Impressive and Slightly Scary Coilgun Build

Science Technology
Impressive and Slightly Scary Coilgun Build


No, this is not one of the sci-fi video game replica weapon props I keep posting about—it’s a real, functioning homemade coil-gun by Jason, aka YouTube user Larsplatoon, aka Photobucket and user Saz43, who has been working on it for two years. It’s billed as a “1.25kJ Coilgun,” but I dunno how that figure was computed. If it is muzzle energy then projectiles from this weapon deliver more kinetic energy than a .45 handgun but less than an M16 rifle, which I frankly doubt. But judge for yourself by clicking the embedded player below to be taken directly to the test firings at 2:50, in which various housewares get shattered and punched full of holes. I’m guessing 1.25 kJ is the theoretical maximum energy that can be delivered by the capacitor bank, and that the real muzzle energy is significantly lower.

Still, an extremely impressive project in terms of technical achievement , aesthetics, and “marketing.” It raises an interesting question about the point at which “backyard ballistics” type projects cross the line to violate the unwritten rule here at Make: Online about not covering weapons or defense-related projects. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is awesome, but if Larsplatoon and/or other amateur electromagnetic cannon experimenters get much better at what they’re doing I may have to start thinking twice about passing these along. Don’t try this at home, kiddies! [via Hacked Gadgets]


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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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