Picture of Build A Net Gun

I will show you how to build a net gun out of materials available at any big box home improvement store. This net gun is capable of firing a 90 square foot net 15 to 25 feet using 80-100 psi of compressed air. The net is reusable, assuming your prey doesn't destroy or run off with it. The launcher section is modular and can be removed in case you want to use a different design or add attachments. Thread on some 1" PVC pipe and you have a Christmas Cannon, or check step 11 for how to build a tennis ball launching attachment.

The net gun is similar to many pneumatic launchers, but instead of launching a single projectile, it launches four tractors that pull the net through the air. The tractors are based on the fact that the neck of a standard soda bottle fits very well over the outside of 1/2" PVC pipe. The cost to build this will range from approximately $40-$75.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
pressure chamber fig1.jpg
Trigger valve fig2.jpg
Launcher section fig3.jpg

Before you begin be aware that this project uses PVC pipe in an application it is explicitly not intended for. PVC is meant for water, not pressurized air or other gases. The problem is not the pressure, this project uses pressures less than half the working pressure of any PVC component, but the failure mode when pressurized by gas. If the PVC is compromised, by dropping, impact, or other means, it shatters into sharp pieces that are ejected by the pressurized gas. An excellent discussion and demonstration here, make sure to watch the video through to the end.

Nearly all of these items can be picked up at your local home improvement retailer. It is probably worth buying a full 10' length of 1/2" pipe, for all the other sizes see if you can buy shorter lengths or scrap. Alternatively, get some friends together, share the costs of the full length pipes, and build a lot of net guns. The tire valves are available at auto parts stores. The net is addressed in detail in the next step.

All PVC fittings are slip fit unless otherwise noted
All PVC pipe and fittings must be SCH-40 (SCHedule 40) unless otherwise noted
All PVC pipe should have a PSI rating of 200 or greater, absolutely no cell core ABS DWV pipe

  • Pressure chamber parts Fig 1
1 1" MPT (Male Pipe Thread) to 1" slip street elbow
1 1" elbow
1 2" to 1" reducer bushing
1 2" cap
1 2" coupler
1 foot of 1" pipe
minimum 9" length of 2" pipe
**1 valve stem, prefer a .453" as it corresponds to the readily available 7/16" drill bit
optional 1 pressure gauge

**There are two standard size automotive valve stems, one for a rim hole sized .453" the other .625". These two sizes correspond to fractional drill bit sizes of 29/64" and 5/8" respectively, the much more common 7/16" bit can be substituted in place of the less common 29/64". Additionally, most common drill indexes stop at 7/16" or 1/2" and do not contain the larger 5/8" bit.

  • Trigger valve parts Fig 2
1 Orbit Model 57461 1" sprinkler valve
1 Blow gun similar to this
1 1/4" NPT hex nipple, like this

  • Bending jig
3 2"(ish) wood screws
Wood scrap for base, a 16" length of 2x4 should work fine

  • Launcher section Fig 3
4 13" lengths of 1/2" pipe
1 1/2" cross
2 1/2" tee
4 1/2" street elbows
4 1-1/2" pieces of 1/2" pipe (coupler joiners)
1 1-1/2" pipe 9" long
1 1-1/2" coupler
**1 1-1/2" to 1/2" reducing bushings
** 1 1" MPT to 1/2" slip
1 nickel

** these transitions usually can't be made with one adapter, just make sure the starting and ending dimensions are correct.

  • Net
Memphis Net and Twine sku# 263 1lb minimum order is enough to make 7-8 nets
OR a substitute net computed using the net math spreadsheet and instructions in step 2
Nylon mason's twine (#15 or smaller), kite string, or some other thin durable rope
4 per net 16-20oz carbonated soda bottles
4 per net zip ties > 4" long
Hot glue/silicone/wax to pour in bottles to add weight
Optional additional items needed for high performance net tractors
4 per net 3/4" couplers
4 per net 3/4" caps
4 per net 8" lengths of SDR-21(Class 200) 3/4" thinwall PVC note: regular 3/4" SCH40 will NOT work!
4 per net 12" lengths of non-adhesive 1" ID foam pipe insulation. Pipe insulation is generally sold in 6' lengths.

