Electric soldering guns like the ones made by Weller are so named due to a passing resemblance to a hand gun, but to me they've always looked more like a B-movie imitation of a classic phaser from the Star Trek TV series. If you're wanting a soldering gun that really looks like a pistol, then take a look at Mike Warren's mod, which combines an old air pistol and a battery-operated soldering iron into an oddly pleasing hand-held heat weapon. The gun even uses the magazine clip as a battery pack.
An editor at Instructables, where he has posted detailed build instructions for others to follow, Warren first broke apart a RadioShack cordless soldering iron, made a sketch of the circuit and then desoldered the internal components. The old, broken HFC M9 Spring Airsoft Gun Pistol that was donated for the modification cocks by sliding the barrel backwards, but a sharp jolt forward will break it away from the pistol frame and off the guide rails.
After removing components from the firing path, electrical leads were fed to the socket at the business end of the barrel for the heating element. The original RS iron had one white LED power status light, but Warren opted to hot glue a 3mm red LED at each side of the pistol body, and the original toggle switch was replaced with a black momentary switch positioned behind the trigger. The wiring and components were connected up as per the slightly modified sketch (to accommodate the extra LED and the new switch) and then the power source was attended to.
The pellet guideway from inside each half of the dismantled magazine was carefully removed with a rotary tool and, using some scrap foam to ensure a snug fit, four AAA-sized batteries were placed into the gutted clip. A stiff metal plate was positioned at the bottom and spring contacts at the top, and the magazine was put back together.
"Rechargeable batteries are the way to go with this project," advised Warren. "If someone wants more juice they can easily wire in a different power supply, or make it wired to an electrical outlet (further engineering would need to be involved to regulate the power to the tip by way of resistors, etc.)"
Warren didn't want to hard-wire the magazine to the rest of the circuitry inside the pistol body, so he epoxied two metal contacts to a piece of plastic, soldered the positive and negative connections to their appropriate contacts and after some minor alignment adjustments, glued the contacts in place.
"I've used this Soldering Gun for a few weeks now on a couple of projects and it's really fun, I can't help but twirl it around my finger, gunslinger-style, while I'm planning out which electrical connection to make next, "Warren told Gizmag. "I am not an electronics expert and this project is totally within grasp for any beginner to novice to attempt. It was a fun build and took me about 8 hours to plan and assemble."
Personally, I like that this mod has taken a weapon that can cause harm and converted it into something used to build things - from destruction to construction, if you will. The modification works just like a normal soldering iron but looks so much cooler, although Warren does advise caution when showing it off - its menacing looks could be mistaken for the real thing, and you wouldn't want to be taken down by local law enforcement just for waving your soldering iron in public, would you?
Be sure to check the source link below for detailed build instructions before attempting your own version.