The LOVE GUN was created as a wedding gift for a loving couple that was to be married; originally I was just going to do the ubiquitous gift of money or some 70’s fondue set, until inspiration struck. Hiram, the groom, in addition to many things was a published fantasy writer. All though a classic ray-gun is more science fiction then fantasy, a love gun falls into the fantasy range. Instead of shooting lasers, it shoots love, existing love that is. The gun just amplifies it a little, or so I would like to believe. It was designed for the times when your loved one needs, well… a “shot of love”.
Most of this build, should you wish to proceed will most likely go a little different for yourself. This will almost always be the case when using recycled materials. Think of this Instructable as more of an example of how different parts can be manipulated and assembled into something that looks like it always was.
The LOVE GUNS electronics are kept to a minimum, using just a automotive el-wire kit kept it easy. All though it was meant to run off a 12volt automotive battery, you can run it off a variety of lower voltages. Initially I was going to use a 9 volt battery which lit the el-wire just fine, but soon discovered even a 9 volt battery was too big to be incorporated into the handle how I wanted. Instead I found 12 volt batteries at the dollar store that were about half the size of a double “AA” battery – perfect.
I was toying with the idea of lighting up the tip of the barrel, but opted instead to make it be a single pass through from the rear of the gun. Reasons being two fold,
1. You could simply slip any light source into the barrel by removing the cotter pin at the back. This could accommodate small thin led flash lights, glow sticks or even a laser pen
2. I’m a bit of a softie, so the idea of rolling up ones vows, and inserting them into the barrel just sounds so romantic, heck you could even still insert a light source after and beam your vows to each other.
The only thing that would make this better would be to have the ability to laser engrave a motif over the brass, polycarbonate bowl, and Wooden handle. Imagine Roman mixed with Celtic lattice like lace engraved in exact swirling patterns, lit up from within like edge fiber optics, oh man. It would like fractal engravings of the gods, sadly you can really only get that with a Epilog Zing laser cutter... Maybe one day I will win one, or if Santa's feeling particularly generous - Ho-Ho-Ho? Truly though, one day i would love to have one of these, gone will be the days of clumsily cut out parts, or Dremels spinning wildly out of control. They have been used extensively on this and other sites cutting out everything from wedding dresses to laser tattooing finger nails. Myself I would use it for all my delicate work and finishing touches. Check it out, and be amazed - http://www.epiloglaser.com/zing_home.htm
Step 1: Collect Your Bits, and Ready Your Tools
- Poly carbonate reservoir bowl
- Air tool handle
- SPST push button switch - something akin to a trigger
- Battery terminal spring and connection terminal salvaged from other battery driven device
- 12volt or lower El wire kit complete with power unit
- Thin gauge wire
- Thin brass sheet – I used brass sheet used for shims
- Alert switch lens and switch guard
- Various bits and pieces that will be unique to you, of course this more or less applies to all the above
- Various screws, bolts, nuts – these will be dependent on your particular needs
- Wood for the handle
- Paints, stains, varnish - whatever you want to use to finish your handle
- A case to house your love gun - optional, but part of the fun
- Drill and bits
- Something capable of cutting a variety of metals – abrasive discs, saws, tin snips
- Small hand tools
- Soldering gun and solder
- Electrical tape
- Standard household ammonia
- Adhesives – variety
- · Thread-locking glue
- · Quick set epoxy
- · gorilla glue
- · Hot glue
Step 2: Preassemble, Trim, Assemble Some More...
- First thing, lay out your parts in front of you and think of how they will mesh. If you are adding electronics you have to think ahead of where you are going to route your wires, electronics and batteries. It must be esthetically pleasing, but you have to be realistic as to your means to join everything together. Glues like epoxy and hot glue are great at spanning gaps. Welding is great, but often you are trying to join dissimilar metals where welding just won't work. Of course sometimes you can still join them with soldering, or even brazing provided they can take the heat! The classic nut and bolt really shine, when used with thread locking compounds or epoxy you get a nice strong joint. Machining metal is surprisingly easy, especially with softer metals like aluminum or brass.
- After taking apart the air tool, I started by cutting out a section of aluminum on the handle. This would later be replaced with a piece of wood carved to accept a small 12 volt battery to power the el-wire covered in the next step
- Next I enlarged holes on the front of the gun handle to help attach the poly carbonate bowl on the front. I re-threaded the holes and used thread locking compound to secure the bolts in place. I then bent the bolts a little outwards so the ends of the bolts would grip the sides of the bowl.
- The barrel is a section of stainless steel shower rod cut to fit. I bored holes in the bottom to facilitate positioning of wires inside. It was tapped in place with a mallet into the existing hole of the air gun handle and epoxied in place.
