Ion Propulsion for Star Trek's Enterprise model

As a result of some ion propulsion work I'd done I got the idea to add ion propulsion to a small model of Star Trek's Enterprise and see if I could propel in around on a rotor. The photos below shows the result.

Enterprise model being propelled with ion propulsion.
Star Trek Enterprise model being propelled with ion propulsion
      as an ionocraft.
Rear view.
Star Trek Enterprise model being propelled with ion propulsion
      as an ionocraft, rear view.
The setup.
The setup for propelling the Star Trek Enterprise model with ion 
      propulsion as an ionocraft.

How it's made

I first cut holes in the front and back of the nacelles.

Holes in top/front.
Holes in top/front of Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.
Holes in bottom/front.
Holes in bottom/front of Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.
Chopped off back.
Chopped off back of Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.

I then made a T-shape out of stranded wire and stripped and spread the strands out on the ends of the T to give me multiple sharp points. I put this in the front of the nacelles.

T-shaped wire.
T-shaped wire for Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.
Sharp ended strands.
Sharp ended strands for Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.
Putting in front of nacelle.
Putting in front of Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.

Next, I cut a short piece of aluminum foil and rolled it up. I then placed that in the middle of another piece and folded that over, giving me a piece with one side rounded. I then rolled it around a dowel making a cylinder with the rounded side at one end. I inserted one of those into the back of each nacelle with the rounded end facing inward and connected a wire to them.

Rolling up a piece.
Rolling up a piece of aluminum foil for the Enterprise nacelles 
      for ion propulsion.
Folding into a 2nd piece.
Folding the 1st piece of foil into a 2nd piece for the
      Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.
Making cylinder a using dowel.
Making an aluminum foil cylinder a using dowel for the 
      Enterprise nacelles for ion propulsion.
The finished cylinder.
The finished cylinder for the Enterprise nacelles for ion 
      propulsion.
Inserting into a nacelle.
Inserting into an aluminum foil cylinder into a nacelle 
      for ion propulsion.
All wired up.
The Enterprise nacelles all wired up for ion propulsion.

I next hung it from one end of the rotor for my PVC test rig. I connected it to my high voltage power supply.

Enterprise hanging from the rotor.
Star Trek Enterprise hanging from the rotor to demonstrate ion
      propulsion.
The test setup.
The test setup for demonstating the Enterprise being propelled
      by ion wind.

As I gradually increased the voltage, the Enterprise pulled the rotor around. It didn't go super fast given its weight and the weight of the counterweight on the other side of the rotor, and due to the small diameter of the nacelles, but it did rotate nicely.

Enterprise model being propelled with ion propulsion.
Star Trek Enterprise model being propelled with ion propulsion
      as an ionocraft.
Rear view.
Star Trek Enterprise model being propelled with ion propulsion
      as an ionocraft, rear view.

As the photos above show, a lot of the bluish corona was outside the nacelles and I suspect a lot of the ion wind that makes it move was too.

As a last step I wanted to see the airflow so I turned all of the lights back on and lit up an incense stick. I then fixed the rotor in place so that the Enterprise would not move. As the photo below shows the airflow from the ion propulsion is pretty much as expected.

Showing airflow using smoke.
Showing Star Trek Enterprise model ion propulsion airflow using 
      smoke.

Adding a laser to the Enterprise

As a follow-up project, I added a laser to this model which you can see here.

Video - Star Trek Enterprise Model with Ion Propulsion added

Here's my video showing the making of it step-by-step along with some demonstrations, including a smoke test to show the airflow.

Video - How to add Ion Propulsion to Star Wars TIE Fighter Model

In this video I show adding ion propulsion to a Star Wars TIE Fighter model instead.

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