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Air cannons are an iconic DIY project. You can find a lot of great examples online. There are cannons that are powered by combustion and cannons that are powered by compressed air. They can be used to fire anything from golf balls, to water bottles, to candy.

But in this project, we are doing something a little different. We are going to make a baking soda and vinegar cannon. This is very similar to the baking soda and vinegar volcanoes that we made as kids. I have just scaled up the reaction so that it can be used to send a potato flying through the air.

 
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Step 1: Safety Warning

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This should really go without saying, but POTATO CANNONS ARE NOT SAFE! If you do not handle them properly, they can seriously injure or kill you. They can also cause great damage to property. Mixing chemicals in a closed container can create high pressures that can cause the container to explode. Build this project at your own risk. Please be safe. Have responsible adults nearby at all times. Don't do anything stupid.

Also, it may not be legal to fire a potato cannon in your area. Be aware of your local laws.

Step 2: Materials

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Here are the materials and tools that you will need for this project.


Materials:

4 inch diameter PVC pipe

2 inch diameter PVC pipe

Two 2 inch to 4 inch PVC pipe adapter

Two 2 inch PVC pipe ball valve (solvent weld)

Pressure gauge

Plumber's tape

PVC primer

PVC cement

Napkins

Baking soda

Vinegar

Potatoes

Tools:

Hacksaw

Wrench

Measuring cups

Long pole

gemoney2 months ago
Can I make a metal rifle version of this with a wood stock
-CCCP- gemoney2 months ago

The vinegar would corrode the metal. So, no.

-CCCP- gemoney2 months ago

The vinegar would corrode the metal. So, no.

-CCCP- gemoney2 months ago

The vinegar would corrode the metal. So, no.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  gemoney2 months ago
You need a very large reaction chamber to build up enough pressure. So it probably wouldn't fit in the dimensions of a typical rifle.
gemoney2 months ago
but im going to fire corks out of the rifle version so will it work because its not as dense as potatoes
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  gemoney2 months ago
I don't know. The ammo needs to make a good seal with the barrel without getting stuck. Potatoes work well because they easily deform to fit the barrel.
Speffeddude2 months ago
The shirt really communicates the spirit of the project.
Costarus2 months ago

Funny Bazooka... Need one crane that would separate container. In one capacity - Baking Soda, in other capacity - Vinegar. You can charge in advance. To open the crane - mixing. Longevity charged.

4equal3 months ago

how much did this project cost? + looks awesome fun

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  4equal3 months ago
At my hardware store the materials cost about $50

wow. I got mine done for less than $10. but I do live in India at the current moment

made a cannon once hair spray got boring. used a little nitro methane. from rc truck. it was mean

muddog153 months ago
I shot mine at 60 psi. My potato kinda got lost. Lol.
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  muddog153 months ago
I have lost a number of potatoes. If you want to keep track of them, you can spray paint the end of the potato.
Well. I got mine impounded by mom. I broke a window...
Well. I got mine impounded by mom. I broke a window...
john mosier3 months ago

Do you think it is possible with dry ice and bouncy balls?

Possible? Yes. But you need to be extremely careful with dry ice. It is really easy to use to much and over pressurize the tank.

Super Awesome!

craftclarity3 months ago

Looks like crazy fun! How far do the potatoes fly?

The range depends on the size of the reaction chamber, the pressure in the reaction chamber and the length of the barrel. The performance is identical to a regular compressed air cannon of the same dimensions. With my design, I was getting about 200 feet at 40 psi.