- I then turned my attention to the bowl. First I slipped the bowl over the bolts mounted in the handle. this alone secures it in place quite well. Next I drilled holes through the bowl, one on either side of the interior bolts. Then i screwed in small brass bolts, which gripped the interior bolts further. Allowing a simple way to hold the bowl on the gun securely, yet still allow it to be removed later if needed.
- The end of the bowl was roughened up a bit with a file to give it some tooth. This was so i could epoxy on the switch guard and jewel lens, otherwise the epoxy just doesn't grip the polycarbonate very well.
Step 3: Hollow It Out
- I layed out a piece of softwood against the handle, and traced it out.
- Next I rough shaped it to smooth out the edges and make it comfortable to hold.
- Using a chisel, I chiseled out a section for the battery.
- Next I drilled holes in the wood to allow the wires to pass through
- I salvaged contact points and contact springs from an old battery pack from a toy. these were then epoxied in place within the wooden handle.
- Put the handle in place with the battery in, and press up against the where it needs to be mounted. Drill 2 hols through the wood and through the aluminum handle, keeping an eye on where the battery and wires are.
- Bolt in place, once you are satisfied - disassemble and sand down the wooden handle till nice and smooth.
- Apply your choice of finish. I actually used acrylic stencil paint thinned down with a little water. this allowed me to build up multiple colors giving it a aged look. I then coated it with some semi-gloss varnish.
Step 4: Test Connections
Before you start running wires through the gun, test your wires first. I layed out the El-wire, battery, transformer and switch on my table, loosely connected the wires and tested the circuit. El-wire glows soooooo cool! See the diagram for wiring on the next step!
Step 5: Wire It Up
Wiring the gun is rather simple, see the diagram below. The trickiest part is feeding the wires through the gun. I opted to feed the wires through the existing air ports within the gun, next time though I think I would drill additional holes to make it easier. The EL-wire was simply wrapped around the barrel. The El-wire transformer was epoxied below the barrel and would be inside the bowl, however I did have to notch out the bowl as I discovered it didn't quite all fit...
Step 6: Reassemble - Time for STICKY Fingers!
- Once assembled I began to look for ways to spruce it up, So I started cutting Thin brass shims into decorative trim.
- The bottom plate wraps up and around the bowl, this being a cupid type gun incorporated Hearts
- The trim was nice, but the gun needed balance. A scope was in order
- Rifling through my junk drawer I found an old mesh funnel with a nice brass rim. The mesh was much too soft though. Epoxy to the rescue. First I pressed the mesh into a metal retainer ring I found, followed by several coats of epoxy pressed into the mesh. The mesh was now behaving like woven fiberglass with epoxy stiffening into a solid cone. The epoxy is also translucent in nature, so you still see the fine mesh through it.
- I drilled holes in the retainer rings arm and screwed it onto the top of the bowl with more brass bolts.
- The rear of the gun was still just a hollow tube and needed some sort of a means of locking in what ever you want to load in the gun, be it your wedding vows, a laser or both perhaps. The simplest solution was to drill a hole through the gun, bisecting the tube. And inserting a spring style cotter pin. At this point the gun was more or less complete, all though the new brass was just too shiny, it needed aging - next step!
Step 7: Ammonia-tize It!
- Find a container large enough to hold your gun that you can seal. It doesn't have to be completely air tight, but it helps.
- In a small microwavable bowl, heat up about 1 cup of ammonia till warm.
- Place your gun inside the container with the bowl of ammonia. Avoid spilling ammonia directly on the brass as it will spot the brass
- Seal it up and wait for 30 minutes
- Check it and see if it has aged enough. The shiny new brass was barely aged looking, while the brass bolts were a little dull. The brass on the gun sight was aging nicely though. Put in for 30 minute intervals until you are happy with the look.
I let it sit for 4 hours, this aged all the brass nicely, the Gun sight aged the most, with some spots having that awesome greenish hue.
Step 8: Mod the Case
I found this case at a local thrift store here in town, it had that lovely vintage look to it. This being a case for magazines though would need some minor modifications
- I simply layed the gun across the interior baffle walls and traced the gun around them.
- Then, with a razor i began to shave down the baffles to the shape of the gun.
- I mixed up some acrylic paint to match the color of the interior finish, and painted the cut marks
- Next I used an old bungee cord and ball grip to make the strap to secure the gun in the case.
- I drilled 2 holes in the side walls, knotted the bungee cords and it was ready to go! Almost...
- Its fun to label the container. On the side I made a label that says "cupids little helper", On top it says, "warning - loaded love gun"
Step 9: Present Your Love Gun
Love guns only work when given away, so find a happy couple and help them with a shot of love!