How to build your own pulsed laser pistol

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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.

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Making Airsoft guns far more potent

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[Drake] wrote in to share his recent project, which involves repurposing an Airsoft rifle that was sitting around, collecting dust. Airsoft guns as a whole are not all that impressive, but convert your Airsoft gun into a laser rifle, and we’re all ears.

His laser blaster is honestly pretty straightforward as far as laser projects go, but we just couldn’t resist. He pulled apart the Airsoft gun, removing all of the “airy” bits, leaving just the trigger behind. He added a 9v battery and a linear power supply to the gun, wiring them up to a 700mW laser diode from what we hope was a broken Blu-ray burner.

In the obligatory “look at what I can destroy with my laser gun” video embedded below, [Drake] shows off his gun’s potency at various ranges, popping balloons from 35 feet away. He even shows off the laser’s usefulness as a light pen for glow in the dark surfaces.

While his modifications are nothing we haven’t seen before, his gun is far more accessible than others we have featured.

Have any cool high-powered laser projects of your own? Share them with us in the comments.

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The Breech Loaded Paintall “Shotgun”

Although this isn’t the first pneumatic air cannon to be featured on HAD, this “paintball shotgun” is certainly one of the coolest.  While most air cannons have little practical use besides looking awesome and being cool to play with, this cannon, according to it’s maker, has actually been used successfully in actual paintball competition.

The system works by preloading a sabot full of paintballs into a section of barrel that can be removed.  The barrel is then slid forward and the sabot/barrel section is then inserted and the gun is loaded.  This configuration is known as a “floating barrel” and seems to work quite well.

The author is quick to point out that this device is not designed to be used against human competitors, but against tanks and such in scenario games. Used properly or not, we can’t vouch for the safety of this device.  One should take extra caution when working with CO2 tanks as they can reach a maximum pressure in the thousands of PSI.

For other pneumatic cannon ideas, check out this other bolt-action miniature potato gun or this “water blob launcher”.

3D printed gun fires Nerf darts

[Vik Olliver] adds a bit more power to what has traditionally been a store-bought toy by designing this printable dart gun. His design prints the follower in the track where it belongs, which means it’s not going to come loose unless the material itself fails. After printing you’ll need to clean up that track just a bit, and ream out the pivot holes for the trigger parts. Two pieces of filament are used as the axles for pivot points and can be melted in place after assembly. A third length of filament acts as a spring, making this a completely plastic gun. Well, not completely; a couple of strong rubber bands deliver the stored energy which sends the Nerf dart on its way. The design is parametric so you can adjust it for the dart dimensions of your choosing before  printing begins.

If you still haven’t managed to boot-strap your own 3D printer don’t fret. You can always give this Nerf dart sniper rifle a try.

PS3 gun/controller hybrid

[Luis] is very particular about his gaming controllers. He wanted to mod a Six Axis controller to fit into a Nerf gun body but there wasn’t really enough room for all of the components. After shopping around for a while he discovered a wired gun controller made by Namco which was developed for use with the game Time Crisis. He picked one up and went to work replacing the guts with a set pulled from a wireless controller.

The majority of the work on a mod like this one comes in extending the reach of each component. After cracking open the gun controller’s case, [Luis] begins preparing and soldering all twenty contact on the Six Axis controller PCB, then completing the connections necessary for each relocated component. This does make us wonder if there won’t be some element of noise introduced to the signals coming from the analog sticks? He mentions that one of them is ‘glitchy’ but that could be because he started with a used controller from eBay.

We took a couple of good tips out of this. Since the plastic housing is designed to hold each of the original PCBs securely, [Luis] reused them as a mounting surface for the replacement components. A little creative use of protoboard and some time in the paint shop and you’re done. Check out a video of the entire process, which also shares the finished results, after the break.

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You’ll shoot your eye out…with a 1MW laser pulse pistol

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G.I. Joe used them to battle Cobra’s evil forces. Han solo shot his first in the Mos Eisley Cantina. For years, hand-held pulse laser guns have been something that existed only in the realm of cartoons and movies…until now.

German hacker [Patrick Priebe] recently constructed a laser pulse gun that looks so good, it could have easily come off a Hollywood movie set. Its sleek white and black exterior adds intrigue, but offers little warning as to how powerful the gun actually is.

Fitted with a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, it fires off a 1 MW blast of infrared light once the capacitors have fully charged. The duration of the laser pulse is somewhere near 100ns, so he was unable to catch it on camera, but its effects are easily visible in whatever medium he has fired upon. The laser can burst balloons, shoot through plastic, and even blow a hole right through a razor blade.

[Patrick] says that he is more than happy to help out anyone looking to source parts and build one for their own use, so what are you waiting for?

Stick around for a quick demo video of the gun in action.

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Nerf gun converted to CO2 powered semi-automatic

[Philysteak527] modified a Nerf rifle, making it semi-automatic thanks to the powers of compressed air. This is not a simple change to make, and rests on his ability to design and manufacture a bolt-action that fits in the gun, works with the Nerf ammo, and uses a CO2 canister and solenoid valve for the firing action. Knowing that, it’s not surprising to find that he’s an engineering student at Stony Brook University. He started with some POM, or polyoxymethylene plastic sold under the brand name Delrin, and used a CNC lathe to machine the parts for the bolt. Add in some brass fittings, a solenoid, tubing, and the electronics and you’re in business.

We’ve embedded the test footage after the break. Looks like the new internals allow a rather fast firing rate (maybe 2-3 shots per second?) and achieve a distance between seventy and one hundred feet.

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