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Ma'Tok Staff

Stargate staff weapon, Sodan version of the Ma'Tok staff

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The Ma'Tok staff is the Jaffa warrior weapon of choice from the series Stargate. (Also see fun links on the side). I wanted to make a working replica by combining a hairspray canon with a remote firing system. The remote system is based on an SLR camera flash and remote flash slave. The slave, hidden at the target end, would operate a variety of different types of targets. See all the project logs for pictures and videos.

I have some old junk computers, electronics and wires begging to be Frankensteined, and my wife has a lot of hair spray.

  • 1 × 1” PVC five feet, schedule 80 high pressure pipe with end cap
  • 2 × Ancient camera flashes
  • 1 × Ancient Vivitar remote slave Detects light from flash.
  • 1 × Gas grill spark ignitor, electronic, with AA battery
  • 2 × Homemade actuators made from an old broken PC CD player
  • 4 × Relays, 5v
  • 1 × AA holder
  • 2 × Cake pans and a juice bottle Pans for making half of a football cake
  • 1 × Switches and keyboard from old computers
  • 1 × Textured spray paint and matte black spray paint Silver "forged metal" look

View all 16 components

  • Remote Target #4: Rocket Can

    frankstripod05/10/2014 at 01:27 0 comments

    Lets get to the videos first, still frames later, details way below. The rocket can is simple, but dangerous. Be careful! We had a fire extinguisher, garden hose and safety glasses ready. Staff triggers hairspray rocket for instant pyrotechnic effects without all the CGI and editing.

    This one went up 30 feet! (semi dud edited in second)

    The staff worked over 30 feet away in bright daylight!

    Daylight video was so fun, we couldn't stop looping it. This rapid fire editing one is for you [kmancreeper412]!

    Daytime was fun, but nighttime really shows whats going on with that hairspray. First one slides down the gutter on fire, some other shots, last few frames show staff igniting leftover fuel in launcher.

    Still frames speak for themselves.

    During flash:

    Can flying:

    Impressive nighttime staff blast:

    Night time emphasizes fuel burn duration:


    The launcher is a fruit can and the rocket is a soda can dug right out of a recycling bin.

    This is the circuit again with optional spark ignitor:

    One screw grounds to the can, the other has a generous amount of electrical tape to leave a 3/4” gap back to the can on the inside. The ignitor sparks about 3 or four times when triggered.

    I cut the top off the soda can. It fits really smooth (but not snug) open side down into the fruit can launcher to allow a decent combustion chamber.

    I set this up inside a concrete block in case things went wrong.

    A one second shot of hairspray provides the fuel. Here again, like the staff experiments, the hairspray leaves a sticky residue that stays on fire for up to one minute. We had many failed attempts to find the right combination of fuel and air. One attempt had too much fuel and would not fire until I opened the can, let some air in, replaced it, and then it fired.

  • Remote Target #3: AC Appliance Controller

    frankstripod05/09/2014 at 16:46 0 comments

    The video here shows the staff turning on a lamp.

    Some will look at this as dull, but I see endless possibilities for entertaining kids

    My wife still will not let me start her java in the morning Jaffa style :(

    Still frame sequence shows weird lighting effect:

    Staff opens:

    I am pretty sure that's a Liquid Naquadah leak reacting with the plasma :)

    AC appliance dominated.

  • Remote Target #2: Staff Flashes Lampshade

    frankstripod05/09/2014 at 16:21 0 comments

    Firing the staff at the lampshade triggers the slave and flash hidden inside the lampshade.

    This one is really hard to see because both flashes operate at the same exact time. I know this one looks lame, but I know there is a special effect video hack here somewhere in the future.

    (Some trick shots by [kmancreeper] himself; hip shot, shoulder shot, and behind the head shot.)

    I was hoping to expand on this idea by projecting a silhouette on a curtain, or projecting the flash through a 35mm slide. Those might be crazy ideas because it happens so fast, only a camera could catch it. If a friend happened to take a picture of that happening, they wouldn't see the image until later on the camera.

    No circuit in this one. I just took the slave mounted on the flash and clamped it under the lampshade.

    Since the poor video quality doesn't do the staff justice, here are some still frames to emphasize the live effect.

    It was too bright and brief to look at live, but makes for a nice glow inside the staff and the lamp looks like its having a meltdown in this frame.

View all 9 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Mike Szczys wrote 05/07/2014 at 21:22 point
Skillful hacking of whatever you can get your hands on. Well done!

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frankstripod wrote 05/07/2014 at 22:45 point
Thank you!!! I am considering reworking the entire project page, now that I'm starting to get the hang of this whole blog/video upload/social media thing, it deserves to look better. I'm happy so far as a first try.

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davedarko wrote 05/07/2014 at 08:23 point
this is screaming for a potato gun :) That is an impressive build for $0 ! I always buy and buy stuff but forget it in my project boxes... I'm still undecided, whether I like the shopping more than building stuff, but I guess its a draw.

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frankstripod wrote 05/07/2014 at 10:01 point
Thank you for the comment! The original concept was non-projectile flaming assist for the flash, but screams potato in the back of my head also. It could have been possible, except for a few snags: 1 No funds for a larger sch80 back chamber. 2 My friend [kmancreeper412] really wanted it, and I couldn't say no, so I removed the ignitor. 3 Turns out I hate hairspray! (inconsistent ignition, stinky sticky residue that stays on fire). I did a few experiments with butane also, but, like the hairspray, was hit and miss, and felt risky like playing with shotgun shells and a hammer. If I had to make another projectile launcher, I would use compressed air, pressure rated parts, and the shopping would be awesome!

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Chali Baicunn wrote 04/22/2014 at 23:38 point
Instead of a mechanical relay, have you thought about using transistors like a MOSFET? For fuel delivery you could always use a slightly pressurized container with liquid fuel; i.e. alcohol, naphtha, etc. You could connect the pressurized container to the combustion chamber via a small car fuel injector. The injector could then be activated with your electrical signal used for arming the electrical system.

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frankstripod wrote 04/24/2014 at 05:06 point
thanks for the advice. the project is still developing. some pros use metered propane and call hairspray projects like this "spray and pray"

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nicksnow42 wrote 04/20/2014 at 23:08 point
Just be certain that the pipe you use has a pressure rating suitable to handle the force of the explosion in the ignition chamber. Also, keep in mind that your ignition chamber needs to be significantly larger in diameter (or was it chamber area to barrel diameter?) than the barrel. As such, it may be challenging and or expensive to form that out of copper or join it to a different material.

I always used PVC for potato cannons back in the day. I made one with a 20,000 volt (stun gun) , 4-gap, ignition system and fuel mixing fan in the ignition chamber. I was pretty bad ass.

Be sure not to use ABS pipe, as it can explode . And if possible set up a remote firing system for the first dozen or so tests.

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frankstripod wrote 04/24/2014 at 05:03 point
Some good advice there. These things are dangerous when not taken seriously.

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nicksnow42 wrote 04/24/2014 at 12:05 point
Meant to say "It was pretty bad ass". Embarrassing typo, hahah.

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OneShot Willie wrote 04/14/2014 at 21:00 point
Here's a great pic for your project, though I bet you've googled it more than I have. This is a great idea!

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frankstripod wrote 04/14/2014 at 23:26 point
Got it. Thank you! Hoping to see some pics of Evette soon

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frankstripod wrote 04/14/2014 at 23:55 point
That link said the replica was made of copper tubing. That may be a consideration if the size and price is right. I will try to check out the used building supply store near me. Anyone know of a reason not to use copper?

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