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flash gun

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flash gun

Unread postAuthor: enigmacipher » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:24 pm

I want to set out to build a very unusual gun, and since you guys at spudfiles seem to be experts at recreational shooting, I thought id ask you.

The type of weapon I want to build can best be described as a flashgun. I got the idea from when I flashed a disposable camera in my face. The single, short flash was actually enough for me to feel some residual heat. This was more than I expected, but not that surprising.

So I though, what if I put 12 camera flashes together, and flashed them in my face? 12 times as much heat? So most camera flashes produce a very wide angle light, while a spotlight produces a comparably more directional light. So what if I took those 12 flashes, and focused them down to the size of dime, the unfocused them into a straight beam? Would I be able to incur a significant heat on a target and a EXTREMELY bright light?

The parts are almost free, and the project should be fairly easy, except for one thing. Focusing requires lenses or reflectors, and because lenses are more accurate, I prefer them. But where would I get lenses?

Does anybody know of a sight that sells lenses of different and very gradual angles?

I dont need a straight beam, just straight enough to use in spotlight-like fashion. It doesnt need to be even close to perfect, but I would like to see the ability to impove flash capacitance and number of xenon tubes. Maybe one day I could light stuff on fire from a distance...

Lack of information combined with my mediocre google skillz have left me with no documentation, so If anybody knows of anybody who has tried this, let me know, and point me their direction.
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Unread postAuthor: Insomniac » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:51 pm

Sorta like what they used in one of Tom Clancy's books lol (I think it was debt of honor)

I don't know too much about lenses, but provided you could get those 12 flash tubes in a very small area, a simple convex lens would allow you to concentrate them in a very tight spot. The downside of course, is that you need to be a very specific distance from the target to have it focus. Perhaps having a small LED among the tubes would allow you to adjust the lens for each shot easier? I'm not sure what lenses you would need to get it into a straight, laser-like beam.

If you do get this built, be really damn careful with it... if the beam is concentrated enough, it would probably do a lot of damage to the eyes if it was accidently discharged at somone.
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:55 am

Sounds like you're trying to build a poor man's laser. You can concentrate and focus until the cows come home and you won't be able to build a "beam" that will do much.

The light is still incoherent and while you may get a spot of heat out of it up close at a focal point, you'll not get anything usable as a straight beam. You will have to extract coherent light out of your system to have any hope of a decent beam and for that you'll need to build a real laser.

The old fashion ruby rod lasers actually did use high powered xenon tubes to "pump" the ruby but these were very inefficient. Your best bet for a laser using real world and accessible materials that will do real damage is a CO2 gas laser. This can be built to be a very serious device so you should proceed with great caution on a project like that.
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Unread postAuthor: enigmacipher » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:31 am

no, Although I think a straight beam that could light stuff on fire would be cool, that is not the purpose. I just want a really, really, really, bright flashlight. That only lasts for a fraction of a second.

I do plan on placing a few leds behind the flash tubes, for focusing, and it is impossible to make a straight, laser like beam. because each wavelength of light reflects slightly differently, I could only get one frequency to become straight.

lenses I would need would be a convex to focus, and a opposite concave to straighten. Having several, very shallow concave and convex lenses to fine tune. Unfortunately, I don't know where to buy them.

I'll check out CO2 gas lasers, but I have a feeling Id be in way to deep with that.
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Unread postAuthor: rp181 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:22 am

your talking about making a laser, its been done before, look on you tube. Rather then pile flashes, you pile capacitors, and hook it up to one board. You need a crystal to pump, google diode pumped so;id state laser, but rather then a diode you use intense light.

Search "laser crystal"

If youve seen "diamonds are forever" they are doing the same thing, but a diamond is the laser crystal (in reality, it would work, but is a crappy crystal), and the sun is the light source.
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Unread postAuthor: TurboSuper » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:23 pm

No, he doesn't want a laser, the guy just told you what he wants- a flash gun. A device that could possibly be used to temporarily blind someone :D (can't think of another use for it apart from scaring cockaroaches).

As for where to get the required lenses, mabye from a cheap pair of binoculars?
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Last edited by TurboSuper on Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:08 pm

TurboSuper wrote:No, he doesn't want a laser, the guy just told you what he wants- a flash gun. A device that could possibly be used to temporarily blind someone


Well franky, I've never heard of a "flashgun" that was beam based before. Pro camera flash units are called flashguns...Nikon has an example here. He's talking about lighting stuff on fire from a distance. 12 disposable camera flash circuits just isn't going to get that job done.

