Introduction: How to Make a Coilgun.

Picture of How to Make a Coilgun.

This tutorial will show you how to make a coil gun. I WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF YOU HURT OR KILL YOURSELF! This coil gun does work but is VERY weak. It does shoot, but not very far ( 2-3 ft). I mainly made it to see if the charging circuit works.

1 disposable camera- you can get them from places that develop pictures. I used a FUJIFILMS camera.
enamel-coated magnet wire. I used 22-gauge wire.
1 momentary push-button from Radioshack
1 DPDT  Toggle switch from Radioshack
some tape - I used scotch tape.
AA battery holder ( the one that holds 2 batteries )
BIC pen

soldering iron
flat head screwdriver with a plastic handle
wire strippers

Step 1: Taking Apart the Camera.

Picture of Taking Apart the Camera.

1st- Take the wrapper off of the camera.
2nd- Remove the battery.
3rd-Open up the camera. This is where the screwdriver can come in handy. * ONCE OPEN DO NOT TOUCH THE CAPACITOR ( the thing that looks like a battery)*
4th- Touch  the metal end of the screwdriver to the 2 leads of the capacitor. If you don't know where to touch it look in the pics. This will create a large spark.
5th-Remove the circuit from the camera housing

Step 2: Working on the Circuit.

Picture of Working on the Circuit.

1st- Find where your battery was located and either desolder the leads or shorten the leads.
2nd-Solder 1 wire to each of the leads where your battery was located.
3rd-Solder the switch to one of the wires. Solder one wire to pin 3 and solder a new wire to pin 2.
4th- Solder the wire from pin 2  to the battery pack and make sure it goes to the right side of the battery-pack (+ to +and - to -)
5th- Solder the negative end of the battery-pack to the negative wire you soldered on the circuit.
6th-There will be a spot where you push a button or flip a switch. You will need to remove all metal on that part and solder a wire to the points so it will always be on.
7th-Solder 1 wire to each of the wires on the capacitor.
( see pictures for more detail)

Step 3: The Coil

Picture of The Coil

Now is the hardest part to me...winding the coil.
Get the magnet wire and tape some of the wire down 30mm from the end of the pen and start wrapping the the wire as tight as you can for 30mm.  Stop at 30mm and start winding back on your coil but do not change direction, either clock-wise or counter-clockwise. I made 4-5 layers of coils just for testing. Solder 1 wire  to each wire on the coil.

Step 4: Connecting the Coil to the Circuit.

Picture of Connecting the Coil to the Circuit.

On one of the wires you soldered to the coil solder the momentary push-button.
Solder the wire from the capacitor to the push-button.
Solder the other wire on the capacitor to the coil and you're done!


Flip the toggle switch to the on position and you will hear a whining noise. This is normal. Once the light on the board is fully lit up, turn off the switch, push the push-button and it will shoot.

Step 5: My New Coilgun

I want to make a new coilgun with a capacitor bank and 26-gauge wire. I want to use photo-flash capacitors you find in disposable cameras 


The Science Brony (author)2016-03-09

A good suggestion would be to use several of those capacitors in parallel. The magnetic field strength is directly proportional to the current running through the coil, and capacitors in parallel produce greater current. Also, use a thyristor or any high power mosfet switch to activate the coil as not to ruin any components.

hrx1016 THE INSANE (author)2016-01-18

Will a coil like this.. Made from insulated wire.. Work in place of magnetic wire? Do i need to coil more wire?

And, to increase electromagnets' strength, can a piece of aluminum foil be wrapped below the coil on the pen tube??

thomas.burnell.94 (author)2015-04-19

how powerful must the capacitor be because I would rather just buy one instead

I'm using 320V, 165uF capacitors, I got 14 on ebay for ~$5. Had to wait a month or so since they were from china though.

devonk1 (author)2015-08-10

How many voltage or current do i need to shoot abt 30 feet from about 3-4 feet high

aniketoo7 (author)2015-07-10

Guys help me to make powerful coil gun if anyone have idea plzZ tell me

Scottlyguy (author)2015-04-02

Can you use this to make a multi-stage coilgun?

yashwanthvarma made it! (author)2015-02-28


MiladS (author)2014-12-07


I like to make One of these

Can you send me the detailed information of this construction?&send pieces of information values?

MiladS (author)2014-12-07


I like to make One of these

Can you send me the detailed information of this construction?&send pieces of information values?

MiladS (author)2014-12-07


I like to make One of these

Can you send me the detailed information of this construction?&send pieces of information values?

MiladS (author)2014-12-07


I like to make One of these

Can you send me the detailed information of this construction?&send pieces of information values?

lpetersen2 (author)2014-05-07

I also plan to make a coilgun like this but mine will be 800v and portable.Oh and is a 800v coilgun powerful enough?

Nilpmet (author)lpetersen22014-11-07

Because the strength of a magnetic field is determined by the current not the voltage, I would recommend putting multiple capacitors in parallel.

deliciouscupcake (author)2013-11-01

I really like your coilgun! Maybe you consider to make it more powerful. I have also made a coilgun for a science project and I have done a lot of measurings. The best is to make 1000 windings (100windings each layer, about 10 layers.. That's a lot i know :P) and you'll also need 5 flash capacitors. If you are interested, you can always check my coilgun:

NeoRecasata (author)2013-05-08

try RimstarOrg's winding technique

Lowski86 (author)2013-01-21

Anyone know how to wire ten of these fuji chargers in parallel? How many volts from the batteries could it handle before it fried?

dlemke (author)2012-08-26

Why not use a power source other than batteries while in the R&D portion of the project to charge the cap/s? This could save a lot of dough on expensive batteries.....


