Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to Make a Leyden Jar and Electrostatic Generator

When the cold weather makes the air so dry, it's impossible to touch stuff in the house without getting a little shock. If you want to take that making a spark thing to the next level, then check out the next issue of Make Magazine (Make 21.) I show to how to create some really big-ass sparks by building a friction based static electricity generator and a Leyden jar.

The longer I worked on this project, the more excited I became with it. It took me a while to figure out how to best fabricate the Leyden jar and electrostatic generator and had to go through several iterations before it worked the way I wanted it to. The jar really holds a charge and it's unbelievable how big a spark that thing makes! If you accidentally discharge it with your hand when you're not expecting it, look out! It's quite a shocking experience.

All the directions are in the upcoming Make. I also made a video that's pretty detailed. See it at:  or click on the thumbnail photo below.

PS Thanks to everybody who wrote me with good wishes concerning my health. I'm going to be fine.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

England's Daily Telegraph's take on Absinthe and Flamethrowers

America's DIY ballistics king Bill Gurstelle shoots from the hip about health and safety

Tom Leonard meets the DIY artillery king at his 'barrage garage'.

The above headline is from today's (Dec 3, 2009) Daily Telegraph, England's largest daily newspaper. There's an in-depth article on Absinthe and Flamethrowers and goes into depth about the importance of reasonable risk taking. The reporter, Tom Leonard, is a terrific writer and the photographer took some very interesting pictures.

I'm honored and humbled to be referred to as " America's DIY Ballistics King"

The article on the Daily Telegraph website is here. I've also made it available on my blog, Absinthe and Flamethrowers.