If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your very own railgun, one Do-It-Yourself engineer has made a gun that uses electromagnetic energy to fire bullets made of various metals at speeds in excess of 560 mph.
NSA_Listbot, the Reddit user and aerospace engineer who made the railgun, used AutoCAD and a 3D printer to fabricate the housing parts of the gun. Those parts, with six capacitors and other common electrical components, put 3,000 kilojoules of energy behind a single shot.
Though it may look and sound like something out of a science fiction movie, railguns or electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launchers have been around for a while. According to Wired, organizations like NASA and the Navy have been testing systems that can fire at rates of 5,600 mph.
Videos of the gun being test-fired using carbon, Teflon, aluminum, and copper-plated tungsten were posted online, and it’s hard to not imagine the movie sound effects of Star Wars blasters when you watch.
The different metals fired provide different results, with graphite having “probably just vaporized” before reaching the target. The tungsten rounds, however, are “very efficient projectiles for the railgun,” NSA_Listbot comments in his original Reddit post.
“Almost no muzzle flash- all the energy goes directly into accelerating the armature. It penetrated 3.5″ into cantaloupe while tumbling. Granted, that was at point-blank range. But still- it would probably be lethal,” he continued.
Hmmm, interesting. I’m not sure I’d depend on it for home defense, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless. Would you ever consider owning and/or building a railgun?
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Michael Doran)