Build a Real Ray Gun at Home (Homemade Ray Gun or Burning Pulse Laser Pistol)

Picture of Build a Real Ray Gun at Home (Homemade Ray Gun or Burning Pulse Laser Pistol)
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Step 1: Getting Cameras

Picture of Getting Cameras
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To begin with, you are going to need a ton of disposable cameras. Depending on how powerful you would like your ray gun to be, you will choose how many disposable cameras (though at a sufficient amount there is a ceiling to how much the pistol can pump out). Politely go to a nearby photo developing store and ask if they have any used disposable cameras.

From my experience, the store employees' willingness to cooperate is dependent on a few things:
1.) How old you look
2.) How much you look like you know what you are doing
3.) How dangerous your project sounds when they ask you what you need the cameras for

Once you have a big bag full of cameras, its time to start shucking! Inside each camera there are many useful components we will need. But before removing the outer plastic container, you must first remove the camera's battery, and have a thick piece of metal insulated from your hand. Use this to discharge the camera's capacitor very carefully by tapping the two pieces of metal jutting out from it. Once the capacitor is discharged and the battery is removed, the electronics are safe to touch. Remove them. I have attached a photo with the basic information on it. Though there are many different designs for disposable camera circuits, they all work similarly.

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ChandanM114 days ago
weargle1 year ago

could we use a YAG laser head

weargle1 year ago

is the SSY-1 laser head the same as SSY-1 YAG

Now I'm wondering if there are differences between coilgun and railgun... It works the same I think, the coilgun what I had made, has also a capacitorbank of disposable camera's and it works by flashcircuit of it:

I think that your explanation is very clear and interesting! :)
16ksidor1 year ago
Hello, We are interested in building this for a science project and we were wondering if you could email us some details?
Will the lazer head of a optical cd drive word
banders21 year ago
Can i get an in-line diagram of the circuitry of where the power is going?
Sir Henry1 year ago
I was just curious how many watts you would suggest for a soldering iron for this project?
at least 25 or 30, I have a 50-watt adjustable iron and it works like a charm. Unless you are soldering huge pieces of copper together, 30 is usually plenty.
01MadMan142 years ago
What kind of eye protection, if any, would you need when firing this gun? What if you were using a less powerful laser diode?
that is NOT a laser diode, it's a pulsed-output laser crystal powered with a flashlamp. You really need 1064nm-rated infrared safety goggles, but in a pinch you should just close your eyes when firing if you don't have IR goggles. if you are using a diode laser, it will be a continuus beam and not just pulses, and chances are good that it will be a visible wavelength like red (650 or 670nm) or blue (445 or 405nm) light. These require different goggles, because they have to block different colors of light.
At what point can it be fatal?
Please tell me.
at these power levels? probably not ever, the output is just not enough to do much more than either (A) blind you if it hits your eye or (B) ablate (vaporize rapidly) a small patch of skin 1/4 inch in diameter if it hits anywhere else. It will hurt like an extremely localized and REALLY bad sunburn or even a 3rd degree thermal burn, but there's no way it will kill. The only truly life-endangering part is the capacitor bank, which will give you a really nasty shock and possibly cause fibrillation if you are really unlucky.
I m not going to build this plus i hardly can find one camera.
Just curious
Hi, I'm interested in making this laser for a science project (with a few tweaks here and there). Could you possible email me some more detailed and in-depth instructions, with a supply/material list and such? My email is

I'd really appreciate it if you could help me. Thanks!
iFirefly2 years ago
Dude, excellent post! I LoL'd a few times, couldn't figure out whether you were being serious or not, but the effect was priceless nonetheless. I'd really like it if you were wearing safety glasses, though, when you were switching the cap banks, only a few inches from those irreplaceable peepers.

I believe you were wearing two layes of gloves, right? Spot on.
Treknology2 years ago
I will also add my own safety comment. Those latex gloves are affording you very little protection. The develop micro-tears very easily and a not-so-nice solder blob could easily puncture the glove and zap you.

If you want safety in gloves, at least use washing-up gloves.

A friend of mine was playing with a Tesla coil, and wanted me hold a cable. I wouldn't touch it until I was wearing leather gloves and then holding the wire in insulated pliers. I could still feel the electrical pulses.

"(Unless you wish to also ban archery, shooting skeet, campfires, AC power (as suggested by Edison because of the dangers of AC over DC)" The only reason that AC was more dangerous than DC was because it threatened the monopoly Edison was attempting to establish. Edison's greatest gift to the world is the electric chair. He obtained a sponsorship from Westinghouse who had no idea what he was sponsoring. Edison proposed that his new witch-burning stake be referred to as the 'Westinghouse'. Ironically the modern versions of these barbaric device all run on DC.

