Home made cylindrical capacitors

This is quick and easy. All you need is:

  • One bigger tin can
  • One smaller tin – small enough to fit inside the big one without touching the side
  • two short pieces of wire
  • a sandpaper
  • a soldering iron

Wash the cans and make sure they are thoroughly dry. Use sandpaper to rough up  and clean  small patches on the outside ends of both cans. Tin a small spot on the roughed up section with the soldering iron. Solder a short wire to both ends. Use some kind of insulator so that the cans don’t short together – I used two cardboard strips. These have the added benefit of making the capacitor a variable one by pulling the small can out of the larger one (C decreases). My capacitance meter tells me this one is about 36 pf. Hi Pot test say it’s good for about 2 kilovolts. I went higher, it arced over and I smoked part of the cardboard. Small pieces of fiberglass or nylon would make better spacers.

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