Rob Flickenger – a self-proclaimed mad scientist – turned a Nerf gun into the ultimate sci-fi sidekick. “Not long ago, I picked up (the graphic novel) The Five Fists of Science, all about Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain battling the evil Thomas Edison,” Flickenger says. “Tesla carries these steampunk guns that fire lightning bolts – I had to have one.”
Not even the sky-high voltage generated by a spark-gap tesla coil could deter him. A tech writer by day, Flickenger designed the porcelain-and-tungsten switch at the heart of the system on a 3D printer. The output is tied to a flyback transformer from an old TV, and six Cornell Dubilier capacitors sit in a laser-cut housing atop the weapon. The device is powered by an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. When paired with the circuit nestled inside a PVC end cap, those 18 volts turn into nearly 200 000. Catch the gun in action…
Flickenger’s Nerf gun was recognised in PM’s Backyard Genius Awards 2012. Get your hands on PM’s October 2012 issue – on sale on 24 September – for more useful, outrageous, anbitious and, yes, electrifying amateur engineering projects.
Image credit: Kyle Johnson