$5 Static Electricity Generator
I’ve made several static electricity generators before and they’ve always been a project that draws a lot of interest. They’re quite fun to play with and are capable of some really cool tricks. Besides simply zapping your friends (and yourself) they can make dust particles and sand behave wildly as they are attracted to the static charge. They can also attract streams of water, charge pieces of paper so they can be stuck to the wall, and used for a wide variety of magic tricks. Here is a gfy of a static generator in action: https://gfycat.com/YawningRegularHarlequinbug
The above video demonstrates the process for building this project and a text version will follow in the steps below. This is my 3rd version of a static electricity generator and the least expensive, but also the weakest. My last version which can be seen here provides a much stronger charge, but as a result can be painful to use as the shock is quite intense. The version presented in this instructable provides a charge just about the same strength as a regular static charge you probably remember from running around on carpet in your pajamas.
The USB Ionizer which is the primary component of this project can be found here (this is an affiliate link, admins let me know if this breaks any rules and I’ll be happy to remove it): http://ebay.to/1Tc8IIZ
- USB Ionizer
- Insulated Wire
- Heat Shrink Tube
- Hot Glue
- Flux Core Solder & Soldering Iron
- 1.5v Button Cell Batteries
- Electrical Tape
Step 1: Dissembling the Ionizer
These ionizers come apart hilariously easily. If you were to actually use them as intended I imagine the case would crack open on you within a week. A pair of needle nose pliers easily splits it open to let us get a look at the circuit board. As a side note, I wouldn’t recommend actually plugging one of these into a USB port on a computer. High voltage and PC components really shouldn’t mix.
Looking at the last two images I have of the board you can see I’ve marked it into two sections. The first half nearest the USB port is a circuit that converts the DC current from a USB power supply into AC, which is then fed through a tiny transformer into the second half of the board. The second half contains a chain of 4 consecutive voltage multipliers which require AC to function, but at the end feed high voltage DC into the white output wire.
The circuit is already exactly as needed to output a static charge, but it’ll need to be modified to run on batteries to suit my purposes.