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The Hacksmith: Making Zarya’s Particle Cannon Real

By The Hacksmith

This project was created by Engineering Superheroes of Hackmith Industries.


Overwatch now has over 30 million players worldwide, surpassing even the current renditions Blizzard’s flagship series like World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, and Diablo 3. Overwatch has also become very popular in the world of Comic-Con and cosplaying. While much of the fanbase is focused on making impressive movie-quality costumes, the Hacksmith team does cosplay a little different. Instead of recreating the costumes, they make the weapons come to life! They’ve already recreated Torbjörn’s turret, Reinhardt’s rocket hammer, and even Genji’s sword! Now the team is tackling Zarya’s laser cannon!

Zarya’s enormous plasma cannon

Zarya’s enormous plasma cannon

If you’re not familiar with Overwatch, the character Zarya is a heavily armed and armored tanky fighter from Russia who is also one of the strongest people in the world. She needs to be to carry around that enormous cannon! Check out how it was recreated in the video below.


How Does it Work?

Since we haven’t invented tiny particle accelerators yet, this cannon uses an 80W Class 4 Industrial Co2 tube laser! The laser beam can’t be seen with the naked eye, but it sure can put off heat! It has the equivalent power of 80,000 laser pointers. This cannon has actually spawned a laser cannon arms race with Styropyro, another YouTuber with a penchant for dangerous designs.

The laser bazooka arms race begins

The laser bazooka arms race begins

The Electronics

Zarya's Particle Cannon uses Digi-key components to provide realistic sound and lighting effects as well as appropriate isolation and filtering for safe laser operation. At the heart of the cannon is an Arduino UNO R3 which controls all the components including a Wave Shield and high power MOSFETS. First, an Arduino Wave Shield was utilized to play back high quality sound effects from the game directly off an SD Card. Second, the IRL540 MOSFET allowed us to control and animate 15 meters of pink, blue, and UV LEDs as well as a 2W blue laser using a simple 5V PWM control signal. Third, a high power relay is used to switch the main power (including the 750W inverter), in conjunction with a safety switch and a signal relay to isolate the control circuitry from the high voltage power supply. This ensures reliable laser control and safe user operation, with the most realistic sound and visual effects.

 Although the particle cannon puts off some intense colors, the laser is actually invisible to the naked eye. This device had more attention devoted to aesthetics than previous Hacksmith creations, the frame was 3D printed and assembled from over 30 different individual parts. You can find the 3D printing files on Thingverse.

If you’d like to see more projects like this, be sure to check out the other projects the Hacksmith team has made on!

More Hacksmith Creations

Key Parts and Components

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  • 1738-1228-ND
  • 1528-1118-ND