Experiment 31: Carbon Arc Light

This project was utterly, fantastically awesome!  I was able to harness the crazy power of electricity to create an intensely bright arc light.  Electric arcs are so bright that they can be used in anti-aircraft searchlights and so hot that they can be used to melt tungsten (highest melting point metal).  Mine doesn't do either of those things... yet.

I used an old CNC power supply transformer that steps 120VAC down to 30VAC with a lot more amps.  I hooked up its secondary coil to some carbon rods from carbon-zinc batteries and, using .22 caliber shells as electrode holders, adjusted the rods so that they touched.  The resulting arc was so hot it warmed my hands from 6" away!  Even though the arc itself was only ~2mm long, it was hot enough to melt copper and tin.  It was also about as bright as burning magnesium, so I had to use welding goggles to protect my eyes.  That being said, I had an extreme amount of fun with this little experiment.  Check out the video to experience the awesomeness of raw electricity!