Skip to main content

This beefy 3D-printed railgun can fire projectiles 560 mph

WXPR-1 Test 2
Most people are familiar with rail guns through video games and other works of science fiction, but as the electronics needed to build these weapons become cheaper and more accessible, they’re quickly making their way into the real world. Need some proof? Just check out this ridiculously beefy homemade rail gun designed by YouTuber and DIY electronics enthusiast xtamared.

The rail gun is portable and fires just like a real gun, but with six capacitors that weigh a combined 20 pounds, it’s absolutely monstrous in comparison to a conventional rifle. Armed with these six capacitors, the gun (dubbed the WXPR-1 by its creator) delivers about 1050 volts and 1.8 kilojoules of energy to the projectile inside the gun.

To make the weapon portable, these capacitors are bundled into in three pairs of two and held together in a 3D printed frame, which is then attached to the bottom of the railgun body. As expected, it delivers one heck of punch when fired, and actually vaporized a carbon projectile in one of xtamared’s first test runs.

The gun’s electronics are controlled by an Arduino Uno R3, which monitors the levels of the electronic components — including the capacitor voltage, the amperage, the temperature, and battery voltage. The entire unit is powered by a 12V lithium-polymer battery that’s stepped up to 1050V using a micro-inverter and a transformer. It fires a variety of metal armatures, such as copper-plated tungsten, aluminum, carbon, and Teflon/plasma.

Video footage of the gun firing is pure awesomeness. The aluminum sabot flies out of the gun at 250 meters per second (559 mph), hits a plywood target with a steel backing approximately three feet away, and bounces off the wood after leaving a 1/2-inch deep indent. The carbon test was much more impressive from an audiovisual point of view, however, setting off a loud arcing sound and a discernible spark as the carbon projectile flew out of the gun and disintegrated.

Lest you think you could build one on your own in the next week, xtamared said he did a ton of research before he had enough knowledge to build the gun. He used information he gleaned from PhysicsThings micro-railgun and Sam Barros’ Powerless railgun design. It then took him about a year and a half to complete the project, with about six months to fine tune the electronics, six months to machine the rails, and another six months for the 3D printing, remaining design, and final assembly. The end product is nothing short of amazing.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
NASA is testing a 3D printer that uses moon dust to print in space
The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility, and the print heads, plates and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station.

The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility and the print heads, plates, and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station. Redwire Space

When a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this week, it carried a very special piece of equipment from Earth: A 3D printer that uses moon dust to make solid material.

Read more
The best 3D printers under $500
3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500
anycubic photon review 3d printer xxl 2

The 3D printing market has seen quite a few changes over the last few years. In just the span of a decade, the barrier to entry has dropped from well over several thousand dollars to under $200 in some cases. However, all entry and mid-level printers are not made equal. We have a few suggestions for prospective buyers and other information regarding alternatives not found on this list.

To some veterans of the 3D printing scene, this list may seem like it lacks a few of the most commonly recommended printers for newcomers. This is by design. Our list only considers printers with tested components from proven, reliable vendors. That's why we chose the Monoprice MP Mini v2 as our top pick--it's reliable and easy to use. We have avoided any printer with a frame primarily made from interlocking acrylic pieces and anything historically unreliable.
Most bang for your buck: Monoprice MP Mini v2

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more