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**The Plasma Gun prototype** (NOW WITH VID)

Built a miniature cannon? Then post it here! This section is for completed, finished cannons that you have built. Please include pictures and information.
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Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:47 am

I think you should put a drop of superglue into the back of the bulb housing (right where the wires are coming out). I don't think christmas lights were designed to be airtight so you might be getting significant pressure loss out the back.

But don't worry, the first time I made a coilgun it only went about 2 feet, but now I can shoot 40 fps. I'm sure you'll find a way to improve your design!

Every once and awhile I'd get a really bad one whose capacitors would blow right off the board. Lot's of noise and fun but hardly any velocity.


The same thing happened when I dumped molten aluminum into a running Mac. When it blew up it sounded like a gunshot.
It was a very strange scenario that involved a bunch of kids up at 2 in the morning in the middle of town with an old monitor, a fire and an unshaded lamp. Must have looked strange.
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Unread postAuthor: DYI » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:09 pm

A plasma gun is a pneumatic just as much as a steam gun is, so I don't really think we need a new showcase, as most people don't have the knowledge, skills, or funds necessary to build one. That's the reason I don't think they'll catch on.

On the other hand, if Rag ever makes the plasma gun he's talking about, or if a certain other unamed project ever takes shape, we may need to add an electromagnetic / electrothermal section, for the few of us that are crazy enough to really try these ideas.
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:26 pm

What you have here is more of an exploding wire cannon, which creates pressure by vaporising a solid wire into a gas - there are also elements of an electrothermal cannon.
These are also viable power sources for a launcher, no doubt about it, you've just proven that, but it is a little different to a plasma powered cannon, although you can argue that electrothermal cannons do use plasma as a heat source to heat the air.
Regardless of those pedantics, you can still say you've got a cannon powered by something entirely new - tungsten gas!

I'm still working slowly on the blueprints for my gauss-plasma hybrid, which I still believe will go supersonic if I can sort the problems. Learning enough magnetohydrodynamics so I can do the required maths is going to take some work - but that's what giant university libraries are for!!!

Still, my research is revealing good things, for example it might be a quite bit smaller than I was initially expecting. It's not unreasonable that I might even be able to create a rifle sized prototype to fire 6mm airsoft BBs (0.43g Teflon coated) at over Mach 1 - still only about 20 ft-lbs, but there aren't a lot of regular spudguns that would beat that in that calibre. The magnetic doodahs may possibly be simple enough I could handle them myself (but it's still going to need some good wiring). Cost is still a bit of an issue (I'm a student, I've not got a lot of spare cash right now), but I'm sure I can find a good enough summer job to allow me to find some money to put some of my concepts into reality.

@Felex: Copper isn't magnetic, but you could fire it with an inductance coilgun, rather than the more common (at least in amateur builder's arsenals) reluctance coilguns.

@DYI: As I said, I'm still working on it. But I don't think many people are interested in the high velocity/low energy region of the spudgun spectrum. I'm personally interested in it both for the velocity and the certain novelty of the concept.

Whether my prototype will be the first serious non-ghetto plasma launcher I don't know, but I hope to bring at least one new thing to spudding along my way. Whether that will be plasma, combustion miniguns or something else entirely, I'm unsure, but I'm an inventor at heart, and it would be nice to have my name attached to something - like DR's is attached to Hybrids, spudonfire's is to the vortex and JSR's is to epoxy construction.
Maybe if I come up with enough ideas and build some of them, one will stick. Unfortunately, I don't seem to come up with simple enough ideas that other people might choose to follow. As a general rule, if it takes complex maths or building (especially machining), most people are unlikely to follow.
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Unread postAuthor: spuzi14 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:49 pm

But I don't think many people are interested in the high velocity/low energy region of the spudgun spectrum.


I'm interested but being a junior in high school makes it tough for me to explore it. I struggle like you wouldn't believe in school so it takes up a lot of my time. But yeah, your theory and this topic have interested me enough that I actually went downstairs yesterday and built myself a small catapult just so I could launch something.
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Unread postAuthor: DYI » Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:52 pm

Well Rag, you're not the only one who's been researching.
You have a better starting point than me, but you never know what might materialize over the next few months :twisted:
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:01 pm

Well, my main areas of interests are mid-high velocity/low-mid energy and low-mid velocity/mid energy - entertaining, but not too much for my small shooting range. I only really build outside those areas for "special" projects - gauss guns and of course, plasma.

