Instructables has a huge variety of Steampunk* and Cyberpunk* Guns that are true testiments to the creative genious of their makers but I'm often disapointed that they are no more than costume pieces (even if they are truly awesome to look at). I find myself thinking "wow that's incredible . . .it'd be really cool if it worked too!" and so I set out to create a rifle that will actually fire a bullet accurately but at the same time looks really steam/cyberpunk!

***NOTE:: I do not claim to even be knowledgeable much less an expert on the steampunk and cyberpunk styles . . . I'm merely an intrigued outsider. I've always been interested in this type of stuff but in reality there are people much more in tune to this universe than me. If you're one of those people please feel free to critique my design and terminology but please remember to be constructive and follow the "be nice" policy!

***Safety Note/Disclaimer*** I've been around power tools since I could walk and so there's a lot of safety issues that are innate to me that I probably will fail to mention. These powerful devices are extremely dangerous so extreme caution is required if you plan to follow these instructions. Never operate any of these tools without someone else present or at least within earshot. Hearing and Eye protection are a must and for heaven's sake keep your fingers away from anything sharp and/or moving!
Also, the finished product will be dangerous as it IS functional and it is up to YOU to make sure you're being safe with it.

Step 1: The Bowels of the Beast

And lo the beast turned its hideous face unto me
and unleashed its swift and horrible fury

Okay so the guts of this thing are really straightforward: it's basically a spud gun and there's a lot of instructables and other online resources that tell you how to make this so for mine I will be very brief and quite vague . . . this part of the instructable is not sufficient for a first timer to create a spud gun but should be enough for someone who's got a little experience.

  • 2" PVC end cap
  • two 2" PVC couplings
  • a section of 2" PVC for attaching the above
  • 2" to 3/4" PVC reducer
  • 3/4 PVC nipple
  • 3/4" Solenoid Automatic Sprinkler Valve
  • 3/4" PVC Male to female threaded 90 degree elbow (both ends threaded)
  • 3/4" PVC Male to female threaded 90 degree elbow (only male end threaded)
  • 2 foot 3/4" PVC Pipe(longer is possible but I liked the look of the 2 footer)
  • PVC primer and Cement (yes of course it has to be PVC cement not ABS)
  • a roll of teflon tape
  • brass 1/4" shraeder valve (home depot failed here but ace had this)
  • Two brass 1/4" hose barbs (one end barbed the other threaded)
  • A Blowgun (the compressor type not the Amazonian)
  • small hose clamps
  • 2' section of pressure rated 1/4" Inside Diameter Hose (Homedepot failed again but ace had this)

  • a vise is useful for holding things still
  • a hand saw
  • Cresent wrenches the right size to turn the barbs and shraeder valve
  • a tap set (optional but really useful)
  • a drill and assorted bits
  • screwdriver (though a screwgun is quicker)

Take your end cap, couplings, 2" pipe, and reducer and cement them together. Wrap the nipple in teflon tape and screw it into the reducer. Make sure the seams are as small as possible so that the compression chamber looks like a tank instead of a section of piping. Drill a hole near the top that goes through 2 layers of PVC and tap the hole for your shraeder valve. Wrap your valve in teflon tape and screw it in; the wrenches help a lot here.

While that's drying go ahead and unscrew the solenoid from your sprinkler valve, unscrew the top and open the valve up. Inside you'll see a rubber diaphragm. Off to one side of it you should see a little plastic spike with a hole in it. carefully remove the valve and take this spike out from the other side. If you're inquisitive like me go ahead and play around with the valve to make sure you fully understand how it works.

Now there's 2 types of valves out there: one type has a guide rod in the middle of the diaphragm and one does not. If yours does then you'll need to drill off to one side. Mine did not so now I drilled a hole through the middle of the top and tapped it for one of the barbs. Wrap a barb's threads in teflon tape and screw it into the hole with the wrench. Don't screw it in so far that it interferes with the diaphragm or you'll get a weird honking noise every time you fire it. I sorta liked this accidental honking so I left it in (see video). Now your sprinkler is modded. You can also buy a pre-modded one from a couple of online stores but where's the fun and learning in that!?

