How to build a Van der Graaff generator

Again Jorge Rebolledo He surprises us with the quality of one of his projects. In this case you have disassembled your Van der Graaff generator to explain how we can make it.

For those who do not know Van der Graaff generator it is, simplifying a lot, a unit that generates tension or very high potential differences. We are not going to go into detail about the reason for this device, if you want to know a little more about why it works, I recommend operation of a van der graaff.

As usual, we are "a little" less scientific and a little more technological and "practical."

Here are two pictures about the assembly and creation of the generator and one of its most important parts, the sphere.

For a good operation of the generator it is necessary to select a good pair of elements for friction so that many electrons are released. In this case, latex bands have been chosen.


build a van der graaf generator


With this 60 cm Van der Graaff he has achieved 3,8 cm sparks.

The next sheet shows How to create the Van der Graaff generator sphere, which, as Jorge shows, has made them with two cooking ladles, joining the two halves.

make a homemade generator


We hope it has been useful to you.

44 comments on "How to build a Van der Graaff generator"

  1. I would like to know that other materials can be used instead of the latex band or the rubber band and I would also like to know how many revolutions the motor should be. Thanks.

  2. First I got an air compressor from a car and its turbine that serves to ventilate air but you cover those auferos with a pet bottle of the same diameter then you need to have water with high precision but about 200 m of 3/4 diameter polypipe At an angle of 30 degrees more minus for its trick, a sprinkler that they use to irrigate the coca then with the water you make it spin until you get from 8 to 10 volts its current is 6 amps its power 50 watts with two of these you would charge a car battery mobile

  3. It would not be with a van de graff generator, a tesla coil would be more useful, but it is very dangerous, it can destroy nearby objects if you do it wrong.

  4. To generate a one meter long spark you need a potential difference between the electrodes of 100.000V. And I think that's a little dangerous for you

  5. the motor must be 12 volt and the belt can be replaced with any other type of material only if it is sufficiently elastic (: luck

  6. We made a Van de Graaff following the following steps: A 3-inch diameter PVC tube, 1 metal pulley and 1 Teflon pulley, 1 small car air conditioning motor, 1 aluminum can, two copper wire brushes and the band is removed from the tire of a small bicycle. Everything works very well but it does not generate electricity at all, it just turns and nothing else, please, I need help, it is urgent, why is there no electrical spark? What do we need or what are we failing ... Thank you ...

  7. Hello I would like to ask how you got the plastic piece of plumbing I have been looking for all the places I know and I can not find it :(

    Thank you and goodbye

  8. Hi, reading your comment, it probably won't work because the rubber band is black, which means it contains carbon, which is conductive (and therefore drains charges). I recommend changing it for some other material, always trying not to be black.

  9. I think that it does not work anymore, the band should not be black since being black shows that it has carbon which is conductive and causes the whole device to fail

  10. Dear Professor Jorge, thank you very much for your contributions; I run the Discovery Foundation, where we have many projects to carry out in schools, and its Van De Graaff generator has been invaluable to me.

    A sincere hug from Bogotá.

    Josiph Toscano Casadiego

  11. Hi good day! I am the father of a high school boy and he is about to enter a science fair and and we want to make this fabulous generator but I am new to this and I do not know where to get some of the parts that make it up such as the rotor and whether it is a 120V motor. it serves ? I am from Zapopan Jalisco. someone who can or wants to help me. Thanks.

  12. I made my van der graff generator very simple with materials that you can have at home:

    Bottom roller: I made this roller by winding insulating tape or electrical tape to a roller of any material, this does not matter because the roller will have insulating tape completely rolled up.

    top roller: I made this roller with a glass fuse, the kind that are used in electronics or sometimes found in electronic devices.

    the band: I bought two gloves that are commonly used to wash the bathrooms, I would recommend the orange ones because they worked very well for me.

    top and bottom brushes: I made these with thin copper wire, you can find it in PC power supplies.

    the base: use a square piece of board, this can be used as you like.

    motor: use a refrigerator or microwave oven motor, these motors work with a voltage of 120v.

    My Van der Graff generator measures approximately 25 to 30 inches in height, and sparks 2 to 3 cm in length.


    well I am not a professional because I just finished my high school but I really like what is related to electricity and electronics I hope I have helped you….

  13. How can I control the energy to direct it through a charger cable in the direction I want, or easier and without saying as much verbiage as I can turn it into a plug for cell phones or other devices.


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