By David Ponce
Nikola Tesla was a genius. Any geek worth his salt knows this. He was also certifiably insane, which is probably why he was denied credit for much of his inventions. But most of you have probably heard of the Tesla Coil, that device TV shows are very fond of for its ability to produce some fantastic electric discharges. Well, a man by the name of Rob Flickenger has put the device to good use and made a gun out of it. That’s right, Rob’s device is a gun that shoots lighting rays; he calls it The Tesla Gun. There’s no thunder of course, because it’s not actual lightning, but man, that thing shoots some mean electric arcs and can be pointed at stuff. When it doesn’t find ground, it just kind of shoots stuff all over. The gun housing is made from melted down aluminum cans, which was poured into a mold made from a Nerf gun.
The final working Tesla Gun is a portable spark gap Tesla coil that is powered by an 18V drill battery. The electrical system is composed of the aforementioned drill battery along with a flyback transformer that steps the 18V to around 20,000V. A bank of capacitors stores the charge that is then used to strobe the coil itself. The primary and secondary coils are made of ABS plastic wrapped with copper wire, and are used to direct the charge outward through an aluminum toroid (the “barrel” of the gun).
We gotta say, Rob channels the mad scientist look quite well. And he’s done a good job of detailing a step by step of how he made this. So head on over to the links below and watch science in the making.