Q-Tip Gun




About: "Yes, individuality is good and conformity is often bad, but like society you do need to make some effort not to piss other people off all the time."

I made it out of a few household objects, it launches Q-tips anywhere between 30-50ft.

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Step 1: Supplies

1.Pen (all you will need from it is the plastic body for the barrel, so make sure you can fit a Q-tip inside of it)
2.Pill Bottle (the small kind that are like an inch in diameter)
3.Electrical or Duct tape
4. PVC Glue or some other type of glue that is very strong (i only used pvc glue becuase i found some in my garage)
5.A sparker- There are two possible sparkers you could use
1. I took a grill lighter and took it apart and just took out the butane tank and the long metal neck thing, so when it was done all i had was the body of the lighter with 2 wires sticking out of it ( there a picture of it on one of the next pages). - You will need 2 screws for this type of sparker
you can also use a grill sparker which would be easier
2. The other type of sparker you could use is a lantern sparker, i haven't actaully used one of these on something this small but i would guess it would work.
6.Drill with small bits ( obviously for putting the small holes in the pill bottle)

Step 2: Assembly

This really is pretty simple,
Step 1: Take the pill bottle and drill a whole in the bottom of it, the hole should be the same diameter as the pen or maybe a tiny bit smaller. You want to keep the hole small so that when the barrel goes into it theres not a lot of apace around it.

Step 2: Take your pen apart, all you need from it is the plastic tube body. Take the tube and fit it into the hole that you drilled into the pill bottle, and then slap some of the PVC Glue on that, make sure you seal up all the cracks, otherwise the gun will not work.

Step 3: If your using the grill lighter as a sparker: drill two very small pilot holes for the screws to go into. Then screw the screws into the hole leaving them stick out a little bit, you want the tips of the screws about 1/8 inch apart, if they're too far apart or if they're touching , it won't spark.

Step 4:Then take your wires from the sparker and attach them to the screws, and test to see if it sparks if it doesn't adjust the screws until it works then take the wires off the screws and PVC glues the screws in place, this also seals the bottle better, and then reattach the wires to the screws.

Step 5: I finally made one with an lanter sparker in it, it took awhile but it works quite well. The only problem is that i can't get hair spray work with the sparker, but i found a solution. Gasoline, simply dip the end of a Q-tip into some gas so it soakes it in, then swab the bottle in one complete circle around the inside with the gasoline soaked Q-tip, then close the cap put the Q-tip in the barrel and fire.

Step 3: Firing

To fire, put a Q-tip in the barrel, make it doesn't slide down into the bottle part just spray a very small amount of hairspray into the chamber and very quickly close the top, if you do this part to slow the gases will escape and it won't fire, if you use to much most likely it won't fire due to not enough oxygen, or if it does the bottle could possible explode.

If you want you can wrap the bottle part in electrical tape, if you put duct tape on the screws the electricity from the sparker will go through it, so use electrical tape.

In the video below I used a lantern sparker, and I used propane from an old lighter which I stuck a small piece of tubing on the end of, its actaully just the outside casing of copper wire.

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    131 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    if it only works sometimes, try wiping out some of the gunk from the spray sometimes left behind on the screws. also make sure the screws a close enough together to spark. and check to see if the BBQ lighter is sparking.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 3

    i had some trouble with mine too. i think it was lack of oxygen. i drilled to small vent holes in the bottom of the pill bottle next to the barrel. it helped alot , but watch not to plug the barrel to tight and keep fingers away from the vent! i stuffed a wad of paper in and flames came out the vent instead of the barrel. left a wicked little burn. does anyone no how the grill lighter ignition actually works? it seems like it only sparks half the time. i tore a broken one apart to try to figure it out but i still dont get it.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Holy Cow!!! Me and a friend made this for a school science project, and it worked. destroyed a picnic table andclose to destroying said friends house, but it was fun and now we know that if your q-tip is jammed in the barrel you should just shove it out with something, not shoot it(huge backfire lucky it only hit my arm). in the end we weren't allowed to present it at school because it works like a real gun. If you have any questions send to my instructables account. this summer i will try to make a double barrel q-tip gun!!

    Very dangerous! That plastic pill container can explode! Plastic shards in the eye can be serious! Also, there could be pill residue on the container which could get on the swab. If the swab hits someone in the eye, the medicine could enter through the tear duct. Yes, a long shot, but these things happen. This really has the potential to send someone to intensive care! Therefore, I cannot recommend your Instructable. However, I will not deny you a compliment for cleverness.

    4 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I've made these things dozens of times, it is VERY hard to make these things explode with just butane (though this is a valid concern.) For people w/o pill bottles available, films cans make nice chambers as well.


    10 years ago on Step 3

    u could also turn this into a mini spud gun. just take a slice of potato (about 1/8" to 1/4" thick) and stamp the tip of the barrel on the potato slice. when u lift it up, there should be a little piece of potato (the same thickness as the slice u cut) stuck in the barrel. when u shoot it, it is just like a mini potato gun. i did this and it was awesome! except i used a chapstick bettle instead of a pill case and thumb tacks instead of screws.