Make a Mass Effect plasma rifle from a Nerf gun

Watch the Hacksmith team transform a mere Nerf gun into a faux-plasma rifle worthy of a Mass Effect battle.


There's a fine line between fantasy and reality, but when you're dead set on making a real-life prop from a video game like Mass Effect, it takes more than mere inspiration to get the job done.

In a video posted Friday by the Hacksmith team just in time for the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, fans of the game can watch the step-by-step instructions of how to turn a Nerf gun into a faux-plasma rifle. Instead of plasma, the "toy" actually shoots out red-hot ferrocerium, a metallic material that produces sparks at over 3,000 degrees Celsius (5,430 degrees Fahrenheit). Impressed yet?

"So how does a mad scientist go about superheating a combustible ferrous compound then shoot it without blowing themselves up?" the Hacksmith team asks in a blog.

"Just make an air gun that shoots a custom over the barrel ferrocerium dart, heat the ferrocerium with a 1000W induction coil until it is glowing red hot and then shoot," Hacksmith answers.

For those interested in making their own Mass Effect plasma rifle like the Hacksmith team did in a one-day build, the parts list includes a Longstrike Nerf gun, 1000W induction heater, 2 x Zippy 6s 6.4Ah 40C Lipo batteries, Zippy compact 1000mAh 3S 25C Lipo battery, Turnigy 8AWG silicone wire, Turnigy power meter, XT150 wire connectors, slide valve half-inch NPT, ball valve half-inch NPT, quick-connect plug, steel pipe nipple and ferrocerium.

The video shows the Hacksmith team making a custom over-the-barrel pneumatic gun, putting the air gun inside the gutted Longstrike Nerf gun and then using a string from the Nerf trigger to trip the quick release valve.

Next the team mounts an induction heater on the end of the Nerf gun and uses batteries to power the induction coil. The gun, of course, doesn't shoot plasma. Instead it uses custom aluminum darts milled using a Tormach PCNC 440 with ferrocerium added onto the end of the darts. The induction coil heats the ferrocerium.

Of course, the rifle isn't complete until it's painted and a Mass Effect logo is added to the side.

As the Hacksmith team test-shoots the rifle in the video, watch the sparks fly and end up damaging their video camera.

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