This Retro Futuristic Ray Gun Is Upcycled and Awesome

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Metalworking Woodworking
This Retro Futuristic Ray Gun Is Upcycled and Awesome

Worried about alien parasitic body snatchers invading your moon base and attacking your family? Then wrap your space gloves around the comfortable grip of the Mk1 Atomic Neural De-atomizer by KaBlooey Arms. Yes, no self-respecting interplanetary home owner would be without the Mk1 Atomic Neural De-atomizer stowed in their rocket ship. Simply insert a long-lasting standard plutonium 5 kilovolt rod into the battery compartment and you are ready to go. Set the Mk1 Atomic Neural De-atomizer to Mild Discomfort with the easy-to-use rotary power knob and just fire a warning shot. Or crank it up to full power and strip the very atoms from those hideous, bug-eyed aliens. The Mk1 Atomic Neural De-atomizer comes with everything you need to keep you and your family safe among the stars.

That’s the Mk1 Atomic Neural De-atomizer by KaBlooey Arms. Ask for it by name.

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I have always been fascinated with golden-age science fiction equipment. The clean curves and smooth, shiny parts look simultaneously whimsical and out-of-this-world. I set out to fabricate my own piece of nostalgia, but didn’t want to spend any money at all on the project.

The result was this 50’s-style ray gun made entirely from found objects and other junk around my house. The construction includes bicycle axles and nuts, an air-hose nozzle, hard drive platters, a piece of shower curtain rod, an old drink shaker, discarded paintball gun parts, several pieces of wood of various shapes and sizes, and assorted screws, bolts and nuts and other things from the parts bin. Construction happened over the course of 2-months on occasional evenings and weekends. All told, there is about 30 hours or so invested in this build.

Having never worked in metal before, and with limited metal working tools, the biggest challenge for me on this build was learning to accurately drill and tap holes in stainless steel and other metal parts. I learned that drilling slower with a good cutting oil worked better than increasing the speed of the drill bit. Metal does interesting things if it gets too hot when drilling. I also learned that step drills are a very good investment for some parts — no requirement to re-position the part or change drill bit sizes to increase the hole size.

Also very challenging was ensuring the curve at the top of the walnut grip and lower receiver (housing the trigger) matched the curves in the drink mixer. The drink mixer has a double curve. The first is longitudinally from the top of the mixer to the bottom. The second is the radius of the drink mixer. To make this even more challenging, the drink mixer curves change both in the top-to-bottom curve and in a smaller radius closer to the base. To ensure the parts mated with no gaps, I first made a paper template in card stock, trimming it until the top-to-bottom curve matched. I then traced the template to the walnut and cut it out. I then had to “dish” the upper surface of the walnut using a rotary sanding drum in a dremel so that the mating surface of the walnut matched the radius curve of the drink mixer. Sanding the walnut to match probably consumed the most time on this project.

There are some additions I still need to make. The knob and trigger are both functional electronic components. They will eventually be wired into some kind of cool ray gun sound maker. I also want to replace the stainless top of the drink mixer with a glass bubble containing some interesting found-object electronic parts. Finally, I need to fabricate an appropriate display stand. But those can wait for a while. For now, my kids and I are just having fun running around the house with this thing going “pew pew”.

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Mark Rutley

Mark enjoys making in all forms, but particularly enjoys woodworking, electronics, software, and sewing. He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife and family.

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