Lichtenberg Burn-Fractals

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Project by H_Stevens posted 12-08-2019 10:23 AM 792 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project involves a “Lichtenberg Burn”. This produces a completely random fractal burn pattern in the work piece. It has been around a long time.

To do this you have to pass high voltage thru a moistened piece of wood. See the picture of my set up. I used a 15,000 volt, 30 milliamp Neon sign transformer. THIS IS DANGEROUS. Be very careful if you do it. You will see I put the work piece on a rubber mat. I used welding machine stingers to hold the electrodes. I also wear heavy Lineman’s rubber gloves when I do it. And, I never to it alone.

People have done this with Microwave oven transformers. DO NOT DO THAT. They can kill you. A neon sign transformer is much safer, relatively speaking.

If you want to try this contact me and I will send you more pictures of the set up. You cannot be to safe when doing this. It is DANGEROUS. 30 milliamps may not sound like a lot of current but it can most certainly hurt you and in the right circumstances kill you. BE CAREFUL.

The piece will be coated with food safe epoxy and used as a cutting board.

Hamp Stevens.

-- Hamp, St. Simons Island, GA

6 comments so far

View splintergroup's profile


5108 posts in 2302 days

#1 posted 12-08-2019 03:15 PM

Looks like a nice setup/work area. I like that you have the large power cutoff in an accessible location.

View H_Stevens's profile


33 posts in 1124 days

#2 posted 12-08-2019 03:19 PM

I tied to be as safe as possible.

-- Hamp, St. Simons Island, GA

View ralbuck's profile


6744 posts in 3346 days

#3 posted 12-08-2019 06:20 PM

Nice work.

It has always intrigued me—I stay scared enough of electricity [past about 12 volts) to be extra careful.

Great setup.

I have always wanted to try that; but, am to chicken to try to make a setup and way to econimicalyl deprived to buy one!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View SawTooth1953's profile


349 posts in 4386 days

#4 posted 12-09-2019 07:41 AM

What do you use to wet the wood? What is the process for wetting the wood?

To what grit do you pre-sand the wood?

(I have neon sign transformer, too. I haven’t been getting consistent results, so I’m looking for tips to follow.)

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View H_Stevens's profile


33 posts in 1124 days

#5 posted 12-09-2019 10:14 AM

I moisten the wood with a solution of baking soda and water. About a tablespoon of baking soda in a qt of water. Put a very light coat on with a foam brush.

I pre-sand the wood with 120 grit paper.


-- Hamp, St. Simons Island, GA

View Andybb's profile


3271 posts in 1683 days

#6 posted 12-10-2019 08:48 AM

Nice, and you even lived to tell us about it!

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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