DIY USB Rechargeable Desktop Lightning Tower

While there are different methods to create high voltage, a voltage multiplier is the best choice. Voltage multipliers are capable of lightning level voltages, in most cases these devices are quite large and expensive. Through this DIY you will be able to build a mini version of that, which can produce 3-inch bolts of lightning. While building this device is fairly easy, taking precautionary measures to ensure your safety is advised.


Arc Lighter 

High voltage diodes 


Prototyping board

Acrylic (2x)

Step 1

The simplicity of voltage multipliers is what makes this DIY even interesting. They have no moving parts and are primarily made of only two items, high voltage diodes and capacitors. They are reasonably robust and can create amazing sparks. The power that will generate these sparks will come from an arc lighter.

The lighter can create about 3 to 5000 volts, these then pass into the voltage multiplier, as the name suggests the voltage multiplier then increases the voltage by a factor that is about 2.8 times the number of stages it passes through, the one that will be created for this project has 8 stages. This allows the 300 volts to increase to 67,000.

Step 2

The arc lighter that will be used for this project is made up of a traditional design. Where the power bottom is as close to the lid as possible. The high voltage diodes should be of diodes that are rated at 15kV 100 milliamps a piece. The capacitor should be of 15kV nanofarad ceramic. The prototype board where you will mount all the components on to. You will then need 2 pieces of quarter inch acrylic, the acrylic should be of the same length and width as the prototype board.  

You will also need a variety of mounting hardware, this includes 4 one-inch nylon spacers, 4 quarter inch nylon spacers, 4 two-inch bolts, 4 angle brackets and 4 half inch bolts.

Step 3

Let's start with the multiplying circuit. Since, this project uses a multiplying circuit that is standard and non-proprietary, therefore, the schematic is universal. You will need to take 8 capacitors and place them vertically on the left side of the board. At the back you will have to bend the leads in one direction, this is done so that when they are soldered it can form a single chain of capacitors.

You will then need 8 more capacitors and place them vertically on the right side of the board, the capacitors on the right side should be symmetrical to the capacitors on the left side of the board. Bend the leads of the right side in the same fashion as the left side. You can now start with the soldering process, except the four leads at the ends, two on each side, you will have to solder the rest of the leads at the back and then cut off all the excess leads.  

Step 4

Once you have finished soldering all the capacitors you can start with the diodes, the diodes will be soldered at the back. You will need to place the diode onto the soldered leads, this should be done in such a way that it should seem as the diode is a bridge connecting the soldered leads of the left and right capacitors, you will need 8 diodes to do this.

You will now need 8 more diodes and diagonally solder them at the back, this will form a zig-zag pattern, with two high voltages input wires and an ultra-high output wire on the top. All these three wires are wrapped around 3 bolts, two at the bottom for the input wire and one at the top for the output wire, this will ensure strong connections.

Step 5

You can now move on to building the support structure. You will need to take out your acrylic sheet and cut it into the same dimension as the prototype board. You will now have to drill holes on all four sides of the prototype board, correspondingly you will need to drill similar holes on the acrylic sheet. You will then need some nylon spacers and two-inch bolts, place the one-inch spacers at the side of the capacitors and the quarter inch spacer at the back with the diodes.

You will then need to attach 4 angled brackets at the bottom of the device. You can use the bottom bolts to attach the brackets.

Cut another piece of the acrylic sheet, you will need to customize it in such a way that it matches the brackets on the device. Then drill some holes onto the acrylic sheet and bolt the bracket to the bottom part of the acrylic sheet.

Step 6

Add a top load at the high voltage output, for this project a copper pipe was used. The physical build for the lightning tower is done, all you now have to do is install a power source. You will have to remove the lighters housing, be careful while doing this, you then have to find the two high voltage wires that generate the arc, spotting this wire is quite easy as they have a pretty thick insulation. You will then need to cut away the top of the lighter and free the ends of the wire from the ceramic holder, you will then need to solder two high voltage wires on the two freed wires, and add a shrinking tube around the solder, this will increase its insulation.

Drills holes into the lid for the wire to pass through.

Step 7

Slide the lighter underneath the device between the brackets and attach the lighter wire to the bottom bolts. The device will be activated when you press the button. You can charge the lighter with an USB cable and do not use it when it is plugged in.

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