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This guide will show you how to build the Vector Weapon Enclosure (which is the default add-on to our Vector Weapon Kit). If you haven’t built the electronics just yet, you’ll need to do that first (instructions are here).

The Vector Weapon circuit was designed by Chris Lody, a fabulous Maker who’s invented an impressive array of musical circuits. Chris’ original design for the RayGun Vector Weapon appears in Volume 35 of Make Magazine, as a stripboard DIY project. The enclosure was designed by our Lab Supervisor Sam Freeman.

Steps

Step #1: Paint your case!

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  • The two acrylic pieces come with adhesive-backed paper on them, along with certain score lines. Like I did for the first image, use a pair of tweezers or your fingernail to gently remove paper where you'd like to paint.
  • Get creative! You can leave the whole thing clear, paint the whole thing, leave one side clear, or any combination in between. Have fun with it.
  • I used a single coat of neon green spraypaint to cover the clear spots. Make sure you're painting on a scrap surface (like newspaper) in a well-ventilated area (or outside).

Step #2: Begin Assembly

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  • Peel the rest of the paper off your painted case. As you can see, even one coat of paint will give it a great look!
  • Now it's time to make sure you have all the parts. You'll need everything pictured here, as well as the assembled electronics (build instructions for those are here). There's a more detailed parts list on the right of this page.
  • Begin by installing the three potentiometers. Which goes where is up to you, but all three should fit just fine (make sure the small tabs fit in the smaller hole). Also ensure you add the washer and nut onto each knob after inserting it through the enclosure.

Step #3: Continue Assembly

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  • Once the three potentiometers are installed in the top piece, peel the paper off both sides of your four small acrylic pieces, and insert the two larger ones in the bottom piece. The battery will sit between these -- now's probably a good time to plug it into the board.
  • Install the trigger in the only small acrylic piece with a hole in it. Use the nut to tighten it down, and place it in the bottom acrylic piece.
  • Insert the last acrylic piece in it's location and carefully place the top down onto the bottom piece, fitting the whole assembly together.

Step #4: Complete Assembly

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  • Next is an optional fastening step: if you have it, use a small piece of double-sided poster tape to hold the speaker and circuit board in place. Make sure the bottoms of the potentiometers don't get in the way of the large caps on the board!
  • Next, use the included nuts and bolts to tighten the enclosure. There are six holes built into the enclosure for this purpose. Also attach the green and black knobs to each potentiometer (they're press-fit, and should fit without much struggle).
  • That's it, you're done! Enjoy your newly-enclosured Vector Weapon Kit. PEW PEW
Eric Weinhoffer

Eric Weinhoffer

Eric is a Manufacturing Engineer at Other Machine Co., where he uses large machines to make smaller machines. When not building things, Eric enjoys skiing, cycling, and climbing.


  • chuck

    I found a video of this and it sounds cool. Is there a schematic available? I have all the parts in my bins.

    • Eric Weinhoffer
      • chuck

        Cool! I just got all the parts together. Off to drive the wife nuts with bleeps and bloops.

        • chuck

          I breadboarded this last night and started swapping out components and having a good old time making noise and playing. The wife woke up at 3AM, sighed and said ‘Again?!?’ and went back to sleep. The cat, however, is intrigued.
          Three years ago I knew little about electronics and now I can build and modify circuits like this with reasonable confidence thanks to Make and a few other sites. More of this please! Low-fi analog sound is awesome!

          • Eric Weinhoffer

            Chuck,

            That’s great! Happy to hear that at least the cat is intrigued ;)

            More analog sound stuff is in the works as well!

            Cheers,
            Eric

  • Darren Miller

    I picked up a couple of these to make with my boys. It looks like the adhesive backed paper is on one side and the etching on the other. The adhesive paper is not etched. Is this correct? Also, the adhesive paper is on the other side of the plastic than shown in the pictures. Help!

    • Sam

      Sorry for the late response. Does your plastic only have paper on one side?

      • Darren Miller

        Yes – and the etching is on the other side. I’ve since just used painters tape on the etched side and traced the etching with a razor blade. Got the job done!

        • Sam

          Glad you worked it out. I’ll look into what happened.