How to build a REAL Laser Gun with a Nintendo Zapper, Part 2

This relic from the past is about to get VERY dangerous. But in a super cool way.

How to Build a Real 100% working Laser Gun from a Nintendo Zapper, Part 2

Step 3: Saving and recreating the Nintendo Zapper Trigger Mechanism



DISCLAIMER: This is a dangerous project intended for mature audiences and for informational purposes only. Intentional misuse can result in bodily harm or injury to yourself or others, including animals.  The author of this post and this site assumes no liability for your actions.


When we left off, we were in the middle of disassembling our Nintendo Zapper. We removed the screws and got our workstation prepared for the creation of the weapon of mass destruction we are building (a Nintendo Zapper Laser Gun baby!)

Next, carefully remove the small screws that protect the trigger.

In a stroke of awesome foresight, the factory trigger is perfect for our laser. It will more than handle our power load AND gives us dual modes of operation – pulse and continuous use.

If you press the trigger about halfway, the switch remains closed – meaning we can get a steady stream of laser awesomeness.

If you press the trigger all the way, it shoots a single shot. A short laser burst. 

So cool.

The inner workings of the Nintendo Zapper trigger.
After removing the screws wot the trigger case, we find the trigger mechanism. We’ll reuse most of this, preserving the nostalgic feel of the original Nintendo Zapper gun.

Next, remove the electronics from the PC Board attached to the switch.

The inner workings / PC Board attached to the switch that should be removed.
We’re going to be removing the “zapper” from the Nintendo Zapper gun. It will be a Zapper no more.

Fire up your desoldering iron, or soldering iron if you don’t have one. Wait for a few minutes for the iron to warm up.

Take this time to think about how awesome this is going to be.

Carefully desolder the connections from the switch.

Desolder the PC Board from the switch
A desoldering iron will make this easier, but you can use a soldering iron and a desoldering wick.

Remove the PC Board with the light zapper. Set it aside and save either for your next project, or electronics recycling event. 

Remove the PC Board once unsoldered from the Nintendo Zapper gun
DON’T just throw this away. That’s not cool.

Let’s take a look at the switch. 

Seriously, yes, 3A @ 125 250AC. Nice. We could run a few lasers through this thing. Thank you, Nintendo!

The Nintendo Zapper main switch
Not worried at all about the load through this switch or driving lasers through it. Overkill for a Nintendo zapper, perfect for us.

We’ll reassemble the switch case next. 

Nintendo gun trigger after resealing the case for the firing mechanism
Put the switch back in the trigger case and seal it up before you lose any springs. Use the small screws you previously removed.

Put the switch aside in a safe place. We’re going to be gutting the gun next.


Step 4: Demolition and reusing the original Nintendo Zapper case

Now, you get to play demolition man (or woman)

Fire up some tunes.

Make sure nothing remains in the Nintendo Zapper enclosure.

View of the bottom of the laser gun case
The bottom of the gun should look like this. No electronics should remain.

Grab a pair of tin snips or heavy-duty scissors and start clipping away on the area that held the weight in the handle.

Don’t worry about the weight – the weight of the original gun in the base of the Zapper gun will be replaced by batteries.

Begin removing extra pieces from the handle starting with the clips that held the weight
We have to remove this to make room for the batteries and other components, which will also restore some weight to the handle.

How much should you remove?

You’ll need to clear enough space for the batteries to sit comfortably. Once you snip enough out, you can use an old soldering iron or knife or razor or whatever to smooth it out. I used a Dremel. You could also just try and cut out the whole thing using a Dremel or similar tool. 

The base will need to be sanded or smoothed out
The base will need to be smooth. You can use a Dremel tool, sandpaper, or an old soldering iron to melt away and smooth out the surface. Don’t go too deep, otherwise you may go through the plastic and damage the handle.
Using a Dremel power tool to smooth out the weight holder
Here, I’m using a Dremel to cut out and smooth the excess plastic bits I couldn’t cut out with the tin snips.

Step 5: Solder power leads to Nintendo Zapper trigger switch

Grab two wires. You can make them two different colors if you want. They will be attached to the trigger switch we desoldered from in Step 3. 

We are going to be running the wire from the switch to the power and laser driver. 

Preparing the wire for the trigger switch
Take a wire and strip the ends. Fire up the soldering iron. Pre-tin one side. Do this twice, once for each power lead.

Remember, only pre-tin 1 side on each wire. The other end of the stripped wire should be left on its own.

Pre-tin the wire
Here we pre-tin the wire. Do this by putting some solder and letting it flow onto the bare wire. This will help establish a solid connection on the switch.
Soldering the wires onto the trigger
Solder the two wires to the switch in the trigger using the tinned side.

Slip some heat shrink tubing over the leads to cover the exposed switch. Use a heat source, like a grill lighter or long neck candle lighter, to shrink the tubing. Hey, it’s fire! And it looks really cool in this picture.

shrinking the shrink wrap tubing over the trigger leads
This will protect the leads on the switch. While it’s not strictly necessary, it will offer additional protection against an accidental short circuit.

If you don’t have shrink wrap tubing or don’t have a size that will fit, you can also lightly wrap the leads in electrical tape. Don’t use regular or masking tape. 

Here’s the completed trigger.

Completed shrink wrapped trigger
All the connections to the trigger / switch are now soldered, cooled, and protected. We’re in a good place. Make sure everything is tight.
Replacing the trigger back into the case
Put the trigger back in the gun. Don’t put the screws back in yet…

Run the wires as show in the picture above. Don’t block any of the screw holes. 


What’s next for the Nintendo Zapper Laser Gun project?

That’s it for today! We made some serious progress transforming the gun from an ordinary Nintendo Zapper into a working Laser gun! In Part 3 we will place the batteries in the base, install the safety key switch, and wiring the two together! The Nintendo Zapper Laser Gun is coming together.


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