Take your modded valve and screw it onto the other end of the nipple (with teflon tape) making sure the arrows on the valve point FROM the tank TO the other side(barrel) screw your elbows together and into the other end of the valve and then insert your barrel. I had an iron sight from an airsoft sniper rifle but since the rifle has a scope I never put the sight on. I applied this now for aiming and coolnes' sake. Remember steampunk modding is all about found objects! But making a sight from scratch is possible too with a bit of effort.

The other barb goes into the back end of the blow gun(more teflon).

The NEXT DAY (pleas DO wait for your cement to dry completely) I put the hose onto my valve and blowgun to test the thing out and you can see the completed but unpainted assembly in the pictures.

If this is your first spud gun these instructions are certainly inadequate but fear not! Spudfiles has a good tutorial on the valve mod with discussion and troubleshooting and this site has plenty of other tuts on the subject.


If you're curious, the valve has 2 chambers in it . . .one above the diaphragm and one below. The diaphragm has a hole that lets both chambers share equal pressure and so the center of the diaphragm (held by a spring) presses on the outlet keeping it sealed. when the blowgun is released the pressure from the top half exits faster than the small hole in the diaphragm will allow the tank pressure through and so we end up with a massive pressure difference very quickly. this pulls the diaphragm up and the pressure exits through the previously blocked hole and out the barrel. this all happens faster than greased lightening and so much more energy is conserved than if you use a simple, slow ball valve. This conservation leads directly to superior performance.
wonderful ible.... Now I KNOW why I've been saving all my computer bits.. <br> <br>Live long and prosper <br> <br>MichaelMacNZ...Winners of the Americas Cup 2013
If you are interested in fully functional and very lethal - also very expensive - pneumatic weapons, of great artistry and strange design, try this web site: http://www.glbarnes.com/
Very cool . . .thanks for the site! Mr. Barnes has some seriously impressive work!
Less artistic but equally lethal are the Quackenbush airguns: <br>http://www.quackenbushairguns.com/index.htm <br>Before there was assault rifles, there were assault air guns: <br>http://www.beemans.net/images/Austrian%20airguns.htm <br>http://www.beemans.net/lewis-assault-rifle.htm
How well does it fit your shoulder? Also do you think this design of the stock could handle recoil?
It fits very well and comfortably and it can handle a little bit of recoil but since the projectile is not very dense and isn't accelerating very quickly (compared to a supersonic bullet from a high power rifle for example) the recoil is fairly minimal. This wouldn't translate too well to a more intense gun since the barrel is just strapped on top (risk of it sliding backwards off the stock and since it's not centered top to bottom, there would be lots of barrel rise) but with some modifications it certainly could work for something bigger.
Oooo, I like that this is functional. I also love the shape of that stock. Good combination of functionality and beauty. Why settle for just one, eh?
So after a long weekend and many hours swearing and taking the thing apart i have managed to fix it, there was a hole in the diaphragm and then it wouldn't seal and blahblahblah. main point is. its fixed and works now. i epoxied the hole where the solenoid was and started shooting balls of paper all over my basement. yay! i started testing it with bigger things and more psi and then things went bad. I could get it up to about 60 psi then the epoxy broke and all my air leaked out :/ im using gorilla epoxy. i just keep refixing the hole, but it will always break at right around 60 psi. Is there any stuff I could use that's better? what about JB weld?
I'm not sure on this so take it at what it's worth but:<br><br>it sounds like if the epoxy you're using is breaking off the rubber then it isn't getting a good bond with it. You'll need to locate something that actually bonds with rubber as opposed to just sticking to it. I doubt jbweld would work unfortunately since it's not meant to give a flexible bond... I wonder if something rubber based would work better. You might try using a bit of inner tube and some rubber cement on both sides of the hole? Just make super sure to follow the instructions properly or you won't get the best of bonds (more of a general for everyone's info as opposed to being directed at you). They also have tire patch kits at auto stores that may even work out better for you...tires are made to be under pressure so it stands to reason the glue in those is rubber-bondable...<br><br>Failing that you could attempt to create a new diaphragm or source another hole-less one. How big is the hole?
