SHOUTOUT TO KIPKAY FOR POSTING A VIDEO ON THIS: my youtube channel is Coolnventions

What Did I Make?

I am 16 years old and made a covert air powered bb gun, that is rapidly realizes a burst of air to propel a projectile at maximum possible velocity. I wanted something powerful, yet small and covert, so I chose a maglite flashlight because it could hold high pressures, and had a threaded back cap, which was crucial to a serviceable design

How did you make it?
This was made by first disassembling the flashlight, and gutting the bulb assembly, then you are left with a empty tube. The barrel is then centered and epoxied in so that there is room left at the bottom for a piston to move. The battery cap to the flashlight is drilled, and fitted for the Shrader Valve, and then is epoxied in. Finally a piston is fabricated by stamping a thick piece of rubber. The whole thing is assembled, and is pressurized with the pump, the gun is fired by pushing the pin in the shrader valve. When the valve is pushed, a small amount of air is vented, causing a suction to pull the piston back and dump the rest of the air into the barrel.

Where did you Make it?
I made this at my home, and in my garage. This was a fun summer project for me, and it turned out very nicely.

What did you learn?
I learned the basic principles of Penumatic Design, and methods of achieving supersonic velocities by using physics equations, and simulations. Using the equations for drag, and velocity I was able to estimated the pressure with about 9% error to the actual thing, which was measured by a chronograph to 850 feet per second.

High Pressure Epoxy (JB Weld should work)
Pipe cutter (or metal saw)
Mini Mag lite
4.5mm internal diameter brass tube (varying length, check next step)
Shrader valve (from bike tire)
Shock Pump (sold at sporting stores)
Thick rubber
Plumbers Tape

**if you need more help go to www.spudfiles.com**

Coolnventions (author) 2 years ago
HELLO: Guys please dont forget to VOTE or COMMENT, it really makes my day :D
Sir Bacon5 months ago
Where did you find a 4.5mm internal diameter barrel? I can only find 4.5mm external diameter barrels
AJMansfield10 months ago
Pressurize gun then insert ammo? You have it backwards. In order for safe operation of a diaphragm-valve based air cannon, the ammunition must be inserted prior to charging the cannon. Add a small piece of wire or something near the back of the barrel so the BBs don't fall past the diaphragm.
mni ming yun10 months ago


Chris Meta1 year ago

I haven't made this thing yet, but I wanted to say that I've been visiting this site for a good while, but I just now made an account and this is my first "favorite", collection entry, and comment. The pressure-vessel/piston/pressure-trigger design is ingenious, and the animation illustrating it made the difference in my understanding the description. I always have sound turned off because too many people make pages with video/sound that auto-starts (grrr!) and I open a lot of tabs. I was extra pleased that sound wasn't necessary. And, the video is perfect it gets to the point without unnecessary yakking and waving the thing around - many video makers should take a lesson from that. The only (very minor) issue is that the KipKay video link is dead. But it's not at all necessary in understanding the project, so no biggie. Good job!

bmxordie1 year ago

just finished mine!!!!! its awesome!!!! sweet design!!!!!!

bmxordie1 year ago

where the hell do you buy those darts? send me the link.



Excellent take on the basic design for a coaxial piston, if I am not mistaken?

I've made one like it.

hi, i would like to build this air gun, but i was wondering if the size of the flash light matters and if i can use a Maglite solitaire for the gun.

sputh2 years ago
sorry but i believe that the sound barrier is 1129fps :( very impressive though!
Can you post better pics of the piston? I can't figure out how to do the piston... And what is the best way to build it(parts used to make piston)
lubosh.occ2 years ago
question please ... description says "200psi-12 inches (suggested, easy to pump to pressure, and almost supersonic velocities (850 feet per second)" but the mini mag lite is 5-3/4" ... so this actual build is slightly different or what am i missing there? thanks
Coolnventions (author)  lubosh.occ2 years ago
The barrel sticks out, or you can make a detachable extension barrel
Akoi Meexx2 years ago
Voted. This is a great buildlog! The piston animation was especially handy, and made understanding the mechanics behind your pellet gun much easier. I'll have to build this with the next scrapped Maglite I come across.
I'm building one out of a little orange aluminium flashlight that was broken. Found some carbon fiber tape to spruce it up a little bit. I will post pictures when it is finished.

Great Instructable!
Just be careful with the pressures you are using, if the tube walls arent thick, then dont go above 250 psi
ray742 years ago
Very cool. I'm going to try this.
Coolnventions (author)  ray742 years ago
Cool, let me know if you need help. Tell your friends too lol
wilgubeast2 years ago
Up next: try it with some DIY ballistic gel.