Greg's Lifter Page


Link to my Homepage.

The lifter page decribes a device that utilizes high voltage (~20 kV) to somehow electrostatically give thrust to a small craft. I've done a bit of research over the net on the subject and I haven't been convinced that anyone knows what's going on yet. One site seemed to make up some new electrostatic properties to justify the flight of their lifter. So at this point, I'm offering no explanation as to what is happening here (which makes it very hard to optimize a design), but it's sure better than a stick in the eye.

A static shot of my lifter

I made several lifters before I got one to work. Since the thrust forces are quite small, the lifter needs to be as light as possible. It is constructed of balsa wood, thin alumminum foil and a thin gauge magnet wire. The schematic of the basic lifter can be seen here. The frame is constructed of balsa wood and the alluminum foil is super-glued to the frame. The top edges of the alluminum foil needs to be folded over the balsa wood frame to minimize corona leakage. The enamel insulation of the thin magnet wire needs to be scraped off on the underside, where you wantt the thrust to be. Be sure not to scrape it off too close to the corners or the balsa wood supports will catch fire! The high voltage is connected to the thin magnet wire at the top and the ground wire is attached to the alluminum foil.

High voltage flyback power supply

This is the high voltage power supply used to power the lifter. It utilizes the single transistor design outlined on my flyback page. If you need parts or the entire high voltage supply, check out the for sale page.

Lifter in action

Here is my lifter with the high voltage on. The craft is secured to the desk with some sewing thread and scotch tape to keep it from flying out the window and terrorizing the local squirrel population.

Last updated: 6/29/02
Copyright 2002, Greg Miller