  • Consumables
PVC pipe cement and primer
PVC safe pipe joint compound (pipe dope) such as this
Teflon tape
Sand, at least two cups worth (for bending the launcher arms)
2 1/2" pvc caps (for bending launcher arms, not part of gun)
Epoxy for modifying sprinkler valve
Thread locker (Loctite)

  • Tools & Safety
Saw, for cutting PVC pipe
Heat gun, propane torch, or candle for bending PVC
3/16" and 7/16" (or 5/8" see the **note in the pressure chamber section) drill bits
Tape measure
Utility knife
Dremel tool, or similar, with a sanding drum
Wrench for 1/4" npt hex nipple
Large adjustable wrench or channel-lock pliers, for tightening the trigger valve
A compressor or pump capable of attaching to a Schrader tire valve and attaining at least 80 psi
Safety glasses
Leather gloves

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jerryrigit2 years ago
NPT........not NPR.......typo, my bad.
crispyjones (author)  jerryrigit2 years ago
Thanks for sharing, this is what makes Instructables work.
The red handle is just a 1/4 in. ball valve that was added to act as a safety (don't want any accidental discharges!!) It's in the open position in the photo. The hole to the left is where the solenoid was located. Epoxy the entire bottom of it. take out all the screws, pop off the lid gently with a screw driver, (use notch provided next to where solenoid was). Drill you hole for the 1/4 in. NPT nipple that mounts your blow gun (or a 1/4" ball valve, then blow gun- if desired). When you have the diaphram valve cover off, epoxy your threads from the nipple you inserted into the cover (without getting epoxy into the fitting) and epoxy the little bleed hole as well (small rectangular opening that leads into where the solenoid was located....not totally necessary, but why not since you have the cover off. Let sit for at least 20 min. before charging your gun with pressure. The Orbit valve model #57461 is the one in the photo. Enjoy. Thanks Crispy for the info!

well now I have to build a new barrel for my air cannon to shoot a net. This is just too cool, Batman would be proud. Very impressed with the size of the net that can be fired.

Which of the MANY comments and corrections of these instructions, which ones do I need to pay most attention to? I am going to make about 40 of these so I really need to know. Thanks for helping.

Are you selling them?

Hello exex.

I plan to use them. I live in the highlands of

central Mexico. I have talked to many witnesses

who have seen pterosaurs (pterodactyls). I plan to use

the net guns to catch one(s). Seriously. John

exex1 month ago

Epic!!! Btw, 3/4 in cpvc (not a typo - it also hapens to be stronger) fits paintballs well. have fun!!

teamclaussen4 months ago

Fun to make! Going to modify to take out a pinata this May.

Hi, has anyone tried to make one of these using the potato gun hair spray ignition instead of compressed air? It seems like it would work.

caddyb6 months ago

I'm a bit late to the party but would like to take a few moments to heartily commend your efforts on this instructable. Your work in detailing the plans is " top notch" and I'm quite sure consumed a considerable amount of time, gathering data and drawing all the steps. THANK YOU. As a bird wildlife rescue and rehab volunteer, I have spent a inordinate amount of time trying to capture birds that have been compromised by fishing line and even lures embedded in them. They are injured and need help but are not diminished enough (yet) to easily catch. This net gun will be a real time saver for all that do this kind of work. Our goal is to catch 'em, fix 'em and release 'em as quickly and humanely as can be accomplished. Prolonged attempts to capture are quite stressful for them. This will help a great deal. My construction will begin today and I will be wrestling with a way to "modify" the net gun to utilize a tank of air that will be more suitable in the field as the refill in the field would be tough! Thanks again for your efforts

RDmaniac caddyb5 months ago

Hi Caddyb

i need to build this for a similar purpose - for street dog catching in India. We have literally millions in our cities and road accidents occur on an everyday basis. Catching injured dogs is very challenging as they are already very scared.

how did your build go? I will be building it from here in India, but i would like to source all the parts (except the pipes) from USA (i will be traveling for a week next week).

could you share the list of non-pipe parts you purchased and from where?

Can you be my mentor while i go through the build?

Thanks in advance!


RDmaniac5 months ago

Hi, i couldnt quite figure out the source of compressed air... can someone please explain what powers this launcher?

