Good Afternoon, and welcome to Ask a Geek Anything, issue five, the spot in the blogosphere where we’ll attempt to answer all your questions that won’t get us clobbered in Cleveland.
Paul Clithero asks- What is the efficiency ratio of a well-built Tesla Coil?
And the Digital Pythoness answers: Okay Paul, there isn’t near enough information here to answer a question about the efficiency of something as customizable as a Tesla Coil. A lot depends on what you’re making it out of. I have done a bit of research here, and it looks like there is a ton a variation in the materials, which would affect efficiency. So, since I can’t answer your question, I took the liberty of doing a bit of research on your behalf to help you build your spectacular death machine Tesla Coil.
This is a guide to building and operating a Tesla Coil: http://www.teslacoildesign.com/index.html
This is a link to a program that is supposed to do the calculations for building your Tesla Coil for you: http://www.teslamap.com/ I’m sure there are others, but this one has decent reviews and looks easy to use.
This is another guide to designing a Tesla Coil: http://www.laushaus.com/tesla/howtodesign.htm It’s less comprehensive than the first one, but a bit easier to understand for someone who doesn’t have a background in advanced mathematics and electrical engineering.
As a special treat, since Tesla Coils are practically useless beyond special effects and fun projects, I am including a paper written by someone smarter than I am at Berkley (Sean Soleyman) that explores the creation and uses of a solid state Tesla Coil. It’s just really interesting to see how the design has been changed to allow it to be useful for something other than neat light shows. http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-265.pdf
Our next question: Scott Wilson asks- If the universe was created by a Big Bang, who or what provided the explosive material and lit the fuse?
And we have a special guest columnist to answer: the Universal Prognosticator.
The Universal Prognosticator is not of this world, and is shrouded in mystery. Reports suggest it may be an AI, brought to planet Earth to bring about a new Era of silliness and common sense.
“The big bang” only begins the events of the universe we are familiar with. What if that was not the beginning, but merely the end of the last universe?
So, what happens here is only an epilogue to the truly epic universe that took place before this one. The previous universe had an ever increasing set of Wars Over Cool. They kept trying to out cool each other until finally– they decided the only way to go was to end with a bang. So they wired the whole frigging universe to be a big glorious flaming bomb. Because they had to go out with style. Who can blame them? Who doesn’t want to witness the biggest big boom ever conceived? They outcooled even the Mythbusters!
‘Ends with a bang’ is the end game for all cool wars, anyway. Painstaking research by Dr Giggolflotz suggests the materials were provided by the entire membership of our previous universe, peace be upon them. Every element, every object, every bit of mass that their super advanced civilization could find was nanotubed into the biggest bomb ever constructed– and the quantum explosive reversed all the bonds of every molecule sending all matter ever outward. That is, until it slowed and coalesced to begin the whole cycle again. And whatever fragments of that awesome final strike of coolness , drives us to succeed and be cool like those golden age cool kids.
Science still hasn’t answered what those materials are, or how that explosive was created, sad enough to say. But they are still learning and still striving to find the Secret to Ultimate Cool. For it binds us, surrounds us, and ties the universe together.
Finally Dull breadknife asks: how do you sharpen a serrated blade? And as the weapons guy in the crew, I’ll take that one.
Well Dull, (I can call you Dull, right? That’s not, like a trigger or something?) First let’s review how to sharpen normal blades, just for comparison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GSsyvvbqOfI is a good video on it and while you can do a good job with a single stone, his demonstration of technique is very good, and a useful stepping off point for the discussion of serrated blades.
Now the difference between how you sharpen a regular knife and a Serrated blade it two fold. First you need a curved stone. I like ceramics, of which Crock sticks are a good example : http://www.amazon.com/Lansky-4-rod-Crock-Sharpener-LCD5D/dp/B000B8FW0E (note, I am not an employee of Crock stick, nor lansky and I get no cash for this recommendation) here’s a different and simpler model of ceramic:
So once you get the curved stone, take a good look at your knife. Most serrated knives are beveled only on one side, vice both sides. If yours is beveled both sides, then use the ceramic on each valley on both sides, similar to the way you saw the guy sharpen a strait bladed knife, but instead of running the length of the blade treat each valley as its own knife. (following so far? If not ask and I’ll go into more detail.)
Ah but if your knife only has a bevel on one side, you have a slightly different job. You’re going to run the knife down the stone on the beveled side as previously described. Basically you’re trying to shave a very thin bit off the stone. Then once you’ve done all of the valleys with 6 or 8 passes, you’re going to need a very flat stone (ideal for this is a large piece of float glass or a piece of car window) a little oil, and a very fine polishing medium, rouge or finer. Float a little oil and some of the polishing medium on the glass, and polish the side that DOESN’T have a bevel. What you’re doing is taking off that wire edge the gentleman above was talking about. Wire edges are sharp as hell, but they break off about the third pass of cutting, which is why you only create them and use them for one task that I know of. They’re used for a Burnisher in wood working, this is something you use after you sand the piece, to get the very glass smooth finish that is often desired if you’re going for high gloss. But that’s very specialized stuff, Dull, and NOT something you want in the kitchen.
So I hope I explained this well enough, if you don’t want to buy the float glass and polishing medium you can do an acceptable job by passing a very flat fine stone on the non beveled side at a 0 degree angle to the steel…
OK and on to the acronym section of the piece.
Gadiated, and Fadiated are respectively Got away from it all, and Forced away from it all. Now admittedly these aren’t actually acronyms in the strictest sense of the word, but they are old school fan-speak (the fact that they are not acronyms in the sense that not every letter is a word is what always throws me) The difference between the two is whether it was voluntary (I got bored, pissed off, or …) or non voluntary (I got sent to the sandbox, the company moved me…)
BEM, and FemBEM; well, kids, there was a time, back in the dawn of history, when the high priests of political correctness did not roam the land like dinosaurs (my love). A time that thought about the human race FIRST, a time when anything that wanted to destroy the human race was the enemy, and it was ok to call them that, instead of being forced to root for them as the poor miss understood victims of colonial expansion. In those days, an unidentified, aggressive creature was a monster, and became what would now be called a Meme. They became so much a cliché that they became their own acronyms Bug Eyed Monster, and his significant other, the FEMale Bug Eyed Monster. Of course in those days, you were allowed to assume two sexes and normal breeding patterns for every complex animal on earth, without being called a Cismale patriarchal fundamentalist oppressor of all that is holy too, but that’s a story for another day.
So I’ll leave you with the thought that we’re running out of questions… If you all want this column to continue, it relies on having questions to answer… “A QUESTION, We HAVE WAITED FOR A QUESTION…”