loading
INSTRUCTABLE.png
vlcsnap-2014-05-05-10h10m45s187.png
1 (2).png

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.

Step 1: Safety Warning

Picture of Safety Warning

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.

 
lime3D made it!9 days ago

Here is the one I made for TechShop's 2015 Maker Faire build competition. The idea was to build anything we wanted on a Harbor Freight utility trailer (the other entries were not potato cannons). With 1 quart of vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda, we were able to get up to 40 PSI with the size of our reaction chamber. So far, our best distance has been 435 feet. You can see more of it at http://www.idahohowitzer.com

OPEN HOUSE 7.JPG
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  lime3D9 days ago

This is too awesome for words! Thank you for sharing. You should write up an instructable for this and enter it into the Remix Contest.

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.

I just made one (haven't fired it yet) with a 24" long (4" diameter) reaction chamber. The video talks about 1 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda generating only 20 psi. What did you do to get it up to 40 psi?

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  lime3D1 month ago

It takes some trial and error to figure out what amounts of baking soda and vinegar will produce what pressure. I found that 40 PSI works pretty well but I wouldn't recommend going any higher than this.

ExplosionsInc made it!2 months ago

We built one last month with a couple of modifications. We made the reaction chamber a bit bigger and we painted it black so it was, like, tactical. It's a stealth potato cannon. It worked really well and was a total blast to play with! We have a video of the built at https://youtu.be/SAvGJtlC43s.

Cannon1.jpgCannon2.jpgCannon3.jpgCannon4.jpgCannon5.jpg

Ha! I love it. You guys are awesome!

KennyP33 months ago
Can u guys make a veido of u guys making it step by step I'm doing it for a civil war project and it needs to fire so I don't want to screw it up
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  KennyP33 months ago
If you follow the instructions carefully, you should be okay.
RoboNerd319036 months ago

Nice!

gemoney1 year ago
Can I make a metal rifle version of this with a wood stock
-CCCP- gemoney1 year ago

The vinegar would corrode the metal. So, no.

-CCCP- gemoney1 year ago

The vinegar would corrode the metal. So, no.

-CCCP- gemoney1 year ago

The vinegar would corrode the metal. So, no.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  gemoney1 year 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.
gemoney1 year 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)  gemoney1 year 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.
The shirt really communicates the spirit of the project.
Costarus1 year 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.

4equal1 year ago

how much did this project cost? + looks awesome fun

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)  4equal1 year 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

muddog151 year ago
I shot mine at 60 psi. My potato kinda got lost. Lol.
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...

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!