Coilgun Knowledgebase

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

We have a coil wound over a non-conductive tube which is the coilgun`s barrel, of course. It has to be non conductive (plastic or something comparable) because otherwise the coil`s magnetic field would simply cancel out itself inside the tube. The projectile has to be made of a ferro magnetic material, that means stuff that reacts to magnetic fields. If a short current pulse is

Coilgun Knowledgebase
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passed through the coil via our charged capacitor and the switch, the projectile will be pulled into the coil. If the pulse ends before the projectile gets to the coil`s middle, it`ll leave with a gain in velocity. The main difficulties with coilguns are winding an appropriate coil, finding the appropriate voltage and capacity and of course timing and positioning of the projectile. The more windings a coil has, the stronger is its magnetic field. But if you use too long and thin wire with your coilgun, either the wire will eventually burn through or the coil`s electric resistance will go up and lower the current and thus weaken the magnetic field. Further increasing of the velocity is possible by adding more stages which means not more than adding more coils. These coils need to be triggered automatically since the projectile is already in motion and you`re not able to push the button at the right moment. Many people use light barriers mounted in front of the second stage. Here`s a schematic of my second stage light barrier trigger (Ignore the safety switchtes and safety lights): You can see the second stage, a light barrier in front of it and a little screw which gets pushed (normally it would fly through by itself due to the first stage) into the beam. I built this two staged test rig with multiple measurment devices in order to learn more about positioning of the projectile in front of the coil, the coil itself,...

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