Introduction: Coilgun Blueprints

Picture of Coilgun Blueprints

This is a relatively simple coilgun me and my grandpa made this summer. I will show you how to make a similar one. Please add a comment if you need extra help with anything. Also, add a comment if I need to change any of the steps.Please rate and comment, andplease help me if i'm not clear on something. It takes about 1:30 to 2:00 minutes to charge.  Have fun!

-around 90 feet of magnet coil
-2 1.5 inch plexiglass washers for winding coil
-1 camera charging circuit (KODAK)
-1 on/off switch
-1 40 amp or higher toggle switch for trigger
-1 D battery holder
-1 capacitor around 450 volts and 1500 MicroFarads
-1 toy gun large enough to mount the circuits in
-1 carbon arrow shaft
-you may need other materials according to the gun apparatus you use

-soldering iron with solder
-screw driver (to take the gun apart)
-a hand saw (to cut barrel to appropriate length)
-glue or drill and screws to mount circuits

Step 1: Wind the Coil

Picture of Wind the Coil

Wind the coil as well as you can around a axle a little bit bigger than the barrel. Fasten the washers around the axle for support. You may use you hands, but my grandpa and I made a little rig to make it easier. Wind it 2.5 inches in length, with 10 layers of coil.

Note: Before you go to the next step, you may want to rig a testing circuit to make sure the coil fires.

Step 2: Barrel and Projectiles

Picture of Barrel and Projectiles

Find the length that the barrel should be in your gun and cut it to the correct length. Find the projectile your are going to use, most likely a nail with a grounded down head, and position the coil so when the projectile end is at the very end off the barrel, the tip of the projectile is at the very begining of the coil. Last, put a stopper on the end of the barrel so that you may slide the projecile from the tip of the barrel.

Step 3: Placing the Components

Picture of Placing the Components

Now it is time to start laying out the circuits. Figure out where you want to lay the components. Make sure they will fit in the spots you want to lay them. DON'T FASTEN THE PARTS YET, find out how much wire you need to connect the components first, then add an inch to make sure the wire will reach.

Step 4: Soldering the Components Together

Picture of Soldering the Components Together

The title says it all. Solder the componets together using this schematics below. Notice there is no relay. We tried a gun with a relay, put after a few shots, it nedded to be replaced. Since we are using a switch that cuts the battery on to make the circuit start charging, we need to solder a bare piece of wire to the switch on the circuit.

Step 5: Finishing Touches and Testing

Picture of Finishing Touches and Testing

Before you close up the gun, you may want/need to add some finishing touches. Here are a few of the ones we did:
-a lens from the camera to make the LED from the circuit appear larger when the capacitors charged
-a cover to go over the big, bare spot on the top of our gun
-a projectile holder
-test prongs to make sure the gun was charging (recommended)


jbeaver4 (author)2017-11-13

would a 500F 2.7v capacitor bank be good for a single stage coil gun?

chubby8 (author)2014-02-27

1500 micro farads is plenty. That's roughly the same as 10+ average camera flash capacitors in parallel.
And at 450v, holds about 150 joules of energy.
Eneergcam, you could try do a simple switch using an SCR or MOSFET , just check its voltage and current ratings. They should be able to handle the current that killed the relay.

batman73_73 (author)2013-11-30

How Mtrsym?

amatuertechguy (author)2012-12-25

Very good job!

N3v3rm0r3 (author)2010-05-13

man, only one KODAK sircuit? it would take ages to charge that capaitor, i used 7 to charge two capacitors 250V@1000uF and they are cherged at around 10sec. one 250V@1000uF takes 1min to be charged by one KODAK sircuit, my opinion is that you should use at least five sircuits.

budhaztm (author)N3v3rm0r32011-04-06

how exactly do you wre several circuits tigether? if you could post a link to an instructable or tell me that would be awsome.

wouldn't you put them in parallell.

N3v3rm0r3 (author)budhaztm2011-04-14

There is an instructable called Coilgun Handgun that also shows you how to shrink the KODAK blue circuits.

eneergcam (author)N3v3rm0r32010-05-16

 we decided just to have one for our first gun, and we didnt know where we could put them, but maybe one day ill make one with a few more circuits

Badjuju1996 (author)2012-05-15

would you be able to add a sensor or something that when the projectile passes by it shuts off the magnet, that way you could increase the efficiency and make it stop dead center

eneergcam (author)Badjuju19962012-06-19

hmm thats an interesting concept, my coil gun making days are over but maybe you could look into adding a reed switch or something of that nature into the circuit

tazerboy (author)2011-06-08

hmm, i suppose that i wasn't very powerful since it only had one capacitor. You
might want to add a couple more of those, say at least 4 of the same caps.And get a better switching device like an scr.

eneergcam (author)tazerboy2011-07-22

Nah dude, it was a big capacitor, and it packed a punch

Iwantbigboom (author)eneergcam2011-08-12

but you said to somebody that the capacitor is small and now your saying its big makes no sense.BIG or small.

eneergcam (author)Iwantbigboom2011-08-16

Its all relative, compared to the camera circuit capacitors if very large, but compared to other larger ones, its small.

