So pretty much all of you have probably seen the channel, TheBackyardScientist. Hes a really skilled YouTuber that does all of these crazy science experiments including Defibrillating steak, playing with molten metal, and other crazy stuff. The Defibrillation and capacitors really got me thinking, 'Is it perfectly legal to buy a bunch of capacitors and make my own high voltage toy as long as i know what im doing? I typed "Is it illegal to own a TELSA", and the results came back as trying to convince me to buy a TESLA. I want to know if it is illegal to make my own Telsa Coil and use it, as long as it doesnt do any of the following: Disturb the neighbors, Injure anyone else, Not big and bulky, or turn into a bomb and blow everything in the surrounding area up.

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    In the United States Jun 28, 2021 at 13:13
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    By. “TESLA” do you mean a Tesla coil? It’s certainly not against the law to own a Tesla automobile.
    – Eric S
    Jun 28, 2021 at 15:38
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    Yes, A telsa coil Jun 28, 2021 at 17:15
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    Perhaps you might edit the question to make it clear you are asking about Tesla coils.
    – Eric S
    Jun 28, 2021 at 17:18
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    Including the word "coil" in your web searches, and spelling "Tesla" correctly (it's not "Telsa"), will probably improve your results. Jun 28, 2021 at 17:21

3 Answers 3


The chief legal problem might be (depending on how you build and operate the thing) the amount of Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) that you're causing.

You are not exempt from FCC regulations, but

§ 15.23 Home-built devices. (a) Equipment authorization is not required for devices that are not marketed, are not constructed from a kit, and are built in quantities of five or less for personal use. (b) It is recognized that the individual builder of home-built equipment may not possess the means to perform the measurements for determining compliance with the regulations. In this case, the builder is expected to employ good engineering practices to meet the specified technical standards to the greatest extent practicable. The provisions of §15.5 apply to this equipment.

Since the question assumes "the builder knows what he's doing", we may assume the FCC demand "the builder is expected to employ good engineering practices" is met. But that also would assume that the builder knew about EMI in the first place.


If you live in an apartment or condominium, the lease or condo association agreement may have rules about what you are allowed to plug into electric power outlets. Such contracts might require that anything you plug in be listed by a testing laboratory such as UL or ETL. So consider this if the device you make plugs in.

  • I've learned that a growing number of rental properties like apartment buildings have banned 3D printers due to the fire risk they pose and also due to some 3D plastic filaments creating toxic fumes as they are melted during the printing process. It is a good idea to first check with your apartment management to find out if it is okay to use a 3D printer in your apartment before you go out and buy one.
    – user57467
    Aug 2, 2021 at 12:53
  • @user57467 even if they are covered by the renter's insurance? Or do such policies now exclude damage originating from 3D printers?
    – grovkin
    Aug 2, 2021 at 22:05
  • @grovkin, I'm not sure. I believe that renter's insurance would reimburse you if say your 3D printer was stolen from your apartment, but if it turns out that your 3D printer was the cause of a fire that destroys your apartment and causes damage to other apartments, or the whole apartment building, then I think you are liable for damages and/or you are open to being sued by the apartment owner. I would suggest that you talk directly to your insurance company about 3D printers.
    – user57467
    Aug 3, 2021 at 11:03

It is almost legal, which means there are no laws or statutes prohibiting possession of capacitors or transformers. Whatever you make, even a 12V device, you may be liable for damage you cause, even unintended damage. Theoretically you could be held liable for patent infringement for building your own Tesla, but if they sue you, you may be able to assert that you had permission (hire an attorney before playing with fire). When you start doing things in the workplace, or selling products, then you have safety regulations to deal with, and certain kinds of monkeying with house wiring requires a permit and an inspection, but that doesn't seems to be what you have in mind.

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    I suspect the OP meant a Tesla coil, not a Tesla car.
    – MSalters
    Jun 28, 2021 at 14:32
  • The fact that it is not illegal to own individual components is not, in itself, an indication that it is legal to combine them in any specific manner.
    – grovkin
    Aug 2, 2021 at 22:03

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