Picture of How to build a simple Plasma Rifle aka Electrothermal Rifle
In this Instructable we will show you how to build a simple electrothermal rifle that can shoot bbs using the plasma burst from a capacitive discharge. This design is easily scalable. If you use a higher voltage or larger capacity power supply you will be able to fire the projectile faster. Using only 1 camera as a power supply will launch the bb out at very low velocities. This project uses high voltages and can shoots bbs at dangerously high speeds. We take no responsibility for damages caused by this project. Check out our other inventions and projects at our site WillCorp .

Here is a video of our high power plasma rifle in action

Step 1: Constructing the plasma rifle

Picture of Constructing the plasma rifle
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We'll show you how to build a small low powered plasma rifle using only common everyday items like a disposable camera for the power supply.. The rifle uses pressure produced by the several thousand degree plasma produced by a capacitive discharge to launch a projectile across the room. It transforms electrical energy into kinetic without any motors, gases, explosives or anything else. A great way to amaze your friends. Or have a mini war. Warning high voltages required for the capacitor bank may cause shock.
Simply watch the embedded video for instructions

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am i right in thinking that you are just putting the discharge of a high voltage capacitor from a camera flash through very narrow wires( the steel wool), this causes them to explode and lets you propel your projectile? i can't seem to see the video.
can some oe tell me what the compasitor looks like how to discharge the current to the steel wool and how to insulant it would liquid rubber work
im still a newbie to wire a i keep getting burn wounds
TheDoci6 years ago
I trid to bould a bit mor powerful version of that and it dosent work it discharges the 200 µF 330V caps but it dosent vaporiz the steal wool. can you pleas help me? Its a cool project!!! But it dosent work for me :( it just dosent work so pleas help me!!!!!!!!!!!!
try using aluminum.
or uranium/ plutonium lol
luig Hightechk3 years ago
actually that sounds like a great idea, both metals are chemically very reactive, however they are toxic and unless u have plans to poison the area u fire in, dont use it but still a good idea for extremes.
if i was you i would put a bit of flashh cotton infront of the wool so wen the wool heats up it ignites the flash cotton and that becomes your actual propoltation or watever u wana call it.. lol
If you used Uranium-233, which can be extracted from vaseline glass, the pellet would not only fire at 2000-3000 FPS, but it would explode on contact. please kids, don't try this at home.
Pyro Fiend4 years ago
I don't say a video.
Does the steel wool stay so it can be reused?
Sorry, no. Once you burn steel wool, you can't do it again. You can do the same thing by touching a 9v battery to steel wool, except here, it's expelled outwards.
clean your work area!!!
or pistol...!
Crail6 years ago
so... What do I do if I can't understand anything in the video?
pyrotech256 years ago
Gamer9176 years ago
i really want to make one of these and put it inside a halo plasma pistol toy and the switch to fire the bb would be in the trigger of the gun
kjjohn6 years ago
how far would this shoot with a 940uf 400volt capacitor bank (75J of energy)? I am using a shaped projectile (iron rod modified into a bullet)
raedonchar6 years ago
I'm planning on using this as a step in my Rube Goldberg machine for a class project. Would it be possible to charge a 160v, 220uf capacitor by plugging it into an outlet (or would I need to build a charger circuit) and then using that to short the steel wool? All I really need it to do is knock over a contained domino.
raedonchar: DON'T use an outlet to charge a capacitor! Seriously. Wall voltage is really dangerous, and capacitors don't really charge on AC (Alternating current--it's what your house power is, look it up on wikipedia), they just do sme freaky tesla ( again, look up tesla on wikipedia, he was an engineer) stuff. It is much safer to build a battery-operated charging circuit and use that. I hope this helps!
mzw6 years ago
Hi. i'm doing this for a science project at school lol ok so i used a standard bic pen, ripped off the tip, drilled 2 1/16th inch holes at the back etc. i also have capacitors that i got from used disposable cameras. how much steel wool should i use? i got the finest steel wool and everything, but whenever i connect the electrodes there is just a spark. please help?
milamber6 years ago
nice ible me and one of my freinds are doin this on the weekend with slight variation and a masive cap bank power suply were planing on making somthing with a 70cm barel also a designed a cartridge for it look
plasma shell 1.0.bmp
Not a bad idea...
ItsTheHobbs6 years ago
So, basically the steel wool is the "gunpowder", that's lit by an electric charge? That's pretty neat, very original
This is actually not an original design, it has already been done many times.
geckowil (author)  Xellers6 years ago
At the time when i had built it in high school i had never seen any one else designs for anything similar. the only thing i have seen similar sense is power labs electrothermal gun
Killa-X6 years ago
I still never got an answer from the maker of this instructables... Whats the schematic here to connect the flyback up right... I'm having problems getting the caps to discharge >_> what pins are what on your 4-way screw chamber!
teapotking6 years ago
could this be used to create a full auto paintball gun or would there be issues with corrosion/paintballs bursting in the barrel from the heat/paint shorting out parts that shouldn't?
jeez i was just joking, i could kill myself doing that, and i'm only 15, so i don't particularly want that to happen.
If you go on youtube there's a guy who made a ETG that can rapid fire...

DrWeird1177 years ago
0% plasma, yet 100% pwnage
There actually is some plasma in there
it arcs it least a bit in there making a bit of plasma for a very short time its not shooting any plasma but it does make an amount
eh forgets it
pyrohaz6 years ago
Hey, what did you use for a trigger?
DrWeird1176 years ago
\/\/here I)035 the plasma come from?
nice, favorite, +4.5
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