When a YouTube video starts with “I just built something that’s so crazy, I’m afraid to use it,” chances are it’s going to be awesome. Tinker-thinker Drake Anthony (aka Styropyro), the man who brought us the laser lightsaber, has a new toy in his arsenal: a 40-watt laser ‘shotgun.’
Like a covenant pistol on steroids, the gun relies an array of eight, five-watt parallel laser beams mounted on a giant heatsink, and is powered by one hell of a battery pack. For good measure, our laser overlord dropped on a mod that manipulates the beams, similar to how a choke modifies the spread of a shotgun blast for improved accuracy. “There’s no good reason for anyone to own something [like this],” he says. And while this is very true, it doesn’t mean we don’t want one.
The beams might not be strong enough to pierce armor just yet, but for a bit of perspective, the strongest commercially available laser uses about two watts of power – that model is illegal in most states, and strong enough to target an overhead helicopter (don’t do that).
As you can see in the video, Anthony’s gun makes mincemeat of party balloons, which, at 0.559 millimeters thick, are a very good representation of what might become of the 0.54 millimeters of tissue that make up your corneas, should you look into the blast. For obvious reasons, FDA regulations prohibit the sale of any handheld laser gun above 0.005 watts. “So don’t ask,” says Anthony. “It’s definitely the craziest thing I’ve built yet, but I hope to beat this with something even better before too long.”