Air cannon with Adjustable barrel size. Bouncy balls Shot over 100yrds!

Picture of Air cannon with Adjustable barrel size. Bouncy balls Shot over 100yrds!
This is my first Air cannon an Instructable i have done. This Air cannon uses compressed air. It is released by a electrical irrigation valve. The barrel is easy to change size. The barrel i used shoots bouncy balls over 100yrds at only 50-40psi. I have tested mine up to 100psi before it started to leak. This is a very easy an fun thing to build. I get a big kick out of seeing a rubber ball flying accross the sky.

My camera has just broke. I will try to post pics up asap. Sry for the horrible drawings an diagrams.

Also the hot glue gun is for making a holder for the 9volts an a mount for the buttons.

Video of it as of July 20th 2007

Step 1: Parts List!! Tools!!!

Picture of Parts List!! Tools!!!

pvc cleaner
pvc cement
Hack saw
Hot glue gun
Somthing to strip wire
Electrical tape.
Teflon tape


"Home Depot"

About 3ft of 2" schedule 40.
A long 1" schedule 20 pvc pipe.
2" slip cap.
2" slip cuppling.
2" x 3/4" Slip x Thread Bushings.
Three threaded reducing male adapters 3/4"x1".
A 3/4" irrigation valve

"Ace Hardware"

A theading tire valve. This took me a while to find. It is a metal stem valve, just as one on a bike. It will have threads on the end that gose into the pvc. Rumors are that there findable at autozones an auto suplies stores.

"Radio Shack"

Five 9 volt batterys.
Five 9v battery connecters.
One switch an one push button.

I will get pics up i tryed taking pics but my camera isnt working right now. How convenient!
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uzmac4 years ago
Do you know of any other places that would have a threaded tire valve?
Hasersys (author)  uzmac4 years ago
I get them from Acehardware.
if the solenoid takes 3.5 volts (it needs to stay pulled in, jerking in and out isnt correctly operating) then you need to take those 9volt batteries and put them in parallel. that'll keep the voltage the same, and extend the battery life.
by any chance would you know the total price for everything?
Hasersys (author)  programedfiles5 years ago

No, I made this a long time ago. I would have to guess around $20-$40. It was just a fun toy to mess with. I some how missed your comment untill now sorry.

knexer18 years ago
Make a new one out of iron, it's much safer.
Hasersys (author)  knexer18 years ago
I would have the first time but i didn't have the proper tools where i was living at the time.
Proper tools?, iron pipe is threaded. Iron cannons are much more fun, you can put them up to 150 psi or more.
Ive gotten my pvc cannon up to 140 before. I only didn't go farther because thats all my hand pump could take. I think I could have gotten it up to 150 no problemo.
It doesn't matter how high you can get it, what matters is whether it is safe at the pressure you are using it at or not. I personally would never go above 125 PSI with PVC, but suit yourself.
The PSI rating is 280 so I think I'm safe half that.
Hasersys (author)  knexer18 years ago
Owe i wasn't paying attention. I though you were saying copper hah. Witch would have meant soldering.
frankinator7 years ago
you need to modify your sprinkler valve for pneumatic dump so you don't need the batteries or the solinoid
Hawaii000007 years ago
This is sooo much like mine the only difference is the valve mine is not as high tech.
I`ve built a potato cannon before. the design looks pretty the same.

Hasersys (author)  casvandegoor8 years ago
I like to show these videos of shooting a broomstick, but if you want you can remove them.

littlewit8 years ago
when i do the wireing, i only need 3 nine volt batterys
FruitFly8 years ago
that's pretty sweet, mines the same idea but just without the high tech valve LOL i want to make a potato cannon with 2 of those in it though, how much did they cost exactly? awesome gun btw. :)
Hasersys (author)  FruitFly8 years ago
Sry for the long wait been traveling a bit. It was about 12$ for the valve then the rest of it was probably about 20$ so maybe around 304 i don't remember though.
bmlbytes8 years ago
I would say to be very careful with the PVC. PVC tends to explode, leaving sharp pieces of plastic all over the place (including your skin). I would recommend something made of metal. Perhaps a copper pipe. When it explodes all it will do is leave a big gash in the side of the pipe, but not shatter like PVC. All I'm saying is that a pressure gauge is a good idea. So is copper.
Hasersys (author)  bmlbytes8 years ago
Yes i know. I have had it for a year now an i am about to trash it. I dropped it once while under pressure. It broke in half. Nothing big. Rebuilt it in about 5secs. I am currently looking into building a new cannon using metal.
Very good design, i am currently working on something more diabolical! Moohahaha!!! But it was largely inspired with your project, Thank you!
Hasersys (author)  tonsofhoopla8 years ago
Oh sweet yea i haven't been on in a while. http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=9191936 I painted it an made it look nice. I am probably going to trash it soon an make a new one.
Heres a clearer picture for all of you perfectionists
Valve control.bmp
iman8 years ago
just wrap the "tank"with duct tape or electrical tape so if it does fail you dont lose your hand:P
SCrid2000 iman8 years ago
Unfortunatly, wrapping it in tape won't really make it much safer; it just appears to be. Because of the amount of pressure tha is built up, the tape just gets blown away along with the pipe.
yep yep... duct tape is strong axially -- not as strong against shearing.
then wrap the tank in both axes, or do what i do, and build a hardware cloth cage around it.(I also have the tank remote mounted on my road-sign backpack to be doubly sure.
Hasersys (author)  0.775volts8 years ago
What kinda of cloth did you use
Hardware cloth, it's like 1/4" mesh chicken wire. Just go to your local hardware/home depot/lowes and ask for hardware cloth.
Hasersys (author)  iman8 years ago
hhmm not a bad idea
VelvetElvis8 years ago
The solenoid takes 3.9 volts, yet you're running 45 volts through it? I suspect you meant to illustrate wiring the cells parallel, but instead, you have them in series.
Hasersys (author)  VelvetElvis8 years ago
I ran them in series to give me more length. I dont have it showed here but the batterys are in a holder. I didnt have any wire laying around an couldnt wait so i just ran them series to get them to reach in the holder.
Ian01 Hasersys8 years ago
The solenoid takes 24 volts to operate, and you are giving it 45. It will probably draw more current because of the extra voltage, which will heat up the solenoid and it will actually drain the batteries faster. To get twice the battery life, take 6 9V batteries and wire 2 sets of 3 in series. Then connect the sets of 3 in parallel.
Hasersys (author)  Ian018 years ago
The life i have gotten out of this is fine for me. but thatnks for the info. I use this often an it still has power. I have also since made sweet led bouncy balls that are amazing at night to shoot lol.
He means it required three 9V batteries.
Hasersys (author)  trialex8 years ago
lol yea i just had extra connectors laying around that would other wise never get used.
Hasersys (author) 8 years ago
HHHmmm welll just out of boredum im going to test the strengths an stuff. Maybe make some chambers an see if i cant get one to hold a great deal of psi an still be safe enuff to use. Such as a fail safe on it. On my cannon im not going to make changes im not to worried about this it seems safer then my older potatto guns i used to make when i was younger.lol.
trebuchet038 years ago
While it reduces flow efficiency, I personally would make a U bend in it for a more compact design. Also, be warned that PVC & CPVC fails catastrophically. When it does fail, there's shrapnel, sharp edges etc. An alternative is ABS - but it's a little more expensive - but there's a lot more colors available :D
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