Making a rail gun

rail

[Rp181] has documented his entire rail gun build. He takes us through collecting the materials and assembling the system. It required 18 400V 3900uf capacitors to get the 5600 joules he wanted. It looks pretty impressive, though a video of it wreaking havoc on something might have been nice. We’ve seen rail guns before, from tiny ones for a robosapien to larger projects very similar to this one. In his instructable, he touts this as a “green” system. The capacitors are aluminum and no gun powder is required to move the projectile. Anyone want to do the math to figure out if it really is any better? Maybe if he’s collecting his energy via a giant solar panel.

[via instructables]

Comments

  1. Prospektor says:
  2. polymath says:

    this could be coupled with that paintball auto turret to make a pretty effective short range defense system.

  3. spiderwebby says:

    railgun != coilgun.

    when will people learn!!

  4. spadefinger says:

    Is it just me or did the projectile bounce off the cardboard box?

  5. matthack says:
  6. As/400 says:

    Been there, done that.

    As/400 Out

  7. cyanide says:

    i wonder how many shots he can fire before it overheats
    and i wonder if it beats out the navy’s railgun in that aspect. doubt it. liquid helium cooling system, anyone?

  8. Frogz says:

    heh yanno…. its been a long time since i looked at sam’s site, i look like an arse…
    its the exact same design LOL!

  9. The Robosapien hack was a COILGUN (aka Gauss gun) which is incredibly different to a railgun, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

  10. medix says:

    calling this ‘green’ is like saying that chemical lasers are a practical means of air defense (look it up)

  11. againseminoma says:

    Who’s the video he gives in step #5 from then? It’s not his rail gun on youtube he links to?

  12. againseminoma says:

    Eh nevermind I see what you’re saying about the video…I thought I just had it on mute :P

  13. draknixon says:

    you’ll shoot your eye out, kid…

  14. Yes, on one of the shots the projectile bounced of cardboard. When the cable’s flew apart, it messed up the bus bars. Notice all the plasma under the acrylic.

  15. Garrett says:

    The REAL problem with railguns, is that the current is so high, and forces between the rails are so strong, that transverse lorentz forces will often deform or “bend” the gun out of shape with strong shots. Ive seen some BIG railguns, and the deformation can get NASTY if you put enough juice through. Sometimes you can wreck an entire gun, beyond repair, with just one shot.

  16. Dick C. says:

    Several years ago I did some machine work for a guy making a rail gun. He used capacitors from a railroad caboose, they were bigger than a car battery; originally used to activate crossing signals, they provided lots of power for his project. Any one else use these?

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