The only 2 inch PVC parts i could find are a little bit different than yours. about how long is the tank you made? i cant really tell from the pictures.<br><br>and what do you use to fill the tank? and about how long does it take?
Just a note: the below is an estimate since I don't have the thing with me at the moment. If you need I can take more precise measurements of the dimensions when I get home.
It's about 9&quot; long or so. I use a bicycle pump to fill it up and it takes less than 30 seconds to fill. If I use a compressor with the air pressure regulated then I can fill it in about a second or less but those are much less portable. The actual size of the tank isn't terribly critical but if it's too small then your volume of air (in its uncompressed state) is rather lacking as far as pushing your projectile out... at the extreme end of the spectrum you won't have enough air to actually push it all the way out even when momentum is considered. Too big and your only issue is wasted air pressure since the projectile will be long gone before the tank is &quot;empty&quot;. I would err on the side of too big since you can always just slap on a longer barrel. I did some research ahead of time and figured out for my volume of air, how long the barrel should be. Mine's still a tiny bit too short but the compressed air coming out the end causing vapor to form is pretty stinkin cool to look at so I don't mind. There are several websites (or were at the time of the build) that have calculators to work out dimensions for the ideal ratio if you don't want to do it all long hand.
Great! this is awesome<br>I'm working on a modified version of this right now!<br>I'd like to attach a pressure guage on the tank somewhere, but i dont know where would be best, any suggestions?
Sounds pretty awesome! I'm excited to see how it comes out!
you could also nestle it alongside your valve . . .depending on which type you use there could be a nice little home for it there!
yeah! i think ill tick it on a hose right near the air valve, then run the hose down the side of the tank and have the gauge somewhere in the 'inner workings' of the gun.<br><br>also i think i might build/modify some sort of battery powered air compressor that can be carried around on a belt or on the backpack to speed up the whole rea filling the tank thing
That's so awesome! Be sure to post an ible or at least some photos when you're done! The world can always use a bit more awesome :D<br><br>As far as a pressure gauge goes: generally you'd want to put it somewhere that lets you go through 2 layers of pipe (for structural reasons). I'd personally place it near the top if it was fixed or perhaps attach a barb, some hose, and then the gauge can go literally anywhere (it could go inside a hollowed out portion of the stock for example) and if you used steel braided hose it could look pretty stinkin' legit (imho of course). Just go with what appeals to you most :D
OH. and i'd like to take a minute to rant about the most annoying thing about this whole project. that damn solenoid sprinkler valve. I drove around to three different home depots and two different lowe's who ALL said they had it in stock. I finally gave up and ordered it online (13$ on amazon). apparently, sprinkler valves are a 'seasonal' item, and they're all put away in hibernation till summer. &gt;:(<br><br>and i had to order the shrader valve online too ($2 on amazon. aka Brady air intake valve) because lowe's and home depot don't stock anything like it and the closest ace hardware is 90 miles from my house and out of stock
Yeah those shraeder valves can be a bit of a pain to locate. I've got the good fortune to live near a couple different ace hardwares and even then I had to go to the right one to find it. I've seen it done by cutting apart an old bicycle inner tube but they don't have the same appeal as brass or the same structural integrity. It's interesting to know that sprinkler valves are seasonal though! I guess in Arizona (where we insist on pretending we don't live in a desert) they're a bit more accessible... kudos for amazon tho eh? 13 bucks isn't too bad for one of those!
Very interesting to see a modern take on the construction of a 'steampunk' airgun. Airguns actually do go back to the later 1700s having been used by the Prussians against the Turks. Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame also carried an air rifle.
about how much psi can it hold
i forget the rating of my pvc but I want to say 110 . . . It doesn't really need all that though :D
