Scottish teenager builds a laser gun in his bedroom using a 3D printer

A teenager has created a sci-fi inspired laser gun using a 3D printer that is able to burst balloons, light matches and even melt metal.

The 15-year-old from Inverness in Scotland was inspired by videos of similar devices and decided to attempt to create his own.  

Crafting the sci-fi weapon in his bedroom over a period of six months, Gabriel McFarlane faced ‘many hurdles and problems’ in order to bring his idea to life.

A laser is a device that emits light through a process involving optical amplification. The word is an acronym for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’.

The laser light is created when the electrons in atoms in special glasses, crystal or gas absorb energy from an electrical current and become excited.

They are used in disk drives, laser printers, barcode scanners, fibre-optic cables, laser surgery, cutting devices and more.

Mr McFarland said he purchased parts from eBay to create the laser and focus it in a way that could then burst the balloons. 

The 15-year-old from Inverness in Scotland was inspired by videos of similar devices and decided to attempt to create his own. He used parts purchased from eBay and a 3D printed body for the 'gun'

The 15-year-old from Inverness in Scotland was inspired by videos of similar devices and decided to attempt to create his own. He used parts purchased from eBay and a 3D printed body for the ‘gun’

The weapon is able to burst balloons, melt metal and light matchsticks but Gabriel says he never uses it without googles on

The weapon is able to burst balloons, melt metal and light matchsticks but Gabriel says he never uses it without googles on

His creation looks like an early prototype of something Han Solo might have used in Star Wars.

‘I 3D printed the case from models I designed and I have a safety switch which is connected to an indicator.

‘It’s unreal having a sci-fi looking device. It really is amazing.

‘Most people I showed it to were very impressed and some where slightly concerned because it is a dangerous device,’ he said.

The teenager spent six months designing, sourcing parts and building the laser gun. He says he may build a Tesla coil as his next electronics project

The teenager spent six months designing, sourcing parts and building the laser gun. He says he may build a Tesla coil as his next electronics project

The teenager said he had been studying electronics for two years, watched videos, read books and talked to electrical engineers before deciding to build the ‘gun’.

‘The amount of precaution I took was insane. I never use it without safety goggles’.

He said he purchased the electronic parts from eBay including the laser diode and then 3D printed the case they sit in to give it a finished look. 

Gabriel used the 3D printer seen here to create the outer casing for the gun. He then put the components inside before showing it working

Gabriel used the 3D printer seen here to create the outer casing for the gun. He then put the components inside before showing it working

Gabriel McFarlane received a lot of support from Reddit users when he posted a video of his working 'laser gun' to the r/teenagers subreddit

Gabriel McFarlane received a lot of support from Reddit users when he posted a video of his working ‘laser gun’ to the r/teenagers subreddit

Mr McFarlane originally posted the video on Reddit to the teenagers subreddit with the title ‘I spent the past six months building a laser gun between school’. 

He had an array of responses including ‘I have no words to describe how fucking cool you are’ and ‘Everybody gangsta til the quiet kid whips out a laser gun.’ 

The teen said he might work on building a Tesla coil or a robot as his next project but hopes to return to lasers by making a more powerful red laser array in the future.

WHAT IS THE NAVY’S ACTIVE LASER WEAPON?

US Navy officers are currently testing the world’s first drone-killing laser capable of blasting targets with 30kW of power.

The $40 million (£30 million) ‘active laser weapon’ moves at the speed of light and is ‘more precise than a bullet’, according to naval officers.

Live-tests of the super laser were carried out in the Persian Gulf last year, and a prototype is set to be fitted to the amphibious warship USS Portland in 2018.

Officials have predicted that the weapon will be ready for combat by 2020.

The technology works by automatically zeroing in on targets, meaning it doesn’t need to ‘lead’ its aim. 

As soon as the laser makes contact with a drone, the vehicle heats to a temperature of more than 1,000°F (537°C) and explodes.  

You may also like...