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high voltage electric arc

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i need to create voltaic sparks that jumps from one electrode to another between a medium of air. sort of like jacob's ladder. the distance of one electrode to another is about 0.5". i gather that the breakdown voltage of air for said distance is about 4kV. i'm targeting more of around 20-30kV, just to be sure. the sparks do not have to last long, just about 1 sec, max.

the purpose of this simple contraption? i want to create a sustained jacob's ladder, rather than one lasting only a second (as the described contraption does). so what this contraption will do is apply the breakdown voltage, ionizing the air and then the sustained high voltage will be supplied by my DC arc welder that outputs 25V @ 50A. don't worry, i won't put the two to be electrically parallel to each other.

the contraption has to be very cheap (would simply winding a step-up transformer be enough)?? i've tried different sources, the cheapest i found was simply buying a cheap stun gun (around $10-20) than can supply a few million volts -- pretty good. but the laws in canada does not allow the trade of any sort of weapon (even for self defense) whatsoever. i've tried looking at neon sign transformers but they cost at least $50.

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