Last chance to enter The Hackaday Prize.

How to build your own pulsed laser pistol

build_your_own_pulsed_laser_gun

Self-declared Mad Scientist and Instructables user [Trevor Nestor] recently built a pulse laser pistol and decided to share his build process, so that you too can build a ray gun at home. The gun is made up of mostly scavenged components, save for the Neodymium:YAG laser head, which he purchased on eBay for about $100. He does say however, that you can score an SSY-1 laser from an old rangefinder, providing you hang out near a stockpile of decommissioned Abrams tanks.

[Trevor] walks you through the process of recycling old disposable cameras to get enough components for a capacitor bank, as well as how the charging circuit should be constructed. He also discusses how the laser head needs to be wired, before showing off the finished laser pistol in a cheeky video, embedded below.

While the gun lacks the finish of this laser pistol we showed you, it’s no less potent when shooting through plastics, wood, and thin metals. It’s a great starting point if you are looking to build a laser of your own, leaving room for improvements, such as a faster charging circuit.

Comments

  1. daniel says:

    Ugh. Save yourself some time:

  2. daniel says:

    uh, wth. It turned my link into an embed!
    Just skip to 7m45s to see the laser go zappy

  3. adam outler says:

    wow! thats all i can say.

  4. Chris says:

    Terrible video >_>

  5. Darkmatter says:

    That was the most annoying video.

  6. tooth says:

    i would like to see a steady cam built in his next video. man that was a long charge. maybe he can do some thing with auto switching instead of doing it him self. he looked a bit nerves each time he had to.

  7. Volectorus says:

    I would be nervous too. ever been bit by one of those caps?

  8. Gatsu says:

    I see things like this as a step to dealing with the time when authorities start using pervasive aerial drone surveillance. Although a YAG laser is probably overkill, a high power laser diode would probably be enough.

    No need to damage the craft its self, just frying the optics is enough.

  9. dave says:

    Best part was the outtro music.. I haven’t heard them in so long.

  10. adam felson says:

    I’ll never know if it did anything but make toy phaser noises. I watched minute after minute of stupidity and finally couldn’t take it any more.

  11. zuul says:

    that video is about 8minutes 41 seconds too long

  12. torwag says:

    You gave your own build/hack a worse intro!

    1. sit in front of a table not on the floor
    2. use a room with enough light
    3. use a camera with a decent quality
    4. if you pretend being a scientist behave like one, seriously, a lab coat and Bermuda shorts?!
    5. keep the camera steady and focused
    6. remove disturbing objects (the vacuum cleaner wtf?)
    7. say what you want to say but keep it short use clean and well spoken international English. Write it down first this helps!

    Post a new video again and we might be watching it up to the end.

  13. jordan says:

    that video was horrible but the gun was pretty cool.
    “it doesnt always fire but a simple soldering job would fix that. I’m just too lazy” is not something to say in a video. self deprecation is not a good practice.
    and i am the last person to whinge about safety but good lord, that is a pulsed laser he’s pointing around. goggles!

    Hopefully he’ll keep working on this project and take it from a silly toy to something awe-inspiring. A mazzilli ZVS flyback for charging those capacitors will make it go several orders of magnitude faster. And an enclosure so there aren’t deadly voltages and haphazard connections everywhere would make it look better.
    dropping the sounds would also help but that’s his personal preference and OK as long as there is a mute.

  14. Doug says:

    The instructions need some work, try to use more images, it feels thrown together.

    Also, you should consider using a better charging system, if the laser costed you ~100$, you can probably afford to spend 20$ on the materials you’d need to make a PCB with more power.

  15. Alex says:

    I lost interest after “and Instructables user”.

  16. killerbug666 says:

    To poster: next time you do a video that is 8 minutes long, you should shoot at least 16 distinct things. Youtube users don’t have the patience to listen to you jabber on about how slow it charges; just skip to the shots.

    ALSO, SOME OF US USE HEADPHONES, SO DON’T PUT LOUD BEEPS IN YOUR F**KING VIDEO!

  17. Trevor Nestor says:

    All right all right I know I had a crappy camera and I was filming at grandpa’s quit your whining XD. I just wanted to get instructions on how to build it out for those who were interested since it has not yet been done, and someone requested a video showcasing it so I did. Anyways I added in an annotation to alert viewers that the firing is at 7:40. I will be posting a better video of it firing for those who are interested, just working on getting a better camera. Thanks

  18. Jacob says:

    GOD TREVOR THESE PEOPLE MEAN FREAKEN Business you should of let me handle your video shooting and such would of been much better

  19. Pulsed laser using solid crystals i.e. those 20W laser bars would also work.
    I hear that some of these can be momentarily pulsed to 50W IF kept cool enough i.e. below ambient.
    The voltage threshold changes as well but if you take this into account and wrap 5 of them minus most of the heatsink round a central YAG core and Q switch it then you would get a burst of light that would exceed several MW pulsed.

    ebay has these for not much money, its scary just how easy it is to buy them. Not that I am complaining, you can get 2W C*s*o diodes for under £50 now :-)

  20. Anon says:

    This isn’t to do with the project, but the formating of the videos always seems to chop about 1/5rd off the right hand side. I’m using firefox.

