Propane-Powered Plasma Rifle

It may not be a “phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range,” and it doesn’t even use plasma in the strict definition, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. It’s a propane-powered bottle-launching rifle, and it looks like a lot of fun.

[NighthawkInLight] sure likes things that go pop, like his watermelon-wasting air-powered cannon and cheesy-poof pop gun. This one has a little more oomph to it, powered as it is by a propane torch. The principle is simple: fill a soda bottle with propane, ignite the gas, fun ensues. The details are a little more subtle, though, and allowances need to be made to keep back pressure from preventing the projectile from filling with fuel. [NighthawkInLight] overcomes this with some clever machining of the barrel. The final production version in the video below is needlessly but delightfully complex, with a wooden stock and a coil of clear vinyl tubing helical plasma accumulator before the barrel; the last bit is just for show, and we have to admit that it looks pretty good.

Unless you count the pro tip on using CPVC pipe to make custom fittings, this one is nothing but fun. But we don’t have a problem with that.

33 thoughts on “Propane-Powered Plasma Rifle

    1. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, grind PVC piping on a bench grinder like Dan shows at about the 7-min mark in the first video. Don’t grind anything on a bench grinding wheel that the wheel isn’t rated for. If you attempt the wrong combination of wheel and material, the wheel can load up with the material and explode, sending grinding wheel shrapnel everywhere. When Dan, you can see bits of white plastic starting to load up the wheel when it stops rotating. Good way to lose an eye, I guess. Or your life. Grinding wheels are typically made for aluminum or steel, the wheels for aluminum have more bonding agent to prevent soft materials like aluminum, copper or bronze from loading up and filling up the pores. Grinders are not for wood or plastics, sanders are for wood and plastics.

      1. Once it is loaded just use the metal star wheels to clean it. they are used to shape the grinding wheel and restore the surface. the way they work is by rotating and crushing the stone wheel surface. Be careful not to overdose on OH&S.

      1. Hm. Maybe you could make a Tesla coil and glue a strike rail to the mouth of your bottle(s)? You might still need gas in the bottle, but it’d still be quite the ignition system.

  1. It looks super cool, but I’m not sure I’d launch those bottles so close to my face. And I ain’t even got too much to lose in that department.

    Consider the serious injury that has happened with dry ice in those bottles.

    1. Yes, these YouTube guys take a lot of really silly risks, the other day he ignited the output from a gas producer with nothing in the line to stop a flash back, and even more recently Cody’d Lab nearly took off two finger tips by slapping nitro with a hardened knife blade rather than a piece of soft iron.

  2. Would it be feasible to make a quad-bottle launcher? Is it possible to get equal bottle-filling and synch the “plasma”?
    Possibly useful for anti-drone net-launching? Short-range I’m sure.

  3. It seems in the US people never lack imagination when it comes to the gun department…
    Next step : fill that bottle with explosive material. And schrappnels; And fire-igniter. Etc.

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