documented with a series of photographs. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to demonstrate this to my classmates and visitors at school.
I discovered this extremely simple diagram when conducting research into the basic operation of the aircored resonant transformer AKA the tesla coil, as designed by Nikola Tesla circa 1890’s
The construction consisted of 18mm MDF board, various pvc fittings, a neon sign transformer, copper magnet wire and bunch of jam jar capacitors that utilize the dielectric properties of glass to store a charge.