Introduction: Easy Pneumatic Potato Cannon. Fun and Powerful!

Picture of Easy Pneumatic Potato Cannon. Fun and Powerful!

A tutorial on how to make a cheap, pneumatic potato cannon powered by a bike pump from easy to get materials. It's really simple to make, but don't underestimate its power. They can shoot straight through a pretty thick sheet of plywood and break windows. Be smart and be careful when you are using one. Do NOT hold me responsible if you get hurt!!!
The pictures might be a little blurry, it's because I took them out of the video I made on how to make it.

Check you the video tutorial!

Step 1: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started


-Two pieces of 2" PVC Pipe (any size)
-One 2" Non-threaded PVC End Cap
-One 2" PVC Valve (not threaded)
-One Schrader valve (from an old bike tire)


-A saw (to cut the PVC pipe to your desired length)
-A drill with a drill bit that is about the same size as the schrader valve
-PVC Primer and Cement

Step 2: Mark and Drill Hole for Schrader Valve

Picture of Mark and Drill Hole for Schrader Valve

Put the end cap on one of the pieces of PVC, pencil and mark about an inch down from where the cap ends. Then, drill a hole where the mark is. The hole should be the same size as the schrader valve.

Step 3: Installing the Schrader Valve

Picture of Installing the Schrader Valve

Apply the PVC primer and cement to the hole, then, from the inside of the PVC pipe, push the schrader valve through the hole and hold for about 45 seconds.

Step 4: Attach the Rest

Picture of Attach the Rest

Apply primer and cement to the end of the PVC and connect the end cap. Then, connect the PVC valve to the opposite side of where you just attached the end cap. You're almost done!

Step 5: Connect the Barrel

Picture of Connect the Barrel

Apply PVC Primer and cement to the other piece of PVC pipe and the PVC valve, connect the two and you are done! Now wait 24 hours for it all to dry.

Step 6: To Use

Load the barrel with anything, connect the bike pump to the schrader valve, pump it up (be careful, don't go pumping it up past 75 PSI, around 35 PSI is fine), aim, and with speed and force, open the valve. That's it, I recommend watching the video I made because it's easier to understand. Have fun!


G Shady (author)2017-04-05

I cant find thy video

robert the robot (author)2009-04-26

In case someone was wondering: This project cost me about $35

It cost me $12.89

elfboyz (author)robert the robot2009-12-11

 thanks man

ChrisC6 (author)2016-08-11

As far as this failing, exploding and injuring and killing you....
1) Id imagine if you are using various chemicals, explosives are int he least stuff that heats up, it will affect and compromise it.
2) id also say, I personally would let all air out when not in use so it doesnt expand and contract, and keep moisture out of it for the same reason.
3) maybe spray it with some UV resistant spray if you are going to use it outdoors? I saw a discussion about pvc bows (like a bow and arrow)
4) maybe consider wrapping it, like shrink wrapping it
5) maybe make a guard, like something around it, with a little space even lined with something like old mouse pad material.

ChrisC6 (author)ChrisC62016-08-11

Oh yea
6) Maybe get like a pressure release valve thingie. at X amount PSI ....

Masher007 (author)2014-04-28

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.

VictorFreeze (author)Masher0072016-05-11

Holy crap! That's horrific. I hope those dudes are OK now.

pj81 (author)2011-07-08

If I was you I would spend the extra five dollars to get the rated pvc. Mine can get up to 150 psi safely. It did explode in my face once, but that was because i was stupid and I pumped it up a few minutes after I applied the glue. At around sixty psi, I was still pumping and the barrel shot across my floor like a missile. scary as hell I thought I had hearing damage.

TommyE2 (author)pj812015-12-17

Use a fail safe put in in rated pvc in a place you don't mind failing where it will explode away from your body and keep people clear of it maybe a regular end cap on a t joint or something that will be easy to replace so you can keep your cannon intact and just replace the part or maybe a pop off valve

MineTurtleField (author)pj812014-03-30

Same here, except mine had a 4 foot 3 inch chamber and had 120 psi in it. Dented metal lockers on one end of the room, busted a hole in insulation on the other end. I couldn't hear for about 1 minute, and couldn't hear normally for like 15, kids be careful, these are not toys!

Rehbein (author)2008-06-27

omg my parents think its to dangerous how do i convince them

AnarchistAsian (author)Rehbein2008-07-29

science project? that's how i got my stun gun... (seriously)

Lol. I made nitrocellulose for mine.

what was the project?

well, just testing the conductivity of materials... really i just wanted a stungun :P *for science purposes, of course*

why not wireless power?

huh? what, you mean like conducting it through the air?

like using magnetic power to do wireless electricity I guess.

uhh... why??? it would only send whatever power was in the 9 volt inside the stun gun...

Nightkilla (author)Rehbein2013-09-19

Well, how old r u? Responsibility with a deadly weapon is required to opperate it?

