Air Cannon Improved?





Introduction: Air Cannon Improved?

About: I am one oversized kid, making or buying everything that my parents said I could not have when I was a kid! I even sit close to the TV and I run with scissors! I am living on the edge!

This is a poorly done instructable but the outcome is great! I will make up for the lack of step by step pictures with a very detailed set of instructions and parts list, I made the whole thing for less than $10.00 US. Money well spent!

Step 1: Fill Valve

The fill valve is installed in the flattest part of the end cap to get a good seal. I used 2 part marine grade epoxy on the inside to seal it as opposed to super glue. It has held for quite some time and seems to be totally air tight. It passed the bubble test, you should put light pressure in the chamber and apply soapy water to all the joints to see if you have any leaks. If there is leaks you will see tiny bubbles.

Step 2: Valve Side of the Assembly

This is pretty self explanatory by mousing over the picture. I used this combination for a number of reasons, cost and parts on hand played a major part. I am planning on building a new one with a "tee" before the valve and putting in a 1/4inch fit in bushing and attaching an air hose fitting. This will allow me to attach the air hose from the compressor, thus filling the chamber to the pre set amount of air everytime I close the valve! It should work...
I will also take pictures step by step on the next instructable!
I am also planning to make another air cannon out of inch and a half copper, choked down to half inch copper to use with potatoes and other fruits and vegtables...

Step 3: More Details on the Valve.

I can't stress enough that you do NOT need an expensive electric valve. Try using the cheap manual valve, if that is not good then move up to the expensive one!
I also prefer to use threaded parts whenever possible, this prevents weak glue joints and if you didn't notice the walls are thicker on the threaded ones. I also like the idea that I can change the parts out easily, If you use the glue on type, there is only one way to remove them, CUT IT OFF! Do NOT try to re-use glue on fittings, It is dangerous!

Step 4: Time for the Air!

First off, you can add air within hours, BUT to be safe, wait at least 24 hours! It can blow the glued joints right off it is not completely dry. Also make sure that the part are fully inserted into the fittings. You must also remember to primer everything.
Contrary to popular belief, this is an important step! Apply the primer and let it dry to the touch (usually a few seconds) Then apply the proper glue to both pieces. when the part is fully seated give it a 1/4 turn and hold it 30 seconds or it will pop out. the reason you give it the 1/4 turn is to make sure the glue is covering the entire surface of the fitting. Color of the primer is not important as long as you use PVC primer. Clear is not a good choice only because you can't see it! You want to make sure the entire area to be glued is properly primered.

Now again, when you add the air start of with a low pressure, there is no need to fill it up to maximum capacity, It is not a safe practice as you do not know what the max capacity actually is! You can't go by what the pipe is rated at because you don't know what the glue joints are capable of holding safely. I have not blown the end off the pipe yet but I can only imagine what that would feel like!
Lastly, DO NOT POINT THIS AT ANYONE FOR ANY REASON! No matter what you have in the barrel! It can cause serious bodily harm!
I am not responsible for any injury or damages that may occur from the use or misuse of this device! I do not recomend building or using this. It is purely for educational purposes!

Step 5: Make Your Child or Yourself Smile From Ear to Ear!

I know I used the same picture several times. I was to excited to take pictures throughout the process! I am new to this sight or any sight for that matter! I have never posted an instructable, so I am open to comments or criticisms. Please keep in mind that I am fully aware that this has been done before, however I think I improved on at least one item, the fill valve, No super glue! The epoxy should hold forever!

As I stated somewhere earlier, I will use a threaded truck valve stem on the next one. This should eliminate the need for epoxys all together.
I would also recomend using a clean out cap on the end, this is the screw on cap. I think it would be better because it would provide a flat surface for the valve stem for one thing and would also allow you to replace the vale stem if needed.
I also think putting the valve stem on a "TEE" fitting would be a good idea so that the valve stem would be on the side as opposed to the bottom.

I did not do an over under design only because I felt that the bends would slow down the release of air. It may be trivial but I may be right?
I have a million ideas that I can improve on this, I learned through trial and error!
I also think this air powered one is as powerfull as my pyro spud gun or even more powerfull! It is definatly more predictable, you open the valve and it fires! As opposed to click click click boom etc.
I will stop talking now! Please let me know if you have any ideas to improve this or ideas for a new one. I have tons of plumbing parts laying around my garage! I also have plenty of free time and have the mentality of a 10 year old! No offense to any 10 year olds out their! Some of the best ideas come from kids, sadly they usually don't have the cash to build them, however I do and am willing to build these toys within reason! I won't do anything dangerous or harmfull though.
I think I will do the Mini-Mag light laser soon, I just think I will make a few little changes to it!
Thanks in advance for your comments!