it's lovely to see that you chisel all of the edges away instead of dremelling them, in my point of view that just stands for craftsmanship
Great vid. Music was perfectly appropriate. gun looked great. gun <em>shot</em> great. and finally! <strong>a working steampunk gun!</strong><br/><br/>Oh, by the way...<br/>Ever thought about pumping it up with an air compressor? that pump has got to be incredibly hard to get up to 70 psi.<br/>
thanks! Ez3kiel is great arent they?! lol yeah i did it with the compressor a couple of times but like the hand op pump better . . .it's not too hard thankfully
I know this is an old thread, but hey.<br><br>If you like steampunk bands, check out Abney Park!
Hey no worries! And I love abney park! I often forget about them being tied up in so much other eclectic stuff . . . thanks for the reminder!
I think this is the only steampunk gun that works on this site! Anyway good job dude!
Thanks! there are a couple others . . .one runs on flash cotton the other is a pistol that's actually steam powered!
Excelent, I made one very similar to this about a year ago but I brought a CO2 bike pump with me when I went shooting, makes for a fast pocket sized refill.
great idea! I may do something like that soon . . .takes quite a bit of oomph to fill
do you need a ram-rod to load the projectile or what?<br /> and howdo you refil the air canister?
the air cannister is refilled through the schrader valve, you can use any pump that would work an a regular bike tyre as it is the same valve <br />
Oh, that looks lovely.<br />
i say well done!&nbsp; :-)<br />
/thanks for looking!<br />
Thought I would drop a note on some equipment if you have some extra cash.<br /> <br /> There is a pellet rifle made called the &quot;TALON&quot; which uses a mini scuba pressure tank of 2000 PSI. <br /> <br /> They also sell a hand pump similar in design to yours that will pump up the tanks to 2000 PSI.<br /> <br /> The TALON is a single shot 1200 ft/sec .177 or .22. Really sharp looking rifles.<br />
woah . . . . looks almost like a harpoon or something! Unfortunately I just dropped 590 on a beretta . . .back into savings mode you know?<br />
is there any way you could upload a copy of that pattern?
I'll go through my old sketches and whatnot but the full scale drawing doesn't exist any more. . . I cut it out and pasted it onto the board to make use of it as a guide. If I can't find the sketches I'd be happy to give any advice you want or help with drafting in some way.<br />
ok thanks. i wanted to build one of these in the same design and style
Hey, <br /> <br /> I took one of the photos from step 2 and loaded it into photoshop. From there I used the ruler in the image to scale the whole thing to actual size (at 70dpi) then desaturated the image and played with levels, contrast, and a couple of filters to get a cleaned up version which you could use as a template. There's a little bit of grit especially on the barrel but it's not too bad.&nbsp;I've drawn green lines at 8.5X11 divisions and added a 1&quot; scale above the breech(if it had one that is) of the rifle. you should be able to print this on 10 letter-sized sheets to scale and you can be sure it's to scale and will fit the 3/4&quot; pvc if you make sure the 1&quot; mark is actual size on your printout.<br /> <br /> Hope this works since I don't have access or knowledge of any decent CAD programs.<br /> <br /> Slainte!<br />
quick note . . .I forgot the images in comments are scaled . . .see step 2 to download the full images.<br />
ok thanks a bunch
Absolutely awesome. Suprised it doesn't have more views!<br />
lol it does have 14k . . .maybe the recent feature will bump that even further.<br /> <br /> Thanks for stopping by!<br />
I can't believe I missed this when it was published!<br /> <br /> Outstanding job, that Maker!<br />
High praise indeed coming from the master!<br /> <br /> Thanks for the look!<br />
This is truly an impressive build, and the fact that it actually works makes it even moreso. After having played Fallout 3 (more cyberized dystopian type) and having seen some of the ways that weapons reload in it, I've developed an idea for how to make a hand-powered regulator, though the power would diminish with every shot. Still going to give building my idea a shot, might use it if it works.
Well I'm intrigued! be sure to document it well i'd love to see it!<br />

About This Instructable


278 favorites


Bio: I am a recent recipient of a BS in Computer Science. Currently working for an eDiscovery company as a web repository technician (hosting, searching and ... More »
More by Kaelessin: SteamTorch (a steampunk flashlight) Copper Pipe Cryptex or How to give a more entertaining gift . . . USB Steampunk SD Memory Card Reader
Add instructable to: