This Maglite is a BB Gun

Maglite BB Gun

This innocent looking Maglite houses a piston and barrel, making it into a functional pneumatic BB gun. A Maglite was chosen due to its high durability, and easy access to the internals. A schrader valve sticks out of the battery cap, which allows the gun to be charged using a standard fitting. A brass tube is used as the barrel, and a piston controls firing.

Firing the gun is simple. First, the whole thing is charged up to the desired pressure. Then the ammunition is inserted into the barrel. At this point, the rubber piston is held against the end of the barrel by the pressure in the gun. By pushing the pin of the valve in, the piston is able to move back slightly. This acts as the trigger, and causes air to rush into the barrel, firing the BB.

The results are fairly impressive. Using a chronograph, the speed of the BB was measured at 850 feet per second. Using the Gas Gun Design Tool simulator, it was estimated that the gun could fire at over 1000 feet per second, and maybe even break the sound barrier.

How to build an extremely powerful nerf gun

[TopCityGear] was trying out a piece of PVC as a blow gun barrel when he thought he’d try to give it a little more power than what his lungs could put out. What he came up with is this air-powered Nerf gun that definitely leaves a mark. The video after the break is a show-and-tell, a build log, and finally a demonstration of its power. He adds a nail to a Nerf dart and drives it through a board, then leaves a huge welt on his poor friends chest with a plain old foam dart. It reminds us of those riot guns that shoot bean bags.

The air is stored in that twelve-inch PVC reservoir. On the rear cap there’s a Schrader valve for pressurizing the tank with a compressor or even a bike pump. The grip is a gutted cordless drill whose battery doubles as the power source for the electric sprinkler valve which fires the gun. The screw fitting just in front of the hand grip lets him remove the barrel so that the projectile can be inserted.

This reminds us of that gun which shoots water-filled ping-pong balls.

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Controlling a spud gun with an Arduino

We’re a long way from the Aquanet-powered plastic pipe spud guns of our youth. [smirpab] over on the SpudFiles forum posted a work in progress of an amazing replica AS50 sniper rifle he’s building. This pneumatic cannon goes above and beyond any air-powered rifle we’ve seen with an Arduino that is able to switch between automatic, semi-automatic, and burst modes with an LCD display and a rate of fire control.

The mechanics of [smirpab]’s build are fairly normal for this level of pneumatic gun; it shoots 6mm plastic pellets from a smooth bore barrel with using air compressed to about 10 bar (145 psi). The electronics is where this project really shines, with an Arduino controlling the mode of fire (auto, semi-auto, and a 3-round burst), and the number of rounds per second adjustable with a pot.

A very cool project, and looking at the CAD renders of what [smirpab] completed project will look like, we can’t wait to see this build finished. As always, this build comes with the standard Hackaday “you’ll put your eye out, kid” warning. You can check out a video of [smirpab]’s piston after the break, along with a demo of the Arduino-powered control circuit going through all three firing modes.

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Pneumatic car launcher is actually more than just a hacker’s fantasy

So if you had to launch a car through these goal posts how would you do it? Certainly not with a slingshot (although we might have gone with a steam-powered catapult a-la an aircraft carrier). That maroon car with the white stripe is about to make the flight thanks to a very powerful pneumatic launcher.

We don’t usually attend the demolition derby, so this sort of thing is new to us. And we were even more surprised to find that this isn’t strictly a novelty act. The system is actually how some of the more dangerous automotive stunts are done for the movies. This launch sends the car in a graceful arc that is right on target and reminds us of the cliffhanger stunts from The Dukes of Hazzard (TV, not the recent movie). But if you’re a director looking for a horrific car accident, the rig can be altered to send the car spiraling through the air. Sounds like the record is nearly eight turns while airborne.

We don’t have any extra cars to launch, so we’ll stick to making the confetti fly.

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How to build a competitive battle robot

Ever wonder what’s under the hood with a competitive battle robot like this one? It’s usually a big secret as teams don’t care to give their competition any help. But [AlexHrn] decided not only to give us a peek, but also shows us his step-by-step build process for Phoenix, the 30 pound flipping battle robot.

[Alex] has already seen quite a bit of success with a different robot, but he couldn’t quite beat another competitor whose bot included a flipping arm which threw its competition across the ring. So [Alex] decided to join in on the technique with this build. The arm itself uses air pressure to exert a large force very quickly. Inside, a paintball gun tank powers the pneumatic ram. It looks like this tank is charged up before the competition and only gets about 12 shots before it’s depleted. You can see the power in the quick clip after the break.

For locomotion the unit uses a couple of cordless drill motors. These have a fairly high RPM and work well when powered by batteries.

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Old timey UAV cameras

These brave birds are weapons of war. Well, not these actual birds… they’re just models used for this photograph courtesy of a taxidermist. But their living relatives were used to take spy photographs during World War I. [Dr. Julius Neurbronner] didn’t suddenly jump into the field of avian photography. He, like his father before him, used homing pigeons to deliver prescription drugs in loads of up to 75 grams. This makes us wonder if the birds are ever used in modern drug running?

The inspiration came when the doctor found out about subminiature cameras available at the turn of the twentieth century. Those cameras included a tiny roll of film, allowing for several images to be taken. He figured out a way to make a timer that used a pneumatic system to trigger the shutter in the camera. You can see a diagram of the timer mechanism here. The idea is that the birds will always be able to find their way home. So if you take them to a starting point that puts the enemy lines in between them and home base, they’ll fly over and get some juicy recon in the process.

That’s pretty old school. But we’re still tying things onto birds these days. Here’s some modern tech that uses sun-up/sun-down to track travel habits.

[Thanks F via The Atlantic]

A Full Auto PVC Battery Gun

full-auto-battery-gun

So what’s better than a battery gun? A full auto pneumatic battery gun of course!  [ukilliheal], decided to build one of these, and show us the results in his video after the break.  After turning the gun on, this contraption shoots at a pretty impressive rate of fire (although, apparently not as fast as some of his other experiments).  Apparently batteries can do a pretty fair amount of damage to a cardboard target as shown around 1:20. [ukilliheal] apparently thinks this is pretty hilarious, but we wouldn’t want to be on the other end of this device!

Although details on this build are fairly slim in this video, [ukilliheal’s] other videos should provide some clues, especially those where he explains how to make a full auto paintball gun.  If the same technique is used, a piston reloads the chamber using a homemade valve that releases pressure when it gets too high.  Electronics could also be used, but keeping everything mechanical will allow for the batteries to be used solely as ammuntion.

If full-auto guns aren’t your thing, why not check out this bolt-action miniature pneumatic spud gun!