Wimshurst project #2

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Project by Mork posted 01-26-2015 03:09 AM 6152 views 23 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my second Wimshurst machine. This one is slightly smaller but also has a very unique drive system for the disks. I had a die cutter made to spec for the copper foil segments. The copper foil is a peel and stick tape and it worked very well. At least is dry weather I get up to a 3.5” spark which is pretty good for a machine with a 12 inch disk. My first machine was capable of about 4” but it had 15 inch disks. I’m addicted to these things. They move, they function, make noise and make very cool sparks!

It’s made from riff sawn white oak. The tree was cut from in my neighbor’s yard a few years ago years ago and I had an Amish saw mill cut it into quarter and riff.

Watch it in action here:

18 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 4218 days

#1 posted 01-26-2015 04:36 AM

I had never seen on of these before but what a great project, I bet it was a lot of fun to build

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View mmh's profile


3697 posts in 4937 days

#2 posted 01-26-2015 05:32 AM

Pretty neat! Can you rig it up to start my wood stove?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5267 days

#3 posted 01-26-2015 06:36 AM

I was looking for a Playing Card with a clothes pin holding it in place… for sound effects… :)

Otherwise, quite a very COOL project!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3527 days

#4 posted 01-26-2015 09:32 AM

Great project. Takes me back to physics lessons at school.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4549 days

#5 posted 01-26-2015 11:29 AM

Fun project and very nicely made too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 2610 days

#6 posted 01-26-2015 04:50 PM

Norman: Very cool device!

Joe Lyddon: It has to be a Yogi Berra or Mickey Mantle baseball card, like the ones I ruined on my bike…..

-- Ed

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4081 days

#7 posted 01-26-2015 05:13 PM

That is so nice. Congratulations

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Ivan's profile


16964 posts in 4082 days

#8 posted 01-26-2015 05:25 PM

Probably inspired by genius Tesla – awsome mschine.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Peter Brown's profile

Peter Brown

196 posts in 2892 days

#9 posted 01-26-2015 05:42 PM

This is SO Cool!

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3511 days

#10 posted 01-26-2015 07:29 PM


View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4019 days

#11 posted 01-26-2015 09:59 PM

It’s Alive!! Way cool.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3642 days

#12 posted 01-27-2015 03:49 AM

Tesla was a genius, but the kudos for this baby goes to Wilhelm Holtz and August Toepler, and others who came later with more refinements.

The build on this machine is outstanding. Mork your attention to detail is,,, shocking – ly beautiful.!!!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Mork's profile


307 posts in 3990 days

#13 posted 01-27-2015 12:41 PM

I guess you might call it Steampunk but the mix of brass copper and wood certainly gets attention. Of course the facts that it functions and makes a big spark doesn’t hurt. Oh… and the sparkle of acrylic transmits the reflections of the brass and copper really adds a lot too.

Working with acrylic is fairly easy and woodworking tools do pretty well. Melting can be a problem in some cases but most often sharp tools overcome this. One cool aspect is that you can rough sand, remove a few burrs and then take a propane torch to all the cut edges. It hides all the saw marks and makes the plastic clear in seconds. Gluing is also super easy and quick with Weld On glue.

The brass requires a few different tools but I did use my wood lathe a lot (fitted with a metal lathe chuck) to drill and also smooth all the corners. The gray plastic for the disk hubs is PVC which is very cheap and easy to work with and to my surprise glues well with the same Weld On glue.

If anyone wants to build on of these things contact me and I’ll give you some pointers. I have made a few mistakes I can help you avoid and it’s hard to find much good information on how to make these things.

Thanks for all the compliments!

View Woodknack's profile


13584 posts in 3595 days

#14 posted 01-31-2015 04:38 AM

These are so fun. Great job.

-- Rick M,

View Mork's profile


307 posts in 3990 days

#15 posted 02-03-2015 03:29 AM

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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