Project Whitefire
preliminary edition
Copyright 2015 Brian Fraser
updated 12-4-16  
Project Whitefire had its origins in  the document ElectromagneticTestCells.html  The intent was to build hardware to investigate the gravitational effects of positive monopolar pulsed high voltage power, including interactions with high voltage RF fields, and microwaves as described in that document. A second phase was intended to investigate the gravitational effects of rotating pulsed fields. But the project proved impossible to schedule and was cancelled. Most of the parts and subsystems for the van de Graaff generator were made however, and I am now trying to upload drawings and photos that may be helpful to others who intend to build this machine and do the suggested experiments.  The drawings were made in Microsoft Word (the buggy, cluttered 2013 version-from-hell); they are informal, do not follow any strict conventions, but should be sufficient for machining parts.  They were converted to .pdf with the free on-line service at  or by simply saving them as .pdf directly from MS Word. Drawings have not been double checked for errors and may have some ambiguities or inconsistencies.  ( Feedback is appreciated: )

Initial "shakedown" tests on this VDG (see photos below) showed :

These drawings and photos in the links below may be used nonexclusively by anyone for educational, personal, or non-commercial use.  User assumes all liabilities and responsibilities for his use and acknowledges that these machines are not toys and can be very dangerous and have both known and unknown hazards in their intended use. Author retains right to maintain and update documents, photos, and website.

A summary of the research objectives can be found in Non-contactLevitation.pdf .

Van de Graaff Generator (500,000 volts)
Base+ColumnAssembly/Base+ColumnAssembly.html  (photos)
  Base+Column.pdf  (drawings)
UpperTerminalSection/UpperTerminalConstruction.html  (photos)
    UpperTerminalFramework.pdf  (drawings)
MakingTheBeltRollers.html  (photos)
    RollerDrawings.pdf  (drawings)
LowerBearing&BrushHolder.html  (photos)
    Bearing+Brush_Supports.pdf  (drawings, lower and upper)
Brushes.html ( photos)
Provisional Brush Power Supply  (photos)
SparkSystem.html  (photos)
  SparkSystem.pdf (drawings)
MotorAssembly.html  (photos)
    Custom_motor_shroud.pdf  (drawing)
    Gear_safety_shield.pdf     (drawing)

Accessory Equipment post



See pictures below of the assembled van de Graaff

Photo of the complete prototype Van de Graaff generator (VDG) in front of a garage door.  Visible are the 14" upper terminal, one of two 6" wide belts, a simple control panel, and an electric drill driving automotive breaker points for a prototype 25kV lower brush supply.

The crease in the vinyl belt is due to a "double cone" profile of only 0.5 degrees on the upper roller. The bottom roller has a flat profile.  Belt tracking and adjustment were satisfactory.

Here the double roller system and the two belts can be seen. The bottom rollers are PVC. The gears are barely visible in the back. The lower pulley is driven by an AC/DC "universal" chain saw motor. Violent starts are softened with two NTC thermistors (8 amp;  Honeywell ICL2210008-01)  connected in series with the power line. The accessory equipment post stands upright on the right. At the base, is the housing for the ignition coil.

This setup is very noisy during operation due to the AC/DC chain saw motor and the gears.  An alternative would be to use an AC induction motor with a 2:1 or 3:1 (?) step-up pulley ratio. The gears could be replaced by a figure 8 belt and two pulleys of equal size 

MotorAssembly.html  (photos)
    Custom_motor_shroud.pdf  (drawing)
    Gear_safety_shield.pdf     (drawing)MotorAssembly.html  (photos)
    Custom_motor_shroud.pdf  (drawing)
Gear_safety_shield.pdf     (drawing)

Corona  control rings were later added to the van de Graaff
Another side view shows the gearbox cover.

This machine has no bottom terminal.  It is not intended to produce sparks. The voltage and current produced are sent elsewhere to a test cell where the relation between gravity and high voltage, pulsed, monopolar,  rotating fields can be systematically investigated. See:   ElectromagneticTestCells.html

In actual operation the column is wrapped in layers of plastic food wrap film, and the terminal is covered with a clear plastic trash bag, all to reduce corona. The lower brushes are presently connected to the power line safety ground, instead of the 25kV supply.

The main use of the equipment post is to hold the magnetic spark gap system:

original spark gap system

revised spark gap system

See SparkSystem.html  for details.