tazerboy (author)2011-07-23

plz tell me the voltage and capacity

eneergcam (author)tazerboy2011-07-29

450 volts and 1500 MicroFarads

ampeyro (author)2010-02-08

when i vas "studying" about coilguns for making one, i read something about if you conect a capacitor to a coil, it generates AC, and inverted voltages can damage the electrolythic capacitors, does it realy happen?, did you add something to avoid it?, is it just too small to be considered?
(yes, my ortography is realy bad, but i'm not native english speaker)

eneergcam (author)ampeyro2010-02-08

I dont now where you read that, but you dont need to add anything, the voltage is probably too small, and the capacitors are also very small.

ampeyro (author)eneergcam2010-02-09

thanks, i read it on the wiki

maxmunzel (author)ampeyro2011-07-14

add a diode between coil and capacitor!!

Electroinnovation (author)2011-06-14

That is really not safe you should be using a relay instead of a regular momentary switch like that. It doesn't matter how many amps it can handle those kinds of switches are intended for a constant flow of energy not sudden extreme bursts like this. Other than that its a great ible. 5*

themodmancarl (author)2010-06-16

jesus where did you get your capacitor

i used a bank of 10 500 V 2400 uF nippon chemicon capacitors. it shot a 1/2" bolt through 2 walls of my house

dam im gonna mimic your bank

322058884 (author)themodmancarl2010-07-05

these babies are available in tv's (older ones)

ARJOON (author)3220588842010-09-14

in old tvs the biggest i have found is a 220uf at 400v

eneergcam (author)themodmancarl2010-06-17

hahaha, my grandpa had it in his infinite pile of junk

Taran606 (author)2010-06-17

Wut if I'm using pure bare copper wire and I'm using my iPod touch and it has a small keyboard

gen.badger (author)Taran6062010-09-04

Using pure bare copper wire will result in a short. Your gun will not fire and you may ruin your capacitor.

eneergcam (author)Taran6062010-06-18

uhm, for the coil? it wont wont NEARLY as good, but it will work, and yeah, i know how that goes, I always mess up typing with my touch on facebook...

Taran606 (author)2010-06-15

Srry to bother u but it's my first rime. Can the tube that the progectile come out of be made out of conductive metal

eneergcam (author)Taran6062010-06-16

it could, but i think a plastic one would be better, because it wouldnt interfere with coil

Taran606 (author)eneergcam2010-06-16

Ok and I'm using a one of those other switchs that u flick

eneergcam (author)Taran6062010-06-17

okay, sounds good, but make sure that on the package that the switch comes in that it says something around '10 amps'

Taran606 (author)eneergcam2010-06-17

check my instructable for better pics

eneergcam (author)Taran6062010-06-18

alright, looks great!

Taran606 (author)eneergcam2010-06-17

heres the pics

Taran606 (author)eneergcam2010-06-16

I do have two triggers one to charge other to fishgare to coil and another proplem many be my circuit us like half that size

eneergcam (author)Taran6062010-06-17

it is getting pretty hard to read your comments, haha, and that shouldnt be the issue if it charges well.

Taran606 (author)2010-06-14

Hi I got a question. Why can't you cut off the flash and pit the coil wire there instead of putting it strait to the cap. If you could answer I wold like it. Plz leave a comment on my channel Ty. Taran606

eneergcam (author)Taran6062010-06-15

is it okay if i just respond here? I tried that in my first coilgun, but if you attatch the coil there, then the current goes through the cicuit twice every time you charge and dis-charge the capacitor. i dont know if that explanation makes any sense, but trust me, it is better how i told you to do it in the instructable

Taran606 (author)eneergcam2010-06-15

Ty for relpy. One more thing when I conect my wites there it just sparks

eneergcam (author)Taran6062010-06-16

right to the capacitor? you have a trigger for it right?

Taran606 (author)eneergcam2010-06-15

Ok I'll try to fix my computer problems and post some pics. I'm using my iPod touch

calemus (author)2010-01-12

ok,,,now, i know there is a way to wind the wires in such a way as to fource the current in a direction,  how exactly can i know how to make a wind, start from left or right? top or bottom?
magnet coil wire? does this come in a specific gauge?
is it possable to get diffrent results with steel wire, , better results with copper? high impedance wire?

theblindferrengi (author)calemus2010-04-07

As long as your coil is neat then it doesn't really matter.  22 AWG enameled copper wire works very well, you cant do much better than copper, silver is the only metal that would work better.  A jacket of Mu-metal or other magnetic shielding alloy could be put around part of the coil to improve efficiency.

 thanks for explaining it well

eneergcam (author)calemus2010-05-05

Im pretty sure electromagnets can be wound any way and always draw the projectile in towards the middle. thats how coilguns work; by drawing the projectile (atleast the effiecient ones do) towards the very middle, then turning off, so that the peice keeps going. and are you talking about different wires to wind the coil, or for the circuit?

finfan7 (author)calemus2010-04-23

It doesn't matter which direction you wind it.  Curent direction is determined by the connections.

About This Instructable




Bio: Changing my profile around, and planning on posting some more instructables. Be ready.
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