Introduction: Disposable Camera Coil Gun

This instructable is going to show you how to build your own coil gun from a disposable camera. It will go over the materials needed, and how to build it.

Here is a video to help show how to make it and give a demonstration.

Step 1: Materials

You will need to get lots of cheap materials to make this coilgun. Most of them can be found on ebay or in old electronics.


  1. Disposable camera circuit board(Can be found on ebay or in disposable flash cameras)
  2. Flash capacitors(Can be found on ebay or in cameras, the one from the camera will work, but the more capacitors, the more power the gun has.)
  3. 1 AA battery case.
  4. Project enclosure (I used polycarbonate, it protects the electronics and protects you from getting shocked.)
  5. 2 switches(One needs to be a higher amperage switch)
  6. 28 gauge magnet wire
  7. Pen tube

Step 2: Tools

Tools are a must have for this project, you need to have some tools to complete this project.


  1. Soldering Iron
  2. Wire strippers
  3. Wire cutters
  4. Needle nose pliers
  5. Hot glue gun

Step 3: Wiring the Charge Switch

First, you need to extract the circuit board from the camera. This can be done by undoing the case and snipping all the wire connections. Make sure to remember the battery polarity when you take out the battery!!!!! Find the charge button on the camera board. This should be in the front of the board(No large components) Remove the metal cap of the button and solder a wire to each pole. Then solder the wires to a small switch.

Step 4: Wiring the Battery

When taking out the circuit board, make note of the polarity of the battery terminals. Solder the wires from a 1 AA battery case to the battery terminals on the board. Add a switch in series as the master on/off switch. This should almost complete the board preparation.

Step 5: Creating the Capacitor Bank

To make the capacitor bank, you need to first, remember the polarity of the capacitor on the board, then cut it off. Take that capacitor, and find the voltage rating for it. Then you need to find other capacitors like it. I found some in other disposable cameras and a lot of 20 on Ebay. All of them totaled up equaled to about 1000 microFarads. Finally, Solder them all together in PARALLEL and then solder them with some wire, to the correct polarity, to the capacitor spot on the camera flash board.

Step 6: Coil Wiring

After the capacitor bank is complete, add a wire from each pin of the paralleled capacitors. Add a switch in series with one of the wires. This switch needs to be high amperage(I blew up a low amperage pushbutton), I used a wall switch. Then you will need to make the coil. You can do this by winding a few hundred turns of 28 gauge magnet wire around a pen tube. I added electrical tape on each side to support the wire. The more turns, the more power!

Step 7: The Project Box

I cut a capacitor bank box out of poly-carbonate and hot glued the pieces together. I used an altoids tin to hold the circuit board. Everything else is going to be glued to the poly-carbonate box. This is the creative part of the project, your project box can be anything you want, from looking like mine, to looking like a pistol, to looking like a futuristic ray gun.

Step 8: Shooting It!

This is the most fun part about building a coilgun. To fire, first turn it on. Then, flip the charge switch on until the neon light glows red.(The high pitched charge whine will stop too.) After that, load the gun. Load a screw, nail, or anything magnetic into the pen tube until half of it is in the coil.(Refer to picture) Finally, press the fire button and have fun!

You can watch it fire in the youtube video above.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any harm you cause yourself and others during the making or using of this project. Do at your own risk. Charges capacitors are deadly!!


SteamWolf03 made it!(author)2017-01-10

hey, great project, but would it still work if i used two 2.7v 350 farad supercapacitors?

LabRatMatt made it!(author)2016-12-24

I made a slightly smaller version with fewer capacitors. I still need to build an enclosure, the project is a mess right now, but it works!

uberEpic53 made it!(author)2015-08-12

nice instructable!

out of curiosity, charge it up and short the wires for the flash...

(ps, stand back and video it, i dont know what happens)

(pps, i'm NOT responsible if you die or anything...)

LabRatMatt made it!(author)2016-12-24

I tried that with my version of this project. It makes a nice spark but that's about it.

tanner_tech made it!(author)2015-07-13


n.lambrechts25 made it!(author)2016-02-03

Hey tanner can i get your help?

n.lambrechts25 made it!(author)2016-02-03

Would you have to use 1 aa battery? I'm making this using a 470uf 200v capacitor. Could I use 2 c batteries to charge the capacitor faster. I'm also thinking of buying more than one capacitor and make a bank of them.

n.lambrechts25 made it!(author)2016-02-03

I need help fast since this is for a science project. Thanks in advance

tricky_monkey made it!(author)2015-07-13


About This Instructable




More by tanner_tech:12 Volt 50 Amp Bench Integrated Power SupplyElectromagnetic Fidget Spinner AcceleratorDIY Cathode Ray Tube: Interacting With Electrons
Add instructable to: