CSGV Nightmare: First 3D Printed Hand-Held Rail Gun [VIDEO]


“If you think the image above looks frightening, you’re right. The crazy contraption pictured in the image is the first portable railgun, a futuristic projectile launcher associated most commonly with the military or NASA. The man in the image above isn’t in the military, and he’s not a NASA engineer. Instead, he’s a civilian who used some engineering smarts, some widely available parts and a 3D printer to create a functioning weapon that can fire graphite, aluminum, tungsten and even plasma projectiles at speeds of more than 560 mph.” Gun control that. Videos after the jump . . .


[h/t NYC2AZ]


  1. avatar Rich K. says:

    Is it a “rail gun”, or is it (as is more likely) a gauss gun (also called a coil gun)? A rail gun has two rails the projectile rides on; current flows through one rail to the projectile and down the other rail. THe rails do burn out after so many firings. A coil gun uses charged coils to propel a ferrous-based projectile. They are often incorrectly called “rail guns” but as I mentioned they are NOT the same thing!


    1. avatar dlj95118 says:

      …as per the article, pictures and dissertation of the rail/coil gun differences, it’s a rail gun.

      1. avatar BDub says:

        Either way, its NOT a firearm. hehe.

    2. avatar carson says:

      Coil (gauss) guns don’t normally spark like the rail gun in the video

    3. avatar Rich K. says:

      Cool. I was in a bit of a hurry so I missed that. I know that fairly recently the Navy tested a gauss gun and the press was calling it a “rail gun”. Big advantage for a rail gun is it can shoot a wider variety of materials – pretty much anything conductive – while gauss guns are limited to ferrous projectiles (and you have to worry about magnetic saturation of the projectile, IIRC).

    4. avatar Robert W. says:

      Definitely a rail gun. Look at one of his other videos where he shows a fired aluminum projectile, it is heavily damaged on the sides from the plasma arc that passes the current.

  2. avatar Removed_californian says:

    Now how does this work with regards to firearms laws? After all, this isn’t technically a firearm, and I’m more than positive that lots of people would love to have their own little (well, maybe not so little) space gun.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      That’s a good question. If he made it full-auto it wouldn’t even be a “machine-gun”… I think I’m getting some good ideas…

      What’s more interesting is that it’s almost a respectable handgun velocity. (~750 fps)

    2. avatar Dracon1201 says:

      You could have stopped at, “This isn’t a firearm.”

    3. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      NYC doesn’t let semantics stop them from prosecuting people that dare to have airsoft guns in their glorious* city.

      * And by glorious, I mean it in a way Stalin would describe the glorious Soviet Union.

    4. avatar dlj95118 says:

      Is an air gun a firearm? In some places, yes. Even BB guns are classified as firearms in some cities.

    5. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      ATF makes their own rules. They’ll redefine “firearm” soon enough to deal with this technological menace.

      I realize they really don’t have the authority to do that, but it hasn’t stopped them in the past.

      1. avatar BigDinVT says:

        Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Really Big Fires and Rail Guns, BATFRBFRG or “batferbrg” for short).

    6. avatar Josh Mephisto says:

      It isn’t a firearm under Australian law.

      Though it would be an offensive weapon if the owner gives the wrong answer to “what is it?”.

      “Offensive weapon” is:
      (a) a dangerous weapon, or
      (b) any thing that is made or adapted for offensive purposes, or
      (c) any thing that, in the circumstances, is used, intended for use or threatened to be used for offensive purposes, whether or not it is ordinarily used for offensive purposes or is capable of causing harm.

  3. avatar Craig says:

    Frightening? No. Special? Yes.

  4. avatar Gary McClenny says:

    When I was doing project work at Arnold AFB, they showed me a “rail” gun that fired a 2″ spherical aluminum ball at 20,000 fps.

    1. avatar 80 D says:

      Slow mo video of an impact, any impact, would be very, very cool.

    2. avatar FedUp says:

      That’s what I think of when I hear ‘rail gun’.

      I’d rather have a full auto 19th century Air Cane than a subsonic rail gun.
      Faster than the fastest crossbow just isn’t that fast when it comes to futuristic weapons.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Yeah, but that 20K fps rail gun was probably the size of an SUV, and wasn’t built in some dude’s garage. Baby steps…

  5. avatar carson says:

    It’s here! time to arm everyone with fully auto, drum fed, 14″ barreled rail guns, because #^@% the government!

  6. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    Will an upgraded model be in the stores in time for Christmas?

  7. avatar NYC2AZ says:

    He should get bonus points for making it look like the BFG from Doom.

    1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

      I thought it looked familiar…. Old school video gamers unite!

  8. avatar CRF says:

    It’s not frightening at all. I don’t see a carry handle, clipazine, pistol grip, grip thingy on the front, bayonet lug, or shoulder thingy that goes up, and it’s not black.

  9. avatar Desert Ranger says:

    I hope it comes in 45… Only then will it be effective.

  10. avatar Sammy^ says:

    The dawn of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives and Shooty Things.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      So then they’d be BATFEST. I think Obama should break out his executive pen right now. Best. Acronym. Ever.

      1. avatar Jeremy S says:

        They could also be BATFECES

  11. avatar CRF says:

    Plasma projectiles? Is the the precursor to a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range?

    1. avatar Tom says:

      I love that the “phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range” eventually makes into almost every comment section!

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “I love that the “phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range” eventually makes into almost every comment section!”

        Eh,… I don’t.

        It gets old *really* fast.

        1. avatar VaqueroJustice says:

          That’s why you send a killer android back in time to an earlier thread, when it isn’t yet stale.

        2. avatar Tom says:

          I also like that people somehow manage to put the “shoulder thing that goes up” into the comments lol

      2. avatar Desert Ranger Tycho says:

        We all know the reason why the Space Marines got hosed was because their rifles were in the 40 watt range. If it they had been in the 45 watt range the acid bleeding scum wouldn’t have stood a chance.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    Cool, but when the SHTF, I’m carrying the AR and you’re carrying that.

    1. Yea but he doesn’t run out of things to shoot as long as he can find some nails and he can hand crank up some juice…

      Tell me that doesn’t have *some* appeal…

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        Hold on, just– look its a pull start and…

        Once I fire up the genny, imma shoot you real good!

  13. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I want a rail-gun when it shoots at the speed of light like in Eraser(Arnold again!) That’s worth having…but this is cool.

  14. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Ok…do you go IWB or OWB with that thing?

    1. avatar pyratemime says:

      That won’t fit IWB with what i am already packing…

      My S&W Shield… what were you thinking you pervs!

    2. avatar Ing says:

      Is that a 3D printed polymer/carbon composite plasmatic railgun in your pocket, or…

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Ok…do you go IWB or OWB with that thing?”

      I’ll be impressed when Dallas Archer can conceal it…

  15. avatar gsnyder says:

    The take away here is to demonstrate if gunpowder actuated firearms were banned and taken, newer ideas are available or around the corner. Do we want to arm the criminal element or good citizens? If the Gov’t and anti-gun people fight they will likely end up with a replacement. They should tread lightly and be careful of what they wish for.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      A couple/four leaf springs cut down out of a car or truck, some high tensile strength stranded steel wire, some machining of brackets and a cocking mechanism, add in some body building to enable you to hoist it, and you can easily build a crossbow that will punch a hardened steel or (better yet) tungsten bolt clean through someone in a car wearing body armor.

      1. avatar foo dog says:


        Love this new Maker culture.
        The Rise of the (3D Printing) Machines.

        Just like the old school machinists-
        quietly driving ATF and Lefties nuts.

      2. avatar Roymond says:

        Does that come in a Gatling design?

  16. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    As I read the original article, I really wanted to buy the author (Epstein) a box of Depends.

    When one reads through the comments at the original article source, one sees that the Founding Fathers were indeed wise to limit voting to only those men who owned property.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      I’d settle for American voters who respect the Constitution. Meanwhile the Democrats opposing voter ID continues apace with their support for gun control.

      1. avatar Adub says:

        It wasn’t just property owners, there were other limits. The people in control limited the right to vote to keep the rabble out. As far as I’m concerned, only tax payers should be allowed to vote. On government assistance? No ballot for you!

  17. avatar Ben says:

    “carbon projectile” and “elven hundrend volts” = rail gun. now… seeing how some states have clasified air guns as firearms, they could just ad this one to the list.

    Yup. one more thing to control and criminalise.

  18. avatar defensor fortismo says:

    Unless you’re Andre the giant, it’s a bit of a stretch to call it handheld.

  19. avatar anonymoose says:

    Give this man a scholarship to MIT!

  20. avatar Southern Cross says:

    F-Troop will classify it as NFA category “other”, with retrospective application earning the maker 20 years at Club Fed being Bubba’s bedtime companion

  21. avatar Dustin says:

    I had meatloaf for dinner last Wednesday.

  22. avatar Blake says:

    Somebody is going to look at the rail gun and figure out how to make it smaller and more powerful and also figure out how to scale it up and make it even more powerful.

    1. avatar rick says:

      Done, old news.

      But much like hoverboards, getting the power to supply non stop use is now the problem.
      For the Gov, decaying plutonium does the trick. Just not for the public… cancer and what not…

  23. avatar DAN V says:

    SilencerCo is already working on the first suppressor.

  24. avatar PeterK says:

    800 fps? Is that good? Someone want to explain the plasma bits to me? Because I am skeptical on that point.

    It’s cool that it got made, though.

  25. avatar rick says:

    Article seems to have some of that pissy anti gun flare we all have come to despise of the opponents.

    “The man in the image above isn’t in the military, and he’s not a NASA engineer. ”

    So what?

    Sort of like saying “civilians shouldn’t be allowed to carry firearms outside their homes, they aren’t police officers or military!”

    500mph is slow

    you get to 6 times the speed of sound and you can run with the big boys.

    screaming about a printed out of date item is like making headlines that a lathe was used to produce a shotgun barrel.

    Don’t hype it up more than it is.

  26. avatar Paul says:

    Where can I find an IWB holster for this?

  27. avatar GenghisQuan says:

    So…when are we going to have the power armor to go with this?

  28. avatar Roymond says:

    Can I use it as a nail gun? Then it’s not a firearm, it’s a tool.

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