You've all seen those search lights that shine up into the air? They're running DC arcing between two carbon electrodes. So you can imagine what an arc like that could do to your home if it ran high voltage DC.
llamatard3 years ago
could this possibly b fatal?
TheHomebrewGuru (author)  llamatard3 years ago
It is much like a BB gun. Capacitors can (possibly) leave a pretty nasty sting so respect them! As for the laser it may damage eyesight, but not kill.
aww :'(
roosemberth3 years ago
Hello, thank you for this excellent post, but I was wondering if you could please post a diagram of the camera's circuit, because I've been looking for disposable cameras, and they have no idea about them (I live in El Salvador), so, I need a diagram to follow

Thanks in advance!!!!!!!!!

Ps: I've already have the capacitor bank made :p
Sorry I forgot to ask if a "650nm 250mw High Power Laser Diode" from

could be placed instead of a SSY1, thanks
this thing seems as if it would fry the laser diode in it the first time you fire it. did it do that to yours? and this seems lethal and illegal so i do not want to risk if it is, but i will do it anyways. please inform me if i am taking the wrong risk.
maxiaxie3 years ago
If you have a circuit that forces you to hold the button to charge, could you theoretically use that as a safety switch? It would mean that if you were holding it and accidentally fired, you would not have charged the capacitors enough to fire a pulse. Or am I getting the wrong end of the stick? I just thought it would be a pretty nifty idea to have a safety switch. Could you add a continual 2-way switch into the firing mechanism to prevent accidental firing?

Finally, this is kinda stupid of me, but wouldn't a C class or D class battery work for longer that a pair of AA's?
tinker2343 years ago
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No not at all sorry if you go too powerful you will burn out the SSY-1 I think they are closely rated to 900 volts he is probably running closer to 700 volts when firing
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No they are not diodes have a tolerance that is actually pretty low I don't know where you heard that but you are very wrong and you will blow out quite a few diodes
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Actually physics proves that isn't based on the simple fact of what a laser is it is a tube that allows a build up of photons and then allows them to shoot out a little hole in a straight line and the part of the laser that creates the photons is only rated to create so much photons if you over power it it heats up to high and melts causing it to not create anymore photons and no longer be a laser. There is a maximum amount of voltage any laser can take otherwise you would see Ray guns I promise the military has tried it and it's just not feasible
in physics says laser power is infinte however we need to recalbrate it for this to work
Actually, my physics loving friend, the laws of physics state that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. By extrapolation, we can conclude that in order to obtain infinite power from some process, we would need to put in infinite power to begin with, implying that we already had infinite power, thus opening up a paradox. Even though hypothetically particle colliders could have a power output of ten times that of the energy we put in (though we can't do that yet either), even if we could obtain ten times the power we put in, or a hundred times, or a billion times, we would still need infinite power. You see, you have committed one of the classic blunders: you have misinterpreted infinity as a tangible number, and it is out of kindness that I correct you. Infinity is an imaginary concept, and can never be attained. If I put in a billion volts into a machine giving back 10 times power, I would have ten billion volts. If I did the same with a trillion volts, I would have ten trillion volts. I could do the same with a googolplex, a number so impossibly large that there are not that many atoms in the universe, and I would have ten googolplex volts. Infinity is infinite, it cannot be described using numbers. Infinity is unattainable. In other words, walk up to whoever told you physics says lasers have unlimited energy and correct then before they dull the minds of their next prodigies.
thansk forgot about that
tazerboy3 years ago
C shaffer212, your method of being safe does not work, because the capacitor has its own + and - terminals. So if you were to get shocked, the electricity would only travel within the skin that contacted by the + AND -. Remember electricity would only go to the shorted distance, to complete a circuit. Therefore it does not matter if you work with one hand or two hands. the energy from the caps will never reach your heart. Unless the caps discharge on your chest. or both of your hand touch the 2 terminals.
tinker2343 years ago
wow hey how could i make it go thourgh hevay metals in the compact size
With current technology you really can't sorry
DynoYoshi3 years ago
wow this instructable was superb!
niac3 years ago
You arn't kidding when you say dangerous. I had a scary event personally a few years ago with a disposable camera charging circuit, when I accidentally discharged a single charged cap from it through me. I went into shock briefly. It was painful, and scary. Be VERY careful with these things.
It's also a good idea to try and keep only one hand at a time close to the capacitors and anything that conducts from them. I had a scare when it went from one hand to the other and it felt like a punch in the chest!

The experience was shocking, to say the least.
Yeah, totally. It /is/ good advice to work with only one hand when doing that. And not offer a ground path or something via somewhere else through your body.
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