Introduction: Electromagnet

Picture of Electromagnet

In this Tutorial, i will explain how to create a basic gauss cannon with various materials. This can be very dangerous with high voltages. Be careful. The higher the power, the faster the projectile. This is my first instructable.

Step 1: First Step

Picture of First Step

FIrst, Get a tube, it doesn't matter what material, and get some wire. Take some black wire tape, and tape an end of the wire onto one of the ends of the tube. Start wrapping the wire around the tube, and keep the wire close together and very tightly wound. Once you get to the other end, start wrapping the other way, and stop about two-thirds down the tube. Move down the tube about one third of the way down the tube and wrap the wire until the end of the tube. Now cut the end of the wire, leaving about 5 inches of wire off the tube-coil. Now tape the end of the coil, so it doesn't go loose. Make sure your finished result looks like the picture below.

Step 2: Step Two

Picture of Step Two

Now, attach some wires to your two wires coming off your coil, and then attach the two wires you just attached to your coil, and attach them to a power source.

Step 3: Step Three

Picture of Step Three

Now put a metal object in the end with the thinner coil, and it should fly out with a changeable speed.
Now you have an effective gauss cannon that can shoot various metal objects with great speed. Enjoy!


pro5200 (author)2012-02-24

Hi, I am interested to make it
but how to rolling direction of the cord, whether clockwise or opposite the clock?

Articas (author)2010-03-20

how thick doe sthe pipe have to be
can i use magnet wire
can i use a pizeoignitor as a power source
and can i use a pentube

lzornberg (author)Articas2011-03-28

a piezoelectric ignition (which I assume you meant by pizeoignitor) would be a sub optimal power source.

the electromagnet is only polarized when electricity flows through it

a piezoelectric source only produces a single electrical discharge, rather than a continuous current

your piezoelectric electromagnet (piezomagnet?) would only last as long as the electrical discharge. you probably would not even notice it.

theexpert (author)Articas2010-11-13

yes you could dont know about the power source though

John-4 (author)2010-03-03

cool idea im making it with magnet wire  i think it would work better

sheepborg (author)2009-09-15

so you simply coil back and forth with decreasing length?

pufferfish (author)sheepborg2009-11-24

no it has to be thicher at the firering end and thiner at the inlet

max911 (author)2009-10-29

how can you make an electro magnet, push things and pull things?

steven07 (author)2007-08-01
I think the magnet may have a greater effect if the coil is all wound the same way . read up on the "right hand grip rule" it helps with the basics.
FIrst, Get a tube, it doesn't matter what material
The material actually does have an effect actually in a sense some materials "amplify" a magnetic field. So a iron tube may produce a stronger magnet .
however since its hollow i'm not to sure.

Anyway nice instructable

nooo not iron will just become a magnet!!!!!! you don't want, that u need something that is thin and is not able to become magnetic. and what is happening with the steel projectile down the barrel is it is getting drawn to the center of the coil where the magnetic field is strongest, and then the power supply to the coil is cut and the projectile is not stopped at the center, the projectile would continue it path down the barrel and to on.............. please look the theory on this other wise your cannon will not work!!!!!! 1 or 10 9v batteries will not power a cannon........... try massive capacitors! and look up how capacitors works and the properties of them discharging.......

Wouldn't this be a coil gun?

szechuan53 (author)wizerd 7452009-07-29

gauss and coil guns are the same thing.

wizerd 745 (author)szechuan532009-07-29


and it does matter what material you use for your barrel!

chennate (author)steven072007-08-01

I think the magnet may have a greater effect if the coil is all wound the same way . read up on the "right hand grip rule" it helps with the basics.

I think you're right. I don't know all of the specifics, but I am pretty sure that the one layer that you wrap the oppisite way will provide an electromagnetic force in the direction opposite that of the other two layers, canceling out some of the power. If, when you finished your first layer you went back to the end you started wrapping and then wrapped in the same direction, then repeated for the third wrapping, you should get the optimum force

Kiteman (author)steven072007-08-01

An iron tube would actually concentrate the field in the walls of the tube. The tube should be non-magnetic, and the projectile should be magnetic, so that the projectile acts as the core and the field is concentrated therein.

highvoltage (author)2008-03-30

IF you use bare copper wire, the electrons won't go in the spiraly way around the tube and just go straight to the end. It needs to be somehow insulated.

Aztof (author)highvoltage2009-06-30

To insulate it, just cover it in electrical tape after you are done wraping

wotot2 (author)2008-07-02

arrrrg=( i got half way thru and the wire is too short

randempedestrian (author)2008-04-29

Despite what bart416 said awhile back, the voltage DOES matter (indirectly). I=V/R, so, given the same resistance (same coil), the higher your voltage is the higher your current is. You should ideally use a battery capable of supplying a lot of current (one with a high C-rating) such as an RC car battery. Maybe hook a few of them up in series :) Make sure you have enough distance of wire though.. if your wire is too short, the resistance is smaller, and therefor current is higher with a constant voltage. So if you have high voltage and a short wire, things will get pretty hot!

QwertyuioLP (author)2008-01-27

Will a battery work or do u hav 2 use the mains?

brad1150 (author)2008-01-09

Can I use bare copper wire with this, it seems to be all that I have lying around.

TheAirSpecialist (author)2007-12-22

it is not a volt meter its called a multimeter...... god

iainXYLAR (author)2007-12-06

how far can it shot with, say, a 9 volt battery? how many volts would you recommend?

bart416 (author)iainXYLAR2007-12-08

The voltage doesn't really matter at all. The strength of the magnetic field depends on the current, a battery can only deliver a limited amount of mAmps. If you want the formulas, search for Lorentz Force on the internet, you'll probably find them. You could than calculate the distance it'll go with some formulas that I'm too lazy to get into.

TheAirSpecialist (author)bart4162007-12-22

i have 7x 60v 37000uf electrolytic capacitors, i am planing to join them up in series to have a 420v 37000uf capacitor and then i am going to make a up a coil and so on, i still need a high amperage silcion linear switching device from some where. but i will make 1 soon i am currently working on my hi psi cannon at the moment................

scifipirate (author)2007-12-05

My coil's ends begin and end at the base of the barrel. Should I do it like yours and have the - and + at either end of the barrel?

bart416 (author)2007-11-18

One question, how much amps did you put through that wire?

M-26-7 (author)2007-08-13

What kind of wire did you use?

Jduffy (author)M-26-72007-08-24

16 gauge, 600vcap.

FrenchCrawler (author)2007-08-13

Further electromagnetic details can be found here:

sgt.paper (author)2007-08-08

mine wont work please help!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

chennate (author)2007-07-31

So the power source you are using is a cordless drill charger? Cool!

pyrokid (author)2007-07-31

pretty sweet. imma try this soon.

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