I pulled out an old transformer that I had been saving for probably 10 years. I don’t even remember where I got it from. According to the tag on it, it has a 110V input but the output is 6200V rated at 82mA. I ran the input through a contactor (basically a beefy relay) so I can turn the thing on and off with a simple button press. I attached the output leads to two 6′ long copper tubes that will act as my electrodes. All of the exposed stuff resides inside of an 8″ diameter acrylic tube. This is both for safety and to keep breezes from affecting the rising hot arc.
Here is the result:
The transformer is rated for 6200V * 82mA = 508W. We’re actually pulling ~80A (off my ammeter scale) at 110V = 8.8kW! The coils of the transformer felt a little warm after just a few cycles. I’m not surprised at all, but it means I need to find a good way of reducing the input current. I’m going to wind my own choke on the input to try and limit the current going in.