Introduction: Steampunk Blaster Pistol

About: I currently make things as a hobby but really want to turn it into a career. Most of my builds are accessible to the everyday person at home with a small tool set and a large amount of ingenuity. One day I'd …

This Little project was not at all planned. I'm lucky enough to have a relative who has shed loads of scrap parts, tools etc. I was searching for parts for another project (coming soon-ish) and in the process managed to cobble together some parts that looked like they'd make a cool pistol (I had recently tried a Nerf mod to make the side arm for my Mad Max costume but wasn't satisfied).

As with some of my other instructables, chances are you will not be able to make an exact copy of this. Some of the parts I scavenged are pretty specific looking. Also this 'Ible does not have step by step photos as most of the making process is just using impact adhesive to join the parts together, I will however explain the process and annotate all the parts involved. Hopefully this will give you enough ideas to get creative and make your own.

Step 1: Find Your Parts

If you aren't lucky enough to know someone who has shed loads of machine parts and other useful stuff, pop down to your local scrap yard/tip/dump and have a scavenge. You're looking for any parts that look sort of pistol shaped. I found an engine part (I think it's from a small petrol lawnmower or tractor) that formed the main body of the pistol.

Look for parts that naturally fit together. This helps reduce your work load later, parts that fit together can be glued or welded easily without the need for filing, trimming etc. Plumbing parts are great for this as they are designed to fit and adaptors can be used if they don't. They also look great as post-apocalyptic / steampunk pieces.

The handle can be made from old wood or metal offcuts. Mine was from an old axe handle that I then cut at an angle to fit on the main body.

Again I was lucky to find already weathered looking parts. If you can't find parts that look old and grimy, leave them outdside for a few days, smear vinegar and mustard on them to add a patina to metal parts or look on for advice on weathering effects for costumes.

The other bits I used were:

  • An old pewter pendant, wire and a spring for the trigger
  • Hose pipe clips for the sights
  • The end of an old axe handle for the pistol grip
  • Screws and bolts for added effect
  • An LCD screen from a calculator for the 'readout display'
  • Some Tau Warhammer transfers (the only not scavenged bit)

Step 2: Start to Assemble

Once you've got an idea of your parts, start to piece them together to get an idea of how your piece will look. The copper pipe I used as the barrel fitted very snugly once I hammered it in to the main block. This was then cemented with impact adhesive once I was certain about having it there.

The muzzle was secured with epoxy putty, as was the pin in the front sight.

The grip was attached to the main body with impact adhesive. Despite there being no doweling or anything else holding it in place there is no wobble on the handle now the glue has dried.

At this stage I had just the main body, the grip and the barrel. Next up is to try and add some beautiful details to bring the build to life

Step 3: Add the Details


As you can see I am by no means a professional engraver. This is only my second attempt, so I won't try and give you tips on how to do it. Probably best to look up a tutorial from someone professional. For this part I used a Dremmel with an engraving bit on a slow speed and the wood was aged and a bit splintery.

BUT in the wasteland it doesn't matter if things are scruffy, in fact, sometimes it adds to it. Hence why I went ahead with my scruffy designs on either sides. The worn wood really gives it some character.

Step 4: The Trigger

For the trigger I used a hinge spring, a pewter pendant I had lying around. The problem of joining these together was solved by using some pretty red wire to tie them together. If you do use wire for anything make sure you wrap it really tight before you tie a knot. Once you've tied everything up the knot is very difficult to undo.

The spring was secured to the grip by (you guessed it) impact adhesive!

This little detail is probably my favorite bit of the pistol, also for someone who likes to have a moving trigger on prop guns this is perfect.

Step 5: Trigger Guard

This bit's very simple. I bent a bit of scrap metal into the correct shape and then poked holes (two in either end) with an awl (a very useful pointy tool, meant for leatherworking but abused by me on a regular basis. You can just drill the holes). Being too lazy to screw the metal to the grip and main body, I threaded some more red wire through the holes and tied the guard on. If you secure the guard well enough it shouldn't move around.

Step 6: The Sights

Again, these were glued on. The rear sight is half a binocular and the front sight is a hose pipe clip, with a drawing pin set in epoxy putty in the centre. The sights kinda line up... but for me it's not really an issue, I can still look through 'em.

I added a strip of hessian cloth over the rear sight, one: to hold it in place while the glue dried, and two: it ties in with the helmet I made in my previous instructable.

On the side I screwed in an old faucet head for extra effect. You can spin it round and pretend you're adjusting your sight :p

Step 7: Other Bits

Inspired by the Fallout games with all the gadgets that have little screens you can read stuff off (e.g. the Pip Boy). I found a broken calculator, removed the screen and glued it in place on the side of the gun. I smashed it up a bit for effect first, and also added some wires.

I painted a radiation symbol on the side of the gun (with warhammer paint), I figured it could run off nuclear batteries or something.

The final step was the transfers, these come in little sheets with warhammer sets, you can find them on ebay for under £0.20. All you do is cut them out, soak them in water for a minute then use a wet paintbrush to nudge the off the sheet and on to the area you want to apply them to. Wet the area a bit first to allow for adjustments. Once satisfied leave the sticker to dry.

I added some transfers to the LCD screen to make it look like there is text on the readout. I also added transfers to the scope and barrel (although the ones on the barrel have somehow rubbed off).

Finally I added two nuts (not like that) to the pummel of the grip as it seemed like it needed something extra.

Step 8: Finished!

Step back and marvel at your finished work of art. I found the process of recycling (or upcycling as people sometimes call it) very satisfying and the finished product looks great.

The old worn recycled parts give it an authentic look and it has the weight of (what you'd imagine) a blaster pistol should weigh. Despite having no solid joins the whole thing feels very secure and robust. It will make a fantastic sidearm as part of any post-apocalyptic costume. Hopefully once I've put together my full costume I will have paid homage to all the best movies and games in the genre.

As I always say, have fun and use your creativity and you should end up with something beautiful and unique to you.

Halloween Props Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Props Contest 2015