Or, “It’s alive, ALIVE!”
Let me introduce you to a small Wimshurst machine that I recently built. To be honest with you, my knowledge about electro-magnetism is extremely limited. It was more the naive fascination with the Wimshurst machine, that looks so much like it is straight out of an H. G. Wells story, which drove me to this project. I wanted to build a small machine with an functional design.
There are uncounted instructions, explanations, examples, & whatever about Wimshurst machines in the aethernet, so there was no need to worry about that. If you are curious & want to know more about electrostatic machines, or are crazy enough to also built one, I can recommend you this page where you find all information you need.
What worried me much more was the first sketch I made. The electricity-lady & some other details where much too catchy to delete, but how to get all this parts? It looked like an insane amount of labor. I tried to bury the sketch in a drawer & forget about it. It did not work. Finally I decided to give it a try with casting, to, at least, be able to produce not only a single machine & resigned myself to my fate. Like expected, it proofed to be an even more insane amount of labor then expected, but in the end the whole construction really worked!
The discs have a diameter of 24 cm; the Leyden jars have a diameter of 4 cm & are 17 cm high. Both are made of acrylic. The frame & bottom is made of beech wood. The figure of the classical woman, the tops & bottoms of the Leyden jars, the handles and decoration of the shafts are made of super hard cast acrylic gypsum. The main wheel for the crank is steel and was made for model steam engines, the other wheels are aluminum and made by my self. The terminal gap can be adjusted by pushing or pulling the insulated handles. This machine produces constant sparks when adjusted to a gap of 6.5 cm length, but is limited at 7.5 cm maximum spacing to produce sparks.