  21. Cool, pseudo ball lightning on your desk! Thats cool.
    Wonder if you could use this effect to scan a larger area and then ionise along the spiral path to make a REAL ball lightning using the PMK principle? If so then that would be really cool and probably end up classified but hey…

  22. Voila, one working DIY “Star Trek” Impulse drive schematic. Thanks H-a-D ! :-)

    mailto mandoline at cwgsy dot net and i will forward you the schematics when i finish them.

  23. GuiltyPixel says:

    Please don’t ever make your own videos again. For the love of God, just don’t.

  24. Mister X says:

    I second this comment: “the formating of the videos always seems to chop about 1/5th off the right hand side. I’m using firefox.”. It’s an ongoing issue to be sure, and annoying as hell.

  25. millsy says:

    I use Chrome and it chops off 1/5th on the right. I end up rightclicking to copy URL and opening a new tab.

  26. Bacchus says:

    I loved it!

    It was just like those zero-budget skateboard and rollerblade videos, except he didn’t crush his bollocks.

    Never mind. Perhaps next time.

  27. tutnixzursache1 says:

    YAG laser – $100
    lab coat – $20
    fu**ing up hundreds of nerds with an 9min worst quality ever handy-cam-video – priceless

  28. John says:

    I use Opera and it chops off 1/5th on the right.

  29. fartface says:

    Dear hackers. Learn how to use a camera! Good god PLEASE! Just because you own imovie does not mean you have a clue to what you are doing with a camera.

    I’ll call it a Ray gun is when it has the ability to emulate a 10 pump BB gun and actually be able to kill a mouse or small bird.

  30. M4CGYV3R says:

    Jesus…

    I know your girl/boyfriend wanted to help, but set the camera on an effing table ffs. Also, stop trying to be funny while wasting 6+ minutes of the viewer’s time. Explain, demonstrate, done.

  31. beandata says:

    …. bah! thats roughly 9 minutes of my life that I cant get back

  32. Flame500 says:

    According to SAM’s laser FAQs, it seems like the power supply constructed for this laser is way too big. Supposedly you can fire one of these at its full rated power with a 900V 36uF capacitor. The bank created for this “ray gun” is easily a few thousand uF at somewhere between 600-1000V. Not only is that needlessly dangerous but its also going to ruin your fragile flashlamp. Its also very unlikely that it is providing you with any extra output power.

  33. donov4n says:

    While watching I was hoping for somebody to step into the scene and punch him…

  34. Chev says:

    Why is he dressed like luke skywalker?

  35. Drake says:

    set the value z-level:999; unless its already up there and the overflow is hidden :/ then you have more work to do

  36. mjrippe says:

    @fartface the troll

    So do you shoot lots of mice and birds while “hacking”?

  37. NatureTM says:

    Leave the acting for the actors, save the f-ups for the blooper vid. I came for lasers burning through stuff. If you say it burns through metal, show me that, and link to that vid from this one.

    Cool project though.

  38. FaTe says:

    @NatureTM

    Well said, I agree with almost every other comment about properly setting up your video prior but it’s done and dusted now. Fact is show us what you said it’d do!

  39. TrailerScience says:

    Forget all these negative comments – keep pumping out the projects, this was one of the most interesting (and funny) things I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks!! Oh and btw – the video of your dad’s song, very nice but difficult to make out the lyrics, remix and de-emphasize the guitar, it really isn’t the focus of the song afterall, the words are. :)

  40. herboid says:

    Call that a death ray? It doesn’t even slow them down.

  41. JohnR says:

    Way to encourage people to post stuff. (NOT!)

    For crying out loud, you beat the guy up on his video, yet he did something 99.999% of the population didn’t do – he posted his project.

    Could he have done better? Yes.

    Did he deserve to be beaten into submission? NO!

    Thank you for sharing your work!

  42. x says:

    what a waste of the space-time continuum.

  43. Mark A says:

    I think that by the time your gun is ready to fire, the bad guy may have got away. (Slowly)

  44. Britney Spears says:

    He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.

  45. Daman says:

    I must on the whole the average commentator is a 6th grade drop out living in their parents basement who hasn’t done anything like this, much less buit a radio (am, heatkit). When you children build BETTER then show your work until then, go back to your dreamcast game collection. ya whiny little brats.
    p.s. it’s called lab coat you idiot.

  46. Derptron 6000 says:

    Hilarious, I loved it. Cat sh*t on the power cord! That’s mint. Refine the weapon & get a better camera, I’ll be waiting for this thing to blow sh*t up!

  47. wahahahhaha :D why not make a rifle??

    anyways, that was fun! :D

  48. MopInc. says:

    He knows *zero* about proper safety for a class IV pulsed IR laser. Someone should take a sledgehammer to the YAG and then poke his eye out with a ball point pen.

    This, along with the idiot with 1W of 445nm in his hand, are the most irresponsible things on Hack-A-Day.

    The problem with idiots isn’t that they hurt themselves – other people get hurt.

  49. Azel A says:

    Agreed !
    too long video with too much WTF things in it (you putting on gloves : WTF !? cat poop ?)
    But nice project, as said before : 99,99% wouldn’t make it, even if some are still able to whine.

    Yet I hope you’ll keep on improving it, and maybe show us the beam actualy going through metal foil, as you tease us.

    PS : buy GOGGLES !!!

  50. Kdos says:

    We need to invent v.a.t.s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91,175 other followers