In order to fire a projectile, we need a strong impact force that will deliver most of its energy to the projectile and then it will follow the preplanned trajectory and reach the target. Normally, in weapons and other uses of projectiles, the instantaneous thrust is provided by explosives in one form or another. They are good for providing an accurately calculated projectile for any purpose. However, that’s not the only way to provide the acceleration needed to fire something. A railgun is a device that can accelerate the movement of a metallic projectile with the help of strong electromagnetism from high voltages. Here, this guy made a homemade railgun that he claims is the fastest ever built by any non-government entity. Here he tells us how he ended up with this extraordinary gun.
Before we tell you the design, keep in mind that making a railgun is very dangerous. The high-voltage circuitry and capacitors especially are extremely dangerous. This gun can never be made completely safe for the holder, so make it at your own risk. You will see what we are dealing with in a minute.
This is the first launch of the railgun. Successive improvements will make it safer and efficient, but do realize the kind of danger you might be facing. The railgun operates with a pre-accelerator as it can’t accelerate stuff from zero velocity. The initial push is provided by compressed CO2 and it releases the projectile at 50mph which isn’t much. The aluminium armament enters two parallel copper rails, and it melts to provide good lubrication and thus, excellent contact. If there is no electricity to create an electromagnetic field, the rails have enough friction to stop the projectile from leaving.
The current flowing in a C-shape through the device. It produces outward force just like water flowing through a restricted rubber hose. Since the rails are firm, the projectile experiences a forward force. The capacitor he chose was 400 Volt, 6000 microFarad one that is used for supplying pulses. The total cost of this railgun was 2,600$ and more than 56 capacitors were used. You can follow his instructions to get the railgun working.
This is the first experiment of the Gun.
You can see that the connections weren’t strong enough to hold the massive electromagnetic forces.
The second experiment saw the projectile turned into vaporized/plasma spray of Aluminium. The problem was resolved with looser fit tolerances.
Launch 4 saw it being tested against a car door. Launch 3 has been skipped.
Now the devastating projectile is tested against a ballistics grade gelatin. It proves its dangerous capability.
A smartphone and a pumpkin stand no chance against the electromagnetic gun.
A set of 10 ceramic dinner plates are blown apart by the force from the railgun.
The railgun against a ceramic Piggy bank.