This is the second generation pistol. The one I made last year was both simpler and more complex. Last year I cut a handle out of MDF and used a Teensy 2.0 to generate a noise when the laser was active. It looked okay. This one is better.
The handle was a big deal but it was worth it. I used blender to model my shape in 3D and then got shapeways to print it for me. Fairly pricey when I add freight all the way to NZ, but so much better than MDF.
Here's the handle as it arrived.
It might not be too obvious that this is a gun handle but it will come clear soon enough. The handle is hollow to accommodate the battery and it has a ridge around the edge so the pearl inset I'm adding will fit snugly. There are two curly bits I'm rather pleased with. It took some fairly fine detail work in Blender to get those right and they turned out pretty good. Getting detail that fine with MDF is, of course, impossible. MDF just tears and you cannot carve it.
The next step was to paint it so it looks like metal, and you can see how those curly bits look pretty cool. This picture also shows the pearl insert in the handle.
I also want to mention the raised lozenge shape just above the lower curly bit. There's a wide hole through the structure underneath that and I wanted to add some strength to it at that point. I think the material, now that I've actually handled it, didn't need it. But these are the kinds of decisions you can make with 3D.
The code for the Attiny85 is in github. That also has the 3D model files (.blender and .stl) and the eagle files for the PCB (under directory /eagle).
The almost finished gun looks like this. Now you can see the barrel in place and you can also see the round circuit board sitting at the base of the barrel. The tiny speaker slots into the top of the handle just behind the barrel. It almost fit but I had to scrape back some material with a knife. The actual laser is that brass thing in the tip of the barrel. All it really needs is that and a battery to be a laser, which would not be nearly as much fun. The barrel is made out of a clear plastic bottle, so it won't break if dropped. The trigger is a red push button. The copper coil is decorative only and the LEDs are kind of tangled in amongst it.
Here's what it looks like in action:
I added some bits of leather around the laser at the tip of the barrel to cover the messy looking glue and a bit more behind the copper at the other end of the barrel, so now it looks a bit more steampunk.
The original of this, just so you know where I got the idea, is this classy Derringer. which is a good deal more ornate but much the same shape.
But I was also influenced by one of the guns on Warehouse 13, especially for the glass barrel.
Neither of those are real lasers though.