They are calling this theater devicea flashgun but it is pyrotechnic based and not light based.

Turbo, perhaps you could enlighted us as to what exactly your idea of a flashgun is.
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Unread postAuthor: TurboSuper » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:35 pm

starman wrote:
TurboSuper wrote:No, he doesn't want a laser, the guy just told you what he wants- a flash gun. A device that could possibly be used to temporarily blind someone


Well franky, I've never heard of a "flashgun" that was beam based before. Pro camera flash units are called flashguns...Nikon has an example here. He's talking about lighting stuff on fire from a distance. 12 disposable camera flash circuits just isn't going to get that job done.

They are calling this theater devicea flashgun but it is pyrotechnic based and not light based.

Turbo, perhaps you could enlighted us as to what exactly your idea of a flashgun is.


Err...I just told you? And so did he in his post. If you have a better name for it, then by all means, share.
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:47 pm

TurboSuper wrote:Err...I just told you? And so did he in his post. If you have a better name for it, then by all means, share.


I would call what he wants a laser...since "flash gun" is apparently a made up name in this context.

Only you mentioned blinding someone, which can be done with standard lighting. He wants to heat things from a distance.

So what if I took those 12 flashes, and focused them down to the size of dime, the unfocused them into a straight beam? Would I be able to incur a significant heat on a target and a EXTREMELY bright light?
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:10 pm

It's true you know.

Get a strip of black rubber and place it against the flash of a disposable. Then trigger the flash. If you take the rubber off it has a slightly burnt smell to it. You can feel the heat on a finger if you press it up against the flash port.

However I really don't know how you'd focus multiple flash tubes into something worthwhile. The heat effect won't be projected very far however bright the output.

A fairly cheap laser being run at a higher than appropriate voltage would be more suitable for point heating at a distance. I've forgotten who it was that was doing that, someone mentioned it on the chat.
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Unread postAuthor: TurboSuper » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:29 pm

enigmacipher wrote:no, Although I think a straight beam that could light stuff on fire would be cool, that is not the purpose. I just want a really, really, really, bright flashlight. That only lasts for a fraction of a second.


"Really bright flashlight" != laser.

Q.E.D.

Yes, a laser would be better for long range heating, but he said that it's fine if it doesn't do that. Guess we'd better wait for the next reply.
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Unread postAuthor: POLAND_SPUD » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:20 pm

is it easy to buy lasers capable if lighting stuff far away ? well anyone could use them to dammage almost anything and he won't get caught... isn't it regulated by the law or something?
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:27 pm

If you use visible beam pointers at aircraft you're likely to get a visit from the police if you were also dumb enough to be doing so from your bedroom window because that is an offence, not due to heat because no matter how many balloons it can pop it'll be unnoticeable at that range but because it might dazzle the pilot/s.
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Unread postAuthor: POLAND_SPUD » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:57 pm

well to be honest.... I am talking more about seting things on fire/dammaging stuff.... how are you going to find someone who do something like that... it's almost imposible... therefore I am sure there has to be some regulations

BTW there is an idiot in poland who dammages cars with an airgun.... he is using a suppressor so no one has ever seen him... he 9or she) is featured in at least one programme a week.... I don't have to tell you that his actions don't not help me and spudding in poland.... :? why there are idiots like him (her)
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:22 pm

If you just want to focus the light into either the tightest beam that you can or onto the smallest spot that you can then you won't be able to use lenses. At least, it won't be at all easy to do it with lenses.

Your best bet would be a parabolic reflector with all the flashtubes mounted at the focus of the parabola. The reflector can be constructed from any flexible mirrored material. I think you can get mirrored plastic sheet that would be easy to form into the reflector.

Basically, you're making the revers of a parabolic solar hotdog oven:
http://scitoys.com/scitoys/scitoys/ligh ... ooker.html
Put the flashtubes where the hot dog normally goes.

You can reverse the setup by putting the flashtubes (with their original reflectors still in place) outside the reflector and use the reflector to concentrate the light from several tubes on the hotdog (or whatever you want to use as the target).

My WAG is that you won't be all that impressed with the energy output of the small photoflash tubes. The tube actually disippates about 5J (1.2 chemical calories, 0.0012 food calories) of energy. Of that 5J a fair amount probably ends up as heat in the tube and not light. Still,k it sounds like an interesting project.

Another possibliity would be to use a cheap freznel lens, like the ones sometimes used on the back window of RVs to give the driver a wider view behind the vehicle.
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