Phoghat (author)Rehbein2012-08-01

You do what I used to do and just do it and don't tell them?

snowluck2345 (author)Rehbein2011-11-12

make it out of steel and weld it together, like I did. Don't shoot lead slugs at plywood boards infront of them

amike1 (author)Rehbein2011-11-02

that's what friends houses are for...

airgun_expert (author)Rehbein2010-02-18

fake it to max psi and dud shoot it slow valve open. or did you shoot it full already? if so... your SCREWED

camb00 (author)Rehbein2008-07-29

just say i gets me off my xbox/playstation/wii or whatever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bwells2 (author)2011-07-11

I am building the exact same thing, but the schrader valve with the end cap and the pipe is 1-1/2"

jacko backo (author)2011-06-14

I built one. It exploded in my brothers face and he had to get 8 stiches. =(

skelly7447 (author)2010-04-04

Never use a plastic ball valve. After a few months it will stiffen up and be so hard to turn that it'll be useless. Use a metal ball valve. Even if a metal one stiffens up you can lubricate it with WD-40 or something.

ifen27 (author)skelly74472011-06-11

you can use wd-40 on pvc too

zone4life (author)2010-05-15

im planning 2 make 1 and i was thinking is it good 2 have a bigger air chamber and a smaller barrel :)???????????

dudejetfighter (author)zone4life2010-12-27

i use a 4inch pipe for the chamber and then use a 1 inch pipe for the connection between the barrel and the chamber. then a 2 inch for the barrel. just make sure you get pipe made for pressure.

zone4life (author)dudejetfighter2011-03-05


tulavatalo (author)2010-01-14

at wath presure will this blow up im my face

maneter112 (author)tulavatalo2011-02-26

normal non rated pvc that they sell at lowes and other places made for plumbing should be no higher than 45 psi

Yukondano2 (author)tulavatalo2010-03-23

Depends if your using crappy pvc or being unobservant and kill yourself because you messed up the valve! :D

OKJEFF4 (author)2011-01-12

If you are worried about it blowing up, use ABS tubing. It should be rated for higher pressure. Also, ABS doesn't splinter if it explodes. PVC tends to shatter into lots of pieces.

zone4life (author)2010-05-15

also how strong is ti if its pumped um 2 50 psi ????

MoshBoshKid (author)2009-06-18

hello could you please tell me where you got your valve and how much ?

Thundertydus (author)MoshBoshKid2009-08-02

Hello, ever heard of a hardware store?

MoshBoshKid (author)Thundertydus2009-08-03

mate i live in the uk and they are like £90 cba paying tht much

temp (author)MoshBoshKid2009-10-11

Find an old bike/ an old bike innertube.  Cut it off from said innertube.  Ask friends if they have any old bikes. 

MoshBoshKid (author)temp2010-01-21

noo i mean the huge pvc valve i cant find em anywhere in the uk for cheap

finmonster (author)MoshBoshKid2010-03-11

i have found a uk website where u can by a valve very cheep as well as pressure rated pvc pipe here is the

MoshBoshKid (author)finmonster2010-03-11

The site barely works and the valves that i can see are too small but the big ones when i click on them the page is blank :( thanks for trying

GroovyGuru (author)2008-10-21
Thanks for posting this! I made a few custom changes to turn this into a Halloween Candy Launcher (which I explain below). But here's a quick video I made:

The video shows pressure at 20 psi. The projectile is a foam type ball we use in the pool. I purposefully tested this with something soft to avoid smashing the neighbors windows. I'm sure a heavy object with better/less wind resistance (aka an actual potato) could easily be sent down the block and do some serious damage.

Trick-or-treaters will be greated by a Blue Man at the door who will "launch" their treats into the yard. I really just need something to put it over their head and into the yard.


(1) I wanted it to sit on the ground so I didn't have to hold it.

(2) I wanted a smaller launch tube, but didn't want an 8 foot long 2" tube (which would approximately equal the same air volume as a 2' by 4" tube).

Changes and Comments:

I used a 4x4x2 junction and put the 2ea 1' by 4" on each end. Then I cut a lenght of 2" tube long enough to put the valve at a comfortable height. This also solved problem #1.

I used pipe that is rated to at 220 psi or more.

I still wish there was a better way to mount the valve. -- The valve is my weak link. I used Locktite which took 48 hours to dry, but it still leaks a bit. If I get much over 20 psi it begins to leak out faster than I can pump. I have some ideas on how I can re-seal this without cutting everything apart.

Thanks again for putting this instructable together.

airgun_expert (author)GroovyGuru2010-02-18

my advice , I've done it so it works, hot glue and duct tape. be generous on the glue AND duct tape.also wrap it TIGHT. you can star with electrical tape to smooth the edges THEN duct tape. worked great for me. the psi depends on the amount of glue and tape so wrap WELL!

harley01 (author)GroovyGuru2008-12-27

how did you make it trigger powered

WiseMagnus (author)harley012009-01-18

I have no idea i have been asking the same question so if you find out please tell me.

GroovyGuru (author)GroovyGuru2008-10-21

Having problems with the YouTube embedded video. It's also available here: Flickr Video

About This Instructable




More by alexalex132:Easy Pneumatic Potato Cannon. Fun and powerful!
Add instructable to: