Ion blaster

A gun to charge stuff around

Similar projects worth following
The idea is to make a gun-like thing, that emits an intense jet of ionized air. That jet should be able to charge anything it is directed at, up to electrostatic level voltages (tens of kV).

Operation principle:

Ion blaster is a mix of an ion wind blower and Van der Graaff generator. Ion wind blower acts as a brush of Van-der-Graaff generator that deposits charge onto belt, and the air stream is the belt itself.

Some of the charge carried by the jet will end up on surface the jet hits. This will charge the surface.

The fan is required, because ion wind is not strong enough to carry the charge. The ions will be electrostatically attracted back to the source, so the wind must be strong to counter ion drift thrugh the air due to this attraction.

Potential applications:

The main purpose of Ion blaster is amusement. But there may be some interesting applications.

* painting

* ESD testing

* attaching sheets of paper and plastic to walls and other surfaces

* removal of dust and fumes from air

* triggering lightning strikes???

  • Another try, another fail. Serious this time.

    DeepSOIC04/08/2016 at 20:08 0 comments

    So, I made new corona wires (straight, this time). To make corona even more favored, I added a second grounded mesh on the other side.

    It helped with corona. It worked quite good, requiring voltage of 4-6 kV and could sustain a corona current of a little above 1 mA.

    So I've put it onto the blower, and fired it up.

    Results. Disappointed.

    It works, but veery slightly. It can charge me up so that a spark can go from me to ground via a gap of about 1 mm, and the charging is quite slow.

    It cannot make sheets of paper stick to something, either.

    And it is remarkably good at making ozone. It smells crazy.

    Another thing I noticed, is that when I put my hand close to the nozzle, the air feels warm. This is quite strange. I'm pumping about 6W of high voltage in there, and that shouldn't be enough to significantly heat up the intense flow of air.

  • progress

    DeepSOIC03/26/2016 at 18:40 0 comments

    Pieces to be tested:


    FAIL. This corona discharge thing does not work. After I have increased separation from 1 mm to 3 mm, and chopped off half of the corona wires, it kinda started to work. But not good enough.

    Looks like my corona wires are too thick, corrugation may have been a bad idea (effectively makes them even thicker), and the mesh is too coarse (the only one I have).

    Most of the time, it arcs or sparks instead of corona.

  • Progress

    DeepSOIC03/24/2016 at 23:34 0 comments

    Initially I wanted to put an ionizer into the hair dryer. But I ended up using the nice blower module of the dryer, and I designed some simple stack of pieces.

    I am going to put some wire meshes and corona wires onto these rings, then assemble the stack for testing.

    3D printer is a fantastic helper! Without it, the project would have been impossible, I think.

  • magic smoke

    DeepSOIC03/18/2016 at 09:32 0 comments

    Yesterday I bought a brushless motor and a controller. It was fun to play with. But at some point the controller burst into flames. Oops =) looks like I need another controller.

    Note the fuse I had soldered to it. The fuse is intact. "A $3000 Picture Tube Will Will Protect A 10 cent Fuse By Blowing First" (c) Murphy's law

  • hair dryer with ionizer teardown

    DeepSOIC03/16/2016 at 20:01 0 comments

    Bought a new hair dryer. Don't turn it on - take it apaaaart!

    Inside, there is a small high-voltage power supply, with a needle.

    I can't seem to get any high voltage from that power supply.

    The HV thing says:

    input: 180-240V 50/60Hz
    output: negative 3kV dc
    power: 1W

    1W means that at 3kV, I may be able to get 0.3 mA of current at best (unlikely!). That's waaay to tiny, so the supply doesn't look like something useful. I'm curious to know, what's inside, and can I boost its power somehow (e.g. if it's a charge pump, I can get more power by feeding higher frequency).

    EDIT: it works. It was tricky to get a shot of the corona glow - 4s exposure time, very low illumination. Eyes need time to adapt to see this glow.

  • change direction

    DeepSOIC03/16/2016 at 13:50 0 comments

    There is a real-world device that is exactly what I'm trying to build: a hair dryer with ionization. So I change the direction of prototype. I'm buying a new hair dryer, take it apart, insert a powerful ionizer, and off we go!!

  • stuff to build

    DeepSOIC03/15/2016 at 11:57 0 comments

    So, a quick glance at what needs to be made for this project.

    I plan to make the system modular.

    1. a powerful 3d-printed fan-blower (I need to visit RC store to get a good efficient motor for this)

    2. ionizer attachment.

    Next, try it out with stationary high-voltage power supply, that I have already. That will give me the idea if it is worth to continue the project, and the target specs of high voltage for ionizer.

    3. make a compact battery-powered high-voltage supply for ionizer. The main evil plan here is to use backlight inverter module salvaged from an LCD monitor of a laptop.

    4. design and 3d-print the case to enclose the whole unit.

View all 7 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Martin wrote 11/24/2017 at 15:20 point

I know, that some air ionizers are actually used in semiconductor fab clean rooms to dissipate static electricity. I understand that in a way that ions of opposite charge are attracted to charged surfaces and discharge while ions of same polarity are just repelled and do nothing.

But you said, your device charged you up. So where is the difference?

  Are you sure? yes | no

DIGI wrote 03/30/2016 at 01:59 point

isn't this just a glorified hairdrier?

  Are you sure? yes | no

DeepSOIC wrote 03/30/2016 at 09:51 point

it kinda is =) but with almost no air heating. And I wonder, what happens if ion blaster is used on actual hair.

  Are you sure? yes | no

DIGI wrote 03/30/2016 at 01:58 point

this is so bad, it reminds me of the bong weapon from dying light made by the hippy who thought space lizard aliens were invading and turning people into zombies.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Arya wrote 03/19/2016 at 19:44 point

...I want to make it, too. Will see if I'll be able to build it myself =)

  Are you sure? yes | no

DeepSOIC wrote 03/19/2016 at 20:43 point

Then please let me know of how it goes =)

I'm currently very excited building a new #Thiiiiiiiing, after buying a motor and a cell from RC store and seeing, how powerful that tiny motor is.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Arya wrote 03/19/2016 at 20:46 point

I won't really start building it until the second stage of Hackaday Prize, and I'll better hold off before your first version because I cannot into understanding how this stuff works and how it's to be built properly =)

  Are you sure? yes | no

MECHANICUS wrote 03/15/2016 at 06:32 point

Love your ideas, and projects!

  Are you sure? yes | no

DeepSOIC wrote 03/15/2016 at 09:44 point

thanks =)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates