A Look Into the Future: Engineer Showcases Portable, 3D-Printed Railgun

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)

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Archangel November 6, 2015, 11:05 pm

    And the Fart-master 2000 passes gas again?

  • Kevin November 6, 2015, 9:28 pm

    Am I the only person to notice the tank of compressed gas in the butt stock? I can’t think of any reason for that other than if it was being used as a coolant (or the real source of the energy to project the missile).

  • Ken November 6, 2015, 4:41 pm

    For ONCE, the term rail gun was used correctly. ATTENTION GUN WRITERS a pistol with the ability to attach accessories to the front of it is not a rail gun !

  • Ellis D Stephensond November 6, 2015, 1:27 pm

    Very. Interesting!!! Would like to see more

  • mike November 6, 2015, 11:07 am

    it is a paintball gun guys, see the co2 tank on the back and the fact that is throws sparks is a dead give away. but is does look cool. if you do the simple math the small lipo charger he has would take about a month to charge a battery up enough to fire the round.

  • Retired Navy Spook November 6, 2015, 9:07 am

    “Almost no muzzle flash”? Too funny based on the photo. Also, 560 mph translates to 844 FPS, or about the velocity of standard .45 ACP 230 gr. ball ammo. Still a bad-ass looking weapon, though.

  • DRAINO October 30, 2015, 9:07 am

    That’s pretty fast, James! Wow! Anyway……I always get a kick out of people not using the term “point blank range” correctly. Especially from a guy who is an engineer.

    • James M. October 31, 2015, 1:58 am

      Didn’t you know point blank is aka kill shot. A term meaning a shot to the head, usually within 300 yrds, that is performed in a really cool manner. Normally while holding the gat sideways.
      Public Service Announcement: this comment was made with humor in mind.

      • Al November 6, 2015, 7:29 am

        I would be interested in one that can disable the electric system of a vehicle, sort of like in the series Viper, I need it to control the A$$holes that drive by my house with their shitty excuse for music (aka regueton) blasting super loud at 3:30 am, every night!!

  • James M. October 29, 2015, 10:24 pm

    Could be wrong, but I believe the gov’t has one that hits 13,000 mph or 19,066.667 fps. That’s unbelievable.

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