GigityFwa made it!5 months ago

This is what i ended up with. And I'm very pleased with the outcome and the spread of the net!!!

crispyjones (author)  GigityFwa5 months ago
That's great, thanks for posting the pic!
gearup5009 months ago
This is awesome
gearup5009 months ago
This is awesome.
BruceP111 months ago


What can be used for an air source? A bike pump?


BruceP111 months ago


What can be used for an air source? A bike pump?


I was wondering if there was a way to increase the safeness of this gun in terms of the pipes bursting from air pressure. Are there any fail-safe methods I can use to stop the pipes from bursting from the pressure, or to stop shrapnel from being sent everywhere in the event of an explosion?

GigityFwa1 year ago

There should be a video on how to make the net.

You do know that drilling a hole through a nickle is illegal. Unfortunately, I found out after I did it.

um... uhhh....lets can you please repeat the question?

i have to try this.


i like that :P

NickHunter1 year ago
In the process of making the net gun I have found that nerf darts from a nerf gun fit quite well into the half inch pipe. I put a 13 inch chunk of half inch pipe (one that was soon to be made into one of the 4 launcher arms) coming out of the sprinkler valve and charged the chamber with around 10 psi. Then bam! A dart gun on steroids! It works great and is really fun. I would suggest maybe only 3 or 4 inches of pipe though, not 13. That is just what I had around.
13, 14:32.jpg13, 14:32.jpg
sgfidlin1 year ago
Would this sprinkler valve work for this modification?
crispyjones (author)  sgfidlin1 year ago
The base of it looks nearly identical. The geared part in the top is odd, I've never seen anything like that. I am guessing this valve might be more trouble than it's worth.
you could use one of these so you do not have to be near or carry a air compressor
mbrose12 years ago
So they have changed the look of the 641 but as long as the square hole is epoxied, works awesome! This model rox, have used it in multiple applications! Thx
jerryrigit2 years ago
I used this model and it would not work. Go with the other orbit models they likely have off the shelf. It's similar but different. the diaphram chamber is held together with screws instead of a "jar top". Take the solenoid off, toss it and epoxy the entire bottom of where the solenoid was located. Then, drill a half inch hole directly in the center of the lid you took'll see what I mean. There is also the inside bleed hole that could use some epoxy as well, but not necessary if you epoxied where the solenoid was. After threading in the 1/4 in. NPR nipple into the lid, epoxy the inside threads without getting any epoxy into the nipple/blow gun. Works like a charm.
Stinkfist092 years ago
Yea when you blow thru the metal tube it comes the square opening i'll epoxy it and try it out.Thank for the help crispyjones.
Stinkfist092 years ago
heres some pics like i said same exact model # and everything
missy 4490.jpgmissy 4493.jpg
crispyjones (author)  Stinkfist092 years ago
It looks like they just changed the casting/design a bit. I bet if you blow in that metal tube in the top picture the air will come out the notch you can see in the lower one. If that is the case then you have found the bleed. The idea is to simply plug this passage, drop some epoxy in the notch, or in the tube, anything to keep the air from going through.
Stinkfist092 years ago
Can someone help me with the sprinkler valve? attempting to make this with my son. i brought the valve home opened it up and noticed the hole you have to epoxy inside is not there like in fig. 7 just a square opening no bleeder hole on top and the valve is the same model number as in the pics.
crispyjones (author)  Stinkfist092 years ago
Interesting, there should be a small metal tube coming up from the center of the valve that leads to a little bleed hole in one end of the valve. Can you post some pictures of the top and each end? If there really is no bleed hole than there is nothing to plug, so you can just move to the next step.
Awesome instructable!!
Thanks a lot for posting this in such great detail!
jerryrigit2 years ago
Dude, plug the notch on the outlet side of the sprinkler valve with epoxy. That'll fix the issue. If you are unaware of what I'm saying, blow on the little metal tube that extends through the diaphram when you have the top unscrewed. Put your finger into the outlet side of the valve over the'll feel the air coming out. If you don't, your valve is mounted backwards. If you do feel air......plug the notch with epoxy. Done and done.
bigboodrew2 years ago
Someone may have already asked this question, I purchased an Orbit #57661 sprinkler valve because they didn't have the #57461 valve anywhere near me, of all places in AZ you think they would have this one. Not at home depot, Ace, Lowes, even sprinkler world... the air is rushing straight through, I take it only the #57661 is the one that works. Please let me know, thanks!
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