Lifter Experiments

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Anti-Gravity? Displacement Currents? Ionic Wind? Electrostatic Forces?

I'm not sure what causes it to fly but fly it does !!!!

(although levitate is a better description of the motion)


A fellow backyard experimenter sent me a URL describing the device. Once I read the web page and saw the pictures I became intrigued and wanted to repeat the experiment myself. 

Building a lifter requires very little in supplies besides a couple pieces of balsa wood, some aluminum foil, small magnet wire, and a source of high voltage DC. Since my HVDC supply was trashed when I had a little accident I needed to come up with another way to get my high voltage. Not wanting to build a new supply I decided to pop open a color monitor, pull the HV lead from the tube and  use it as my power supply. This worked and with the addition of a Variac (auto-transformer), between the monitor and the mains, I achieved a reasonable level of adjustability..

Setup-1jpg.jpg (39600 bytes)


The lifter itself is made from a few basic parts (the paint bottles are being used as insulators for the HV lines and to keep the lifter off the bench)...

Lifter1-1.jpg (47593 bytes) Lifter1-2.jpg (51700 bytes) Lifter1-3.jpg (50270 bytes) Lifter1-4.jpg (52098 bytes)


Applying 15-30kv to it makes it levitate...

First Flight 1.jpg (44510 bytes) First Flight 2.jpg (41340 bytes) First Flight 3.jpg (43383 bytes) First Flight 4.jpg (39045 bytes)

QuickTime moves of it flying (these are large files)

2.9mb QuickTime Movie

7.3mb QuickTime Movie

Download Free QuickTime player


Lifter operation was a bit erratic and very inconsistent. I started thinking that the pulsed DC from the fly-back transformer was part of the problem so I decided to smooth it out by adding a bit of capacitance. Remembering that the tube acted as a capacitor I hooked the HV lead back up to it then on to the lifter (white wire in photo).

Tube PS 1.jpg (58238 bytes)


Experiment #1: I was expecting the lifter to generate ionic wind thus propelling the device upwards. To test this theory I placed small pieces of tissue paper under the craft expecting them to be blown outward as it lifted. To my surprise the pieces of tissue only slightly moved and were were not blown away. Upon closer examination it appeared that the tissue was developing a static charge and clinging to the bench. This was supported further when one piece of tissue stuck to the lifter during flight. I also observed of massive static charges forming around the lifter during and after operation. With this in mind I placed a number of different materials under the craft hoping some wouldn't be less affected by the static charge. With this setup I was able to see the effects of wind coming from the lifter. This raises new questions - Is is this wind being produced enough to actually lift the craft (It doesn't appear to be) and how does one test it.


The other thing I noticed is everything in the vicinity, including me, develops a tremendous static charge (.75" to 1.0" arc to ground from a fingertip).


Web pages where I found out about this device...;TOP8-80;0;1)


Questions and comments                Copyright 1997,2006 Brian D. Basura                This site was last updated 04/02/06