Van der Graaff Generators!

Helpful tips on how to make them.

Starting the project, The Dome.

So after preliminary research I started my Van de Graaff Generator. The basic parts that seemed necessary were

  • The Collector (Usually a Metal Dome on Top, people also uses soda cans, or even cooking pots)
  • The Belt (A material like rubber or latex that is hooked on to two pulleys, and is rotated around them)
  • The Pulleys (Two rods of differing materials,  these two materials need to create a static build up with the belt)
  • The Brushes (Metal combs that have pointed ends, they are what carry the charge)
  • The Motor (A motor, that is used to rotate the pulleys, transferring charge via the belt)

After finding that, the most odd and difficult to obtain object seemed like the Collector (I don’t just have metal domes lying around). So I decided it would be the first thing I look for, and I would go from there. I had seen that people have used many different things for collectors, like cans, and even cooking pots! It shouldn’t be a big stress what the collector is, and in my case, I live pretty close to an Ikea, so I bought these metal salad bowls!

If you have browsed around Van  de Graaff Generator guides, these bowls come highly recommended. You can’t buy them online, so I called my store and asked them if they had them and they did! Here are some pictures of them.IMG_0399

If you can’t get a hold of these, really, a soda can works fine. I count myself lucky, but they’re only as good as the generator they sit atop of, so there’s that.

My plan is to somehow create a hole in them, but i first made them into a dome with some electrical tape. What i did here was sketch a circle of the rim of the bowl, so i could then set the other bowl on that sketch. I checked the make sure the two bowls would line up (I had to squash and slightly bend one of them). And even after that i had to get some help to hold the bowls together so I could tape the seam between them.

IMG_0400.

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