How to Build a Faraday Cage

Written by patricia voldberg
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How to Build a Faraday Cage
Saving electronics with Faraday cages (tools image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

An Electronic Magnetic Pulse, EMP is an electromagnetic "shock wave" from a nuclear bomb that damages electrical components in its path. An EMP affects electronics whether on or off. In such an instance of attack, life would change dramatically. Unfortunately, strikes do not give warnings. An EMP is an unseen, silent destroyer that simply leaves its victims with the terrible consequences.

A Faraday cage, attributed to Michael Faraday, a 19th century pioneer of electromagnetic energy, acts as a shield against the effects of electromagnetic energy. Faraday theorised that electromagnetic waves naturally flowed around surfaces of conductive materials, not through them.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 2 8-foot lengths of 2-by-2 boards
  • 8-foot length of 2-by-1 board
  • 12-inch piano hinge
  • 10 foot of 36-inch wide mesh screen
  • Bare copper wire
  • Screws
  • Staples

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Build a frame, 18 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches. Cut the two 2-by-2 boards into four 18-inch lengths and eight 12-inch lengths. This is the box. Cut the single 1-by-2 board into two 18-inch lengths and two 12-inch lengths. This is the lid. Screw the frame together. Place boards into a square. Drill pilot holes for each screw to prevent the wood from splitting.

  2. 2

    Create an entry lid that securely attaches within the wooden frame. Attach the lid onto the frame with a piano hinge. Remember that the surface where the lid and the box meet needs to have 100 per cent contact with each other, without gaps for the electrical current to leak out.

  3. 3

    Attach the mesh with an electric stapler makes this job easier. Keep the staples two inches apart. A Faraday cage does not have to be solid. Metal should not touch the electronics or the EMP will re-radiate the item, destroying the electronic component. Remember the mesh must touch everywhere to provide protection. Do not just staple the mesh to the wooden frame. Metal must touch metal to prevent the pulse from entering.

  4. 4

    Solder a wire to one of the four corners and to a copper-coated 3/8-inch steel rod driven at least 5 feet into the ground. Use a wire size AWG # 4 or thicker bare copper wire. The shorter the ground wire the better with no sharp bends. Sharp bends will cause resistance, lowering the effectiveness of the ground. The finer the strands in the wire the better it will work. It is not advisable to depend on the ground connection in your wall socket. Several thousand volts during an EMP could surge through the connection. These few preparations can make surviving a disaster a little easier.

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