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    23 Discussions

    Danger: See link: This is not spam, but a warning. PVC will fail suddenly after a while. This was band member that hurt badly by a T-Shirt launcher explosion.

    See the pictures and never use PVC to hold air, Please.

    Yeah it is an air hogs rocket, It is actually the reason it was built. My 3y/o son loved this rocket, I however hated it! It had a really small t handled pump that required at least 30 pumps to fire it just above the tree line. After the 2nd shot you were exhausted! So This was or is the answer! Oddly enough my 3y/o is now a 7y/o and it is still the same. I never got a round to modding it any further and it has not failed to this day! We were just playing with it the other day. He still is to young to fire it and besides I would not really trust it with my only child! He is priceless to me! He is perfectly content watching the rocket go way over the tree line! It goes high enough that you actually loose site of it against the blue sky!
    I have built quite a few other projects since then and I always mean to document them for this site but as I stated in this one...I get all amped and can't stop till I am done, at which point the pictures are long past!
    One day I will post a good one....

    Bigkid1 can you please post an instructable on how you made the power wheels go that fast?

    Your right sorry, but I wouldent tell him it was an air gun I would tell him it was for show>

    I find it dissapointing that you would let your 3 year old son even know you have it, needless to say hold it!

    3 replies

    Why? It is his and how is holding or knowing about it bad? Kids get hurt with guns and such when they are not educated about them, they get curious as to what they are since they can't or don't know about them and then they get hurt! And as stated he does not fire it and therefore it is not dangerous. Also note the date, he is no longer 3 years old... He still does not fire it. It is also explained that it is a kids toy sold in toy stores that I just improved on by allowing it to be used with out the back braking hand pumping. So if you think it is bad or dangerous, you should write a letter to air hogs, the company that sells the toy to begin with. I hope I was able to help you and educate you on gun or air cannon safety. Remember that "Curiosity killed the cat"

    Well put! It's the taboo and forbidden that get everyone into trouble. I have "owned" (legally speaking it was my dad's) a firearm for as long as I can remember and only used it at shooting ranges and the like with my dad present and watching closely.He always stressed proper use and caution first. Now that I'm older and independent I fully understand how the thing works and am extremely familiar with gun safety etc. . . a very different bird from those goof offs you see at ranges with their 9mm pistols held sideways (gangsta style?) never even scraping a target close enough to cause eye strain and generally lowering the safety of others simply because no one ever showed them the proper way to handle something as potentially dangerous as a gun. Kudos to you for satisfying your son's curiosity the healthy way! (with a grin that big one can tell he's not bored by the education either!)

    Thanks, I appreciate your support! I have a kid that loves to learn and for that reason I am going to teach him anything that his little heart desires. Again, Thanks for your kind words, together we can try to educate the narrow minded...

    Sheesh, for a cannon that big with schedule 80 pipe, it looks like theres alot of pressure there, yet you only use a ball valve? Get a sprinkler valve or piston. Much better. Although they are expensive, your cannon looks like it deserves to have a better valve.

    you asked for a way to improve it i don't know if you have learned or saw this since you made you cannon but you can replace the ball valve with a 3/4 inch threade sprinkler valve than modify it fo air dump so that all you have to do is pull a trigger to shoot it insted of spending 1/4 to 1/2 a second to turn the ball valve.

    1 reply

    Well, I did have the thought, However when I tried the inexpensive ball valve, I realized that it worked great and that made happy! I saved a ton of money on the valve and it works great every time! The valve is the last thing I would recommend changing. I will recommend, ABS though! After much research... I have to say ABS is the way to go! I will not go into here but take 5 minutes and do some real research, you will learn what I did! PVC will shatter! ABS just splits. Much safer! No fragments flying out of launcher= good fun...
    Good Luck and I look forward to seeing everyones ideas!

    wow thats awesome, and ur son looks very pleased with his new all destructive air cannon. shame he cant fire it tho lol. then again its probably for the best.

    1bigkid nice aircannon but by putting this instructable in the launch-it you must make a video for it to qualify for a chance in winning make a video and you may win!(maybe) thank you!

    1 reply

    could you be a little more clear on your materials? maybe add a page for all of your materials if you can,