Pyrofan (author)dlemke2012-08-26

i use cheap AA's get them off ebay. $10 for a big bag full

berkaysam (author)2012-04-26

hi i want make a coilgun but its must be more powerful than this.and must be simple.if u can help me what i use and how much use for example 680 UF 400 V like this. thank u.

Pyrofan (author)berkaysam2012-04-27

You should be able to remove the capacitor from the board and put the ones you have in there. Check some other instructables on here and they my be able to help you more. Take some pics and post them here please.

sanagol (author)2011-11-27

what those it shoot??

Pyrofan (author)sanagol2011-11-27

it shoots nails, small metal rods, wire scraps( pretty much any thing you can fit in the barrel thats metal )

liddleLOL (author)2011-09-30

I need help:

I am making a charging circuit for a coilgun, but i accidentally bought non polar caps. I was wondering if i could still use these with some sort of circuit adjustment, or if i need to purchase all new polarized caps? Can you help?

Pyrofan (author)liddleLOL2011-09-30

I think they would work if you wired them up in parallel but dont quote me on this. Try to ask some other people with instructables on coliguns.

liddleLOL (author)Pyrofan2011-09-30



MetaRidley2 (author)2011-07-17

Ummm... I am very very very new to this so what is the relay for?

Pyrofan (author)MetaRidley22011-07-18

I don't have a relay in this version. If your question is from Electroinnovation comment then the relay from what I understand is like a switch but can handle more amps.

Electronics Man (author)2011-07-14

On step 2, you said: Solder one wire to pin 3 and solder a new wire to pin 2. What pins are you talking about? the ones on the transformer???

Pyrofan (author)Electronics Man2011-07-15

If you are using the switch I am using. The pins on the bottom are numbered.

Electronics Man (author)Pyrofan2011-07-15

Oh ok that makes more sense. Thanks

MetaRidley2 (author)2011-07-09

Do all the capacitors(if you have more than one) have to be the same type and size?

Pyrofan (author)MetaRidley22011-07-13

hey sorry i couldn't reply earlier. I had my wisdom teeth removed. To answer your question i believe that only the voltage has to be the same but don't quote me on this.

MetaRidley2 (author)Pyrofan2011-07-15

ok thanks, i will keep that in mind...

StartedBullet (author)2011-06-30

I can't seem to find the point where you "Push a button or flip a switch", I'm cannibalizing a FujiFilm camera and I'm new to circutry. May I have some help?

Thank you for the execellent tutorial.

Pyrofan (author)StartedBullet2011-07-01

Thanks for the complement! There should be a button or switch that you push on the camera case to engage the flash. Once you find that button or switch find on the circuit board the place where that button or switch would be and solder a wire on to the metal leads after you remove the metal. If that doesn't work then tell me and will try to help you more by posting some pics or a video. I will be glad to help in any way possible. ( I also am VERY new to circuitry). If what I said works and you finish it please post some pics in the comments.

StartedBullet (author)Pyrofan2011-07-04

Hey Pyrofan, do you know how to create a repulsive magnetic force with diamagnetic materials? I was thinking you could rig up one such field behind the bullet triggering at the same time as the pulling coil, causing the bullet to be pushed in the same direction as pulled.

Pyrofan (author)StartedBullet2011-07-05

No, I don't. Maybe some other people might. Sorry

StartedBullet (author)Pyrofan2011-07-05

Hey no problem, thanks for responding.

Hey, I finished the main part. It doesn't have a charging switch ATM ( just one nasty shocker until then ). Just one question, does this thing eat single AA 1.5 volt batteries? Becuase I only got a single flash of the light from one of these batteries ( used ), it was used and I can't buy new ones atm.

Anyways.... Pics!

Pyrofan (author)StartedBullet2011-07-08

Looks good! To answer your question about the batteries. I got 1 shot with the battery that it comes with. I'm still using the new battery I put in it. It seems to be that the "cheap" batteries they come with don't last as long as a Energizer or a Duracell battery.

For some reason, there are copy images I can't get rid of, and I really wish there was an edit button for replies.

.Unknown. (author)2011-06-25

Does the push button switch have any problem handling the current?

I doubt it that capacitor is pretty tiny (hence the 2-3 ft range) but once you start making huge capacitor banks thats when you should be using a relay instead of a simple push button.

You would still have to make sure the relay would handle the current!

Yeahh but even the smallest of relays are usually capable of 5A+ at 120v. I pulled one out of some stupid "as seen as tv" thing and found a 10A 240v relay and that one could be used in even the strongest of coilguns...But it never hurts to double check.

Pyrofan (author).Unknown.2011-06-26

No but when I start to make a more powerful one I will need a relay according to some other people.

vbexpressrocker (author)2011-06-26

When I was reading, I skimmed over the first and second step and only read the "TOUCH THE CAPACITOR ( the thing that looks like a battery)*", It sounded really stupid until i went back and read it again............ :D

Pyrofan (author)vbexpressrocker2011-06-26

Haha I did the same thing when I was typing it up.

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