Although I'm sure BB "rifles" or at the other end of the spectrum the SWAT and SDTBDC are great fun, that's too little energy to be much fun and too much energy for my garden (respectively).
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Unread postAuthor: spuzi14 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:20 pm

Here's a question for the author of this topic...where'd you get the capacitors you used for this gun? I know from an old coil gun but I mean before that?
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Unread postAuthor: singularity » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:43 pm

i bought them from digikey.com (i don't suggest you do the same) they have great prices on the small popular stuff like PICmircos and timers but they are pretty expensive when it comes to capacitors. i believe i payed $16 at the time.

i have a video uploading right now its at 40% and should be up in the next hour
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be sure to check out my <a href="http://www.spudfiles.com/forums/ak-style-airsoft-vortex-gun-t10959.html">AK Styled Vortex Gun</a> and my <a href="http://www.spudfiles.com/forums/at-4-t9627.html">AT-4 Rocket</a>

upcoming projects... finalized clip fed BBMG and ball point pen sniper
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:55 pm

@DYI: Oh dear, it seems I have competition... No, it's great to hear that people have taken my concept seriously - originally I didn't, it started with a joke after someone commented that I should build a "Star Wars" blaster rifle... to shorten a story that was quite short to begin with, I think too much, and a couple of weeks later, I suddenly realised I had made the basics of a viable concept.

I do a lot of things like that - I got into drawing because of a silly "half-bet" with a friend after I made a comment about something he had drawn, and he responded: "Yeah, well... you do better". I knew at that point I had a little drawing skill, but using a half blunt HB pencil, half a rubber and the end of one of my fingers as tools, I created something that I surprised myself with. (I'll scan it in sometime and put it on photobucket.) These days, I'm still surprised at my art... One particular piece still amazes me over six months after I drew it.

But back to the original point... If I get beaten to the prize by someone else, good on them - I'm just gonna need a bigger boat.

Perhaps I should name my project. My named projects seem to have a better run of success than my unnamed ones, but it's still not great (about 20-25% of my named ideas will see a build, about 5-10% otherwise - I have more ideas than money).
I quite like the names "Solar Wind", "Aurora" and "Helios", all three of which are nicely plasma related terms. I might make up an acronym some time if a good one comes to me, but I think it works nicely with one of those three for now - any preference guys? I've a slight favour for one of them, but I won't tell you which yet.
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:12 am

Anyway, this may sort of be a double post, but there are 12 hours separating them.

Interesting video. It's a far cry from what I believe can be done, but it does bring up a very interesting point I hadn't thought about in much depth - what will a plasma gun's muzzle flash look (and sound) like?
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:24 am

Well the high current spark would make some noise, the air expansion at the muzzle could make more noise...

Somewhat like a muffled crack methinks.
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Unread postAuthor: Novacastrian » Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:32 am

I am quite impressed with the velocity of the first shot in your video, it hit the wall pretty hard from what it sounded like. Very nice first "Plasma Gun" Sir!
I'll give you 10/10 :P
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Unread postAuthor: spuzi14 » Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:33 pm

Alright that's cool. I definetly want to build a coilgun this time though. I'll probably start really small (camera flash circuit) but in the future I'll go bigger.

In the meantime I will be watching this topic and similar topics very closely to see what unfolds. It bothers me I no longer have the time to sit around and think about this stuff but I suppose there's a reason for that.
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:16 pm

Hmm...

Electrothermal gun or plasma gun... or are they the same thing?
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Unread postAuthor: Brian the brain » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:05 pm

That flash was pretty impressive...although it represents all the energy that is NOT spent propelling the projectile..

I like the direction this is going.
Hybrid generation x
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Oh my friggin god stop being so awesome, that thing is pure kick ass. Most innovative and creative pneumatic that the files have ever come by!

Can't ask for a better compliment!!
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