The $0 Coil Gun




About: We are a group of Engineers, Tinkerers, Designers, Programers, and Nerds ! ---- and Since April 2011 We also have a Cupcake Maker

We've all been there, you see something cool online, you want to figure out how is done but no one seems to want to help you. So you look up videos on Youtube and all that you find are even better and even military grade coil guns. But nothing that's really going to help you with your project or your simple coil gun. So finally if you're like me, you come to where you pretty much find everything you want in a simple search. This is my attempt at teaching you a basic simple to do, Coil Gun Hope ya'll like it. Bellow is a video of the whole process, if you don't feel like watching the video and want to get started on the Instructable instead, go to the next slide Either Way Have Fun :)

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Step 1: Supplies

You really don't need much for this project, and it really cost about $5.00

You will need to find a disposable camera, any type of camera works. Usually if you go Walgreens and ask for a recycled camera that you will be using for a project they give you some for free. In the video you see us go through 50 cameras that we get for free from Walgreens. The more capacitors that you have, the stronger your coil gun will work so keep that in mind.

Next you need to find a plastic tubing, anything that is not conductive. A pen tube works best for this type of project. But youre looking for anything that is non-conductive.

Also you need to buy magnetic enamel coated copper wire. This will conduct the electricity to the tube.

And lastly you will need a Button Switch

and a Battery :) And that's about it :)

Step 2: So How Does It Work?

To get you a mental image of how this works, imagine a magnet. Now place a small metal ball next to the magnet. The magnetic force from the magnet will pull the ball towards it. Now imagine that you can turn that magnet on and off. So the ball is sitting next to it but does not move. You turn on the magnet. The ball is attracted to the magnet and starts moving toward it. Now you turn the magnet off and the ball just keeps rolling alot.

This is the basis of a coil gun. But where do you get a magnet that turns on and off? This is where the coil of wire comes in. When current is run through the coil of wire it becomes an electromagnet. So it can be turned on and off at will. Usually it is just turned on for a few miliseconds, so that the projectile is pulled toward it and the magnet turns off right as the projectile passes through so that is will keep going. - "WonkoLabs"

The whole magnetic properties of the gun can be observed by using a battery, a copper coil and a nail.

If you wrap the coil around the nail, and you add a battery to both ends, you magnetize the nail for as long as the battery is attached to the coil ends.

Step 3: Getting the Camera Ready

Alright the first thing you need to do is get the camera ready for the whole thing. So you start by taking out the battery, this will prevent you from getting shocked accidentally.... Talking about Getting shocked, you can make a Camera Taser out of a disposable camera is the link for that video on how too.

Anyways, once you get the battery out, you need to open up the camera, and be VERY careful when you are doing this, the capacitor is more than likely still charged and can deliver a nasty shock if you're not safe.

So once you have the camera open you need to locate the capacitor prongs... the capacitor is the battery looking thing on the side of the camera, locate the ends of the capacitor and using a screw driver touch both ends of the capacitor in order to discharge the energy.

Step 4: Taking Out the Circuit

So you have the battery and capacitor discharged and ready to go, next thing is to remove the circuit from the camera, this is what you will use to charge the capacitor and all the essential works of the coil gun.

Step 5: Attaching the Button to the Cap'

Okay next thing is attaching the button switch onto the capacitor. You will only attach one end of the button to one end of the capacitor the other end will go to the coil and we'll teach you how to do that in a minute. Just make sure that you have a good solid connection on the capacitor.

Step 6: Getting the Tube Ready

So the barrel of your gun has to be made out of a non conductive material, plastic works best, or a plastic pen tube would be perfect and ideal.

You need to start about 1" from any end of your tube and using duck tape start increasing the diameter of your tube to about .5" then leave a 1" gap in the middle and start another .5" increase in the diameter. Your coil will be placed in the center of the two gaps.

Step 7: Making the Connections

Alright so now that you have the whole barrel finished you need to start making the right connections.

Attach one end of the coil to the button switch, the other end of the coil will be attached to one end of the capacitor, the other end of the capacitor will be attached to the remaining cable in the button switch. This will complete the circuit when the coil is ready to fire. SO now just add the battery and press the charge button, when the HUMMING sound stops you know that the capacitor is ready to be discharged and ready to fire. 

Step 8: Getting a Bunch of Caps'

So lastly we added several capacitors together in parallel and we charged them up to a total of 280 volts. We placed the entire assembly inside of a project box and let her fire. We placed a metallic plate and placed a piece of paper in the front and you can see the projectile bounce off the plate in slow motion if you watch the video. Hope yall like this instructable :)

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    134 Discussions


    2 years ago

    How do you connect multiple caps together? Is it absolutely necessary to have a soldering iron?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    no you can use alligator clips but is not vary safe soldering them is the best connection and safest from getting shocked


    7 years ago on Introduction

    what are the full risks of making this. if im accidentaly electrocuted, wut are the outcomes( will i end up in a hospital). and finally wut voltage should i use.

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    it hurts and can make the local area numb for a few minutes ith max power for the kodak camera pcb is 9 volts and 10 amps i suggest using a pp3 battery


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Voltage does not kill you amperage does. If you put multiple capacitors in parallel, you can get more amperage, but you will be ok unless you you are touching both leads at once.


    3 years ago That is the video relating to this instructable. I found it on youtube.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    how much electricity is needed to run this?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    "Sorry, this show has been removed by Blip"

    Needless to say, the video is gone. Do you have it posted somewhere else?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Well i have but one question. Can I use a giant electrolytic can capacitor? I have one 100,000 uF at 600VDC


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i made this and is worked but later i tryed to make it into a box and use a 9 volt battery and for some reason it wont work is it the 9 volt battery? the circut has worked before

    3 replies

    the 9v current is probably to high for the circuits and you probably blew the capacitor on the small camera charger.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    ok so i followed this ible to the wire (well expect the wire its 24gauge does that change anything? lol) i have my circuit board all rigged up to a coil around a pen tube with duct tape which goes to a switch and the switch goes back to the capacitator (sorry if its confusing). I know the circuit board is fine because i have shocked myself multiple times, but the electricity wont flow through the wires :(

    Help PLEASE!!

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Make sure each wire is soldered onto the respective side of the capacitor bank, and they are not touching. Also make sure capacitors are in parallel (+ to + and - to -).