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Colorado Springs, CO maker Ravi Gaddipati has been working on a railgun for the better part of a year. The photo above shows a shot from version one — with the projectile going plasma! Now he’s now working on version two, which packs an even more impressive capacitor bank — forty caps each rated at 400v and 3900µf.

Interested in learning more? Check out Ravi’s fascinating build log and Flickr page.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal



  1. odin84gk says:

    I have to think that he is doing it wrong. If it is turning into plasma, then his shot cannot handle the amount of current flowing through it. He needs a better bullet to get more speed.

  2. Simon says:

    Interesting project for sure but unless I missed some links somewhere you’re not going to learn a lot from that web site and it was hardly fascinating. Just a bunch of pictures about parts being assembled but not much about the how and why. I want to know more!

    1. Big Daddy Dave says:

      HEre’s a pretty video he put together showing the parts break down.

  3. terranceblue says:

    Horizontal test-fire configuration of a 12,000 joule projectile weapon? 12,000 joules is FAR more energy than a conventional firearm round. A quick web-sleuthing reveals neighbors immediately flanking Ravi’s ‘firing range’ on 3 sides. Glad i aint one of em.

  4. Ravi Gaddipati says:

    Hey all,
    This is my project. My reply to the past 3 comments:
    There actually isn’t much plasma, the picture looks like more, as it spread out when hitting the box, and the slow shutter speed (30fps)makes it look much more. All shots in the video except the one in the beginning were plasma armature.
    I had some papers I typed up a while ago, I put them up.
    Its 12kJ input energy. Output energy will be below 1kJ, My goal is to maximise the output energy. V2 will probably be at my school.

    1. terranceblue says:

      1kJ is still more than many handguns. The point I’m trying to make it that this is a deadly weapon being discharged in close proximity to uninvolved parties. The danger of this activity is made obvious by the existence of firing ranges made specifically to keep innocent people and deadly, penetrative projectiles separated.

      Here’s a link:

      1. thank you says:

        We’re not talking about spud guns here. A guy who can figure out how to make one of these work probably doesn’t need anonymous internet commenters reminding him how much energy they think he’s working with.

        The biggest safety risk is probably getting zapped by the capacitor bank, particularly if it isn’t fully discharged. I’d be more concerned about making sure none of those neighbors wander over and go “COOL HEY WUT DUZ THIS BUTTON DO!?”

        1. terranceblue says:

          Guys who can figure this stuff out are often just the sort who need a reality check. A shortage of weapons is not among the more pressing problems the world faces.

          Regardless of what you or I choose to infer about some other person, the simple fact remains that shooting a gun in your house, in a neighborhood, is irresponsible.

  5. Ravi Gaddipati says:

    It is dangerous,but I am doing it in a controlled way. There will be two layers of level 4 bullet resistant glass, one layer replaced every shot.

    This will also be done at a school.

  6. Simon says:

    Hi Ravi, I wasn’t clear in my post it was more a comment on the Make summary, not your site itself. It looks a fascinating project and it’s good to see you’re getting good results!

  7. floyd says:

    Are you planning to eventually use a non-magnetic sabot to transfer energy to a far denser primary projectile? Have you considered making your own high current capacitors to increase discharge and duration? Also by improving the magnetic field density could projectile velocity not be significantly increased without dramatically increasing base current draw. Just idle musing. [rf-tech]

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