A sublime PVC cannon

PVC

Not to be outdone with hair spray powered PVC cannons, [William] created an even cooler device: a cannon powered by dry ice.

Once dry ice is loaded into the pressure vessel, a burst disk is placed in the breech and the barrel is screwed on. The trigger isn’t very precise – the entire gun is powered by dry ice turning from a solid into a gas – but the resulting cloudy booms more than make up for any imperfections.

Despite building a cannon and using PVC as a pressure vessel, [Bill]‘s project is actually quite safe. The ‘trigger’ is a burst valve made out of a disc of aluminum foil held between two sections of PVC. When the pressure rises, the aluminum foil inevitably tears, shooting whatever is in the barrel out and hopefully not into an eye. The ‘safety’ on the gun is a ball valve connected directly to the pressure vessel, and with a pressure gauge and a release valve. We’re more than confident in saying this is pretty darn safe as far as PVC cannons are concerned.

Vacuum pressure bazooka

vacuum-pressure-bazooka

This vacuum pressure cannon is a design unlike any we’ve seen before. At first look it seems to have the components you see in a potato gun. But those use a combustion process to launch the projectile. This instead uses the sudden release of a vacuum.

About three minutes into the demo video below we get a look at the “ignition” system. It’s pretty scary in that a couple of really powerful springs are pulling a collar along the barrel toward your face. This is actually meant to dislodge the plug in the back which is holding vacuum in the barrel. The pressure difference causes a sudden inrush of air which shoots the 1.5 inch projectile out the front of the bazooka.

[Mr. Teslonian] built his own hand powered vacuum pump for loading the weapon. This was done with a pair of PVC pipes that fit inside of one another, and a plunger made from wood and leather. The PVC and wood projectile seals in the barrel using a skirt made from duct tape. After breech loading the projectile and plugging the back of the barrel, he layers aluminum foil over the business end and pumps up a high vacuum. His test firing is not from the shoulder, and he only gets one shot because the slug hit the target so hard it was destroyed. This thing really needs to be vehicle mounted!

[Read more...]

Reactive target range for Nerf, Airsoft, etc.

reactive-target-range

Taking the time to build a reactive target range really adds to the fun of toy weapons. It lets you move beyond just point and shoot to actual games of skill.

The project is anchored by an Arduino board. It connects to a piezo element on the back of each of these sheet metal targets. Detecting when a projectile hits the target works pretty much the exact same way the ever popular Knock-block works. To provide interactive enjoyment each target has an LED which, when lit, indicates that the target is active. From here it’s just a matter of coding to add different challenges. So far [Viktor Criterion] has implemented quick draw, timed, and rapid fire modes. The demo after the break shows off everything, including the slick modular design he came up with to make the system portable.

We’d love to see these targets mounted on motorized tracks. Each round would have the targets moving closer to you at a faster pace to keep you on your toes.

[Read more...]

A full-auto Gauss gun probably won’t hurt much

While it may only be able to shoot a few cans right now, we certainly wouldn’t want to be in front of [Jason]‘s fully automatic Gauss gun capable of firing 15 steel bolts from its magazine in less than two seconds.

The bolts are fired from the gun with a linear motor. [Jason] is using eight coils along the length of his barrel, each one controlled by an IGBT. These are powered by two 22 Volt 3600mAh LiPo battery packs.

As for the mechanical portion of the build, the bolts fired from this gun are actually 6.5mm nails, cut off and sharpened. These are chambered from a spring-loaded magazine, with each new bolt put into the breech with a small solenoid retracting for an instant. The frame is constructed from a square aluminum tube with additional pieces cut with a hacksaw and bent with an impromptu bench vise brake. If ever there was a person deserving of a bench top shear/brake, [Jason] is the man.

The muzzle velocity of these bolts is about 40 m/s, with a muzzle energy that’s about 3% of a .22 LR round. Not deadly, but more than enough for picking off a few cans and bottles in a garage. You can see the video of this futuristic Gauss machine gun below.

[Read more...]

Building Han Solo’s blaster

blaster

 

It’s no secret that [Adam Savage] of Mythbusters fame is a huge fan of replica props, going so far as to make a Maltese Falcon out of Sculpey. This time, though, he’s doing one better for the nerds in the crowd by building the most accurate replica of Han Solo’s blaster ever.

Replica prop gurus already know [Lucas]‘ original prop department based Han Solo’s BlasTech DL-44 blaster off an existing gun – the Mauser C96. Along with this gun, there were a few extra bits and bobs tacked onto this gun, including an old German scope, a flash hider from an aircraft machine gun, and even a few bits of metal from a model airplane.

All these extra parts and greeblies are very hard, if not impossible to find. Thankfully, there are a bunch of very skilled replica prop makers reproducing these parts for anyone who wants a very accurate DL-44 Blaster. [Norm] from Tested and [Adam] assembled these parts into an incredibly accurate replica of the ‘hero’ blaster – by far the most identifiable of Solo’s many iterations of blaster seen in Star Wars ep. IV.

A rifle, handmade circa 1700

rifle

Today, rifles are made with exacting precision and very complex machine tools for milling, grinding, and boring out the barrel. Long rifles have been around much longer than these modern machine tools, so how exactly did gunsmiths create such exacting works of art in an age before Bridgeport mills and Sherline lathes?

In an amazing 10-part video series, [Wallace Gustler] of colonial Williamsburg takes us through the process of crafting a flintlock long rifle circa 1700. All the videos are embedded after the break, by the way.

The first step of making the rifle is fabricating the barrel. This is made from a bar of wrought iron, hammered into a tube around a mandrel, and welded together in the forge. With the help of a primitive hand-cranked lathe, the barrel is then bored out and eventually rifled with the help of a cutting tool that is constructed more out of hickory than tool steel.

With the barrel complete, [Wallace] moves on to the lock. Again, everything is fabricated by hand nearly entirely from materials that could be sourced locally at a new world colony in 1700. Spring steel is one of the exceptions of to this desire for local materials, along with a few bits of brass that were recycled from imported sources.

A gunsmith must be a master of metalwork, of course, but he must also be an excellent wood-carver. The stock of the gun iw made from a huge sugar maple board, carefully carved to accept the barrel, lock, and the custom cast brass pieces.

The result is a masterfully crafted flintlock rifle, capable of picking off a target at a few hundred yards. [Wallace Gustler] manufactured nearly everything in this gun by hand, an impressive display of skill for a master, but an inspiration to anyone who would want to work with their hands.

[Read more...]

Thundercats, HO!

sword

[Tony Swatton], blacksmith, armorer, and prop maker, has built hundreds of custom swords for hundreds of movies and TV shows. He’s also the maker behind Man at Arms, the YouTube series where weapons from your favorite shows and movies are recreated, be they improbable weapons from a James Bond movie or a sword from a cartoon. This time, he recreated the Sword of Omens from Thundercats. It’s a work of art in its own right, and amazingly practical for a cartoon sword.

The Sword of Omens is one of [Tony]‘s more complex sword making endeavors he’s done. The grip is made of seven different pieces cast in bronze, while the hilt of the sword is over a dozen of different pieces of steel welded together. The jewel in the sword was cut from a piece of glass, carefully ground on a lapidary wheel to a perfect dome.

Of course, this isn’t the only weapon from popular media that [Tony] has crafted. He’s also done Oddjob’s hat from James Bond and Finn’s golden sword of battle from Adventure Time.