Make A Coilgun

If you want to impress your friends with the power of science, get into the workshop and make a coilgun. All you need are some electrical supplies to create this super-cool, high-tech weapon. So head on over to your local electronics store and get ready to wow your friends.


1. Make the body of the gun. Wrap copper wire around the openings of a PVC pipe. You must create a wide coil, so wrap it around a few hundred times on each end. Leave the two ends of the wire exposed to work on in a later step.

2. Cut the barrel of the gun to make the PVC pipe about 6-inches thick.

3. Create a ring out of steel wire to put inside the gun. It should be slightly smaller than the PVC pipe itself, so that it fits snugly inside the barrel of the gun. You can twist the steel wire with pliers and then clip the ends to create a circle.

4. Take apart the disposable camera. Remove the flash circuit to use in your gun. Find the capacitor, which is the largest implement in the camera. Attach the copper wire to the both ends of the capacitor, and then attach it to the coil wires of your barrel. This leaves you with two free wires that you’ll deal with later.

5. Construct the body of the gun. You can use wood, metal or cardboard to create the hand piece of the gun if you desire.

6. Try it out. Connect one of the coil wires to a 9V battery, and then load the steel ring into the barrel of the gun. Connect the other two loose ends of the coil wire to complete the circuit. The steel ring should shoot across the room.