Picture of Flame Cannon

In this instructable I will describe how to make a flame cannon out of PVC pipe. It is a simple project and all parts should cost under 10$, however it requires the use of the products of three of my other instructables.
The fuse
the gunpowder
and the electrical detonator

This project is a cumulation of sorts, of all my other projects.

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Step 1: Parts list


1. 2" PVC pipe roughly 19" long
2. Can of purple PVC primer
3. Can of PVC cement
4. 2" threaded socket coupler (Just make sure it fits on top of the pipe, and the end cap can be screwed in)
5. End cap
6. 1/4" drill bit with drill
7. Fuse (
8. Gunpowder (
9. Electronic Detonator (
10. Plastic drinking straws
11. Duct and electrical tape
12. Scissors
13. Gallon sized plastic bags
14. Lighter fluid, gasoline, dentured alchol, or some other flammable liquid
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ilpug3 years ago
This reminds me a bit of the "Carbide Cannon" detailed in William Gurstelle's book Backyard Ballistics. i did something like this once, but it was air powered, and used an old aluminum water bottle with the bottom cut off for a 'barrel"
shsims7 years ago
Unlike modern gun powders, black powder can detonate under higher pressures. Also, its performance varies more over its life and in different temps and humidities. A charge that may have been safely fired yesterday could explode today, especially if increasing the charge or the projectile weight or its fitment in the bore. If the powder does detonate, it will combust much faster and release most of its energy through a pressure wave rather than with heat and fire. The pressure is a lot more dangerous because all that energy is released so quickly, so don't make the mistake of estimating risk based on what you see the device doing under normal conditions, because if it fails, it may be many times worse. Instead of black powder, consider using Pyrodex. This is a modern black powder substitute that is more predictable. It is intended for use in black powder firearms. It is manufactured to produce the same pressures/muzzle velocities as black powder for the same charge volume. So, do not substitute one another by weight!
Modern powder is what burns at higher pressures. That is why they DO NOT recommend using modern powder in blackpowder firearm. Put 3 drams of BP in a shotgun shell, and you'll be fine. Put three drams of modern powder in a shotshell, you'll blow your gun into pieces
there are different grades of powder for different kinds of weapons. these are specially formulated, and should never be mixed.
gameboy7oa7 years ago
thats cool but its all fun and games till your nabors house goes up in flames... then its more fun and games!!!
my uncle did that a long time ago with a bottle rocket. luckily only the 2nd story burnt down.
love the profile picture.
Vulcanator5 years ago
you should fill it with coffee creamer powder. I saw it on mythbusters, it is really flamable.
Yes, but the powder combustion is hard to attain. The ratio of powder to air is really temperamental. To better understand what Im saying, try throwing a handful of creamer in the air and try lighting it.
with fireproof gloves of course.
 Could this be done with compressed air?
Z0studios4 years ago
Would it be possible to use copper pipe.
In my country it is almost impossible to get pvc pipe.
MistaStokes5 years ago
why not just put some lighter fluid in a mortar tube (fireworks not artillery) and light the fluid which would light the fuse, that would be loud and bright
recyclebin6 years ago
Sweet, the other day I built something similar out of a shotgun shell and thought to myself "Wow thats alot like tetranitrate's flame cannon". Now I just need to fill it with lighter fluid.
i figured out a way to make a 40 foot flamethrower which makes an extremely loud explosion. i don't know if I should post because it only takes 2 steps. my friend heard it from 4 miles away.
post it or send it
I am not able to send it but it is possible for me to explain it now. all you need is a bunch of pvc glue, a spray paint can, and a lighter. set the spray paint can on level ground [and away from any houses] and apply a large amount of pvc glue to the top of the can. light the pvc glue on fire and run away. sometimes the can will blow up and sometimes it will not. note: if you spray half of the paint out of the can first, you will be more likely to get the explosion I am explaining. 12/21/12
It's 12/22/12.
Safer if you get one of those spraycan holders with the trigger. Like they have at HomeDepot
mateusz7195 years ago
The links don't work:(
(removed by author or community request)
A 30 min roadflare is an improvement over the candle.
Lemon7 years ago
you could make a handheld (if you're brave/STUPID enough) hybrid spud gun with a blowtorch at the the end and that would be a blast flame cannon. even a small one would work.
ramses Lemon6 years ago
sounds like a plan
tyldev6 years ago
Hey Tetra, cool hobby for someone who lives surrounded by wooden buildings, you have cojones of steel.
0.775volts7 years ago
You may have some fun with another recipie for a fireball. you need: 1 fire pot, I recommend a 1.5" by 8" pvc (the shrapnel is much less lethal in case you get it wrong) fuse/ ematches ( to make your own)/ some source of ignition black powder (4f) Napthalene (crushed moth balls) get a box of them, make sure they're napthalene moth balls, the paradichlorobenzene ones don't work, and a resiprator or scuba setup (optional, but damn do mothballs stink). crush the entire box, put the powder in a ziploc for storage, you have enough for several fireballs now. 1) pour about an inch of black powder into the bottom of the pvc pipe. 2)ok, here's the part I got wrong, and ended up building an open-ended pipe bomb instead of a fireball. make a mixture of 70% napthalene and 30% black powder by weight. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND (it was funny when it went off, but only because we were 500 feet away at the time) 3) pour about two inches of the black powder/napthalene mix into the pot. 4) pour three to four inches of napthalene in on top of that. DO NOT TAMP, you want a loose fill so that you get better spread. place, clear, fuse, light, and enjoy. Note: the ratio isn't exact, YMMV, but that's what experimentation is for. you may be able to leave the lift charge out all together, I never tried.
Tetranitrate (author)  0.775volts7 years ago
Yeah, Ive tried a bunch of different things to get a good fireball. I eventually wound up using a liquid, because it is much cheaper then almost any powder that can be made. In the video in the first few shots, you can see I was using a white powder, it is the classic flour cornstarch mixture. It didnt work out too well the first few times because I didnt use enough gunpowder to get the mix to fully separate in the air which is whats necessary for it to ignite.
someone here is a MAGER pyro (just like mee) and by da way wach out for the alphabet soup(there wachin u)
you know, now that I come to think of it, I've always had better results with liquid too, Esp. with white gas. although, one thing you can do is take balloons and fill them with a little gasoline, then fill them the rest of the way with oxygen and suspend them in the path of the flame. makes a nice little pop. don't do it with a garbage bag though, that'll break your windows. But I've never done that, nope,not me, never... no... bad monkey.
my monkey and yours should NEVER MEET!....
on second thought...(whats your fone-number)
Fizzxwizz6 years ago
looks great for special effects in movies.
biiiig waste of gunpowder
no such thing
logic bomb6 years ago
Awww, you remind me of myself in my younger days!!! A word of wisdom from a old Anarcist. Always remember, dont build anything in your own home. that way when your stuff blows up in your face, you have somewhere you can go to recover...Give'em hell!
was that a bird that fell out of that tree
Tetranitrate (author)  master-of-chaos7 years ago
Lol, no. I love the video because it looks like right after the explosion a smoldering bird spirals down out of the tree, and hits the ground. It would have been pretty funny (at least for my sadistic mind) if thats what actually happened, but in reality it was just a piece of paper towel that was in the barrel when I shot it.
lol ok
Thats what I thought it was too lol
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