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Terrifying handheld blaster can fire playing cards at 120 miles per hour

Shoot playing cards at 200 km/h!

There are times when engineers use their amazing powers of invention, testing, and construction for good; creating world-changing technologies with the potential to improve all of our lives in some profound way. Then there are times when they use those same skills to build handheld cannons that fire playing cards at 120 miles per hour. In his latest video, YouTuber The Practical Engineer, a.k.a. Emiel Noorlander, falls into the second of these two categories. And we’re not complaining for a second!

“As a kid, I tried to learn how to throw playing cards for a bit, but I never got it,” Noorlander told Digital Trends.

Noorlander is making up for lost time. Inspired by a similar previous creation by ex-NASA engineer Mark Rober, only more compact and a bit simpler, Noorlander’s handheld blaster is a pretty awesome creation. It looks like the deadliest possible label-spitting pricing gun for angry retailers.

As he explains on his website, the device boasts a pair of motors. One pulls a single card from a deck, and the second sends it spinning out at incredibly high speeds. “As of now, I have only turned it up to about 60% of what it can do because that is about when it starts feeling unsafe,” he writes.

Playing card gun 1
The Practical Engineer/Emiel Noorlander

“The biggest challenge here for me was dealing with the high [revolutions per minute] of the motor,” Noorlander told me. “The motor spins at 20,000 RPMs, [which] means that even the tiniest bit of unbalance in the wheel can cause a lot of problems.”

He isn’t, of course, the only person to make terrifying DIY weapons and post evidence of them online. Whether it’s flamethrowers that would put Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’s Rick Dalton to shame or a 3D-printed rubber-band gatling gun capable of firing off 48 shots per second, Digital Trends has covered them all. Like so many of these madcap inventions, however, you’ll have to build your own if you want to start firing off playing cards like The X-Men’s Gambit on large quantities of caffeine.

That’s because Noorlander says he’s not looking to commercialize it any time soon — and with good reason. “With devices like this I [don’t] plan to make them to sell,” he said. “Mainly because I don’t want to deal with liability issues.”

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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