Construct A Rail Gun

Constructing a rail gun is a cool, cheap project for all ages. With a few simple things you can find about the house (with the exception, perhaps, of the magnets), you can have yourself a functioning rail gun within an hour or less.


1. Spread some white glue on the cardboard that will form the base of your rail gun. Make sure that the layer of white glue is evenly and thoroughly distributed. You can use a brush or a piece of cardboard to help you complete this step.

2. Press the two foil strips onto the cardboard base when you are constructing a rail gun. Make sure they‘re flat and smooth, and are about ? inches apart. You can use a ruler and a pencil to mark where the strips should lay on the cardboard, so you can make sure they’re perfectly straight. Allow the two inches of the foil to hang off one end of the cardboard.

3. Clip one end of the alligator leads to the foil ends, and the other to the 9 volt battery.

4. Use a hand file to make the ends of the wire from the coat hanger flat. You can file them so the flat ends are perpendicular to the rest of the wire’s length. Add the magnets to the ends of the wire. Make sure that the poles of each of the magnets are facing in the opposite direction from each other, so they repel each other. This will form the “wheels” of your rail gun.

5. Place wheels on the rails or the strips of aluminum foil and watch them take off. If they don’t move, check your magnets and make sure they‘re on the wire so the poles are pointing in opposite directions.