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Picture of How to Make Vortex Cannons
Here are two Instructables in one! Shoot rings of smoke across a room with the Tub Thumping Cannon and the Barking Tube Cannon. Watch me build them and the test results. From MAKE MAGAZINE Volume 15


Step 1: Tub Thumping Cannon

Picture of Tub Thumping Cannon
This one is so easy to make and gives great results. You will need a fog machine to generate the rings for both of these projects.

What You Need...

1. 32 Gallon Plastic Trash Can
2. Heavy Duty Trash Bag
3. Golf Ball
4. 2 Bunjee Cords
5. Tape
6. Box cutter.
 
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pyratenyte made it!10 months ago

Thanks tons for the effort. Here's couple of pics of my cannon, set out as part of my pirate-themed Halloween yard haunt. It's the same cannon, evolving over the last three years. A 12-inch speaker is at the end of a matching-sized concrete form tube. A fog machine on a timer is concealed in the gun carriage. The fog is blown into a 3" wide galvanized tin elbow mounted underneath the barrel. The speaker is hooked to my stereo. The "bark" is provided by a looping wav file of a howitzer being fired, followed by two minutes of silence. As you can see, it blows a pretty decent smoke ring. At night, a small sound-activated LED strobe is placed in front, facing the end of the barrel for extra effect. Enjoy!

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Taranach12 months ago

Step two part three about where the bungee cords go was extremely vague and yet has a major affect on how the cannon works. I expected better detail from you.

Creepapace2 years ago
WOW!!!
nedim1554 years ago
im only reading coments of kipkay :)
ldhoover15 years ago
put a small speaker in bottom of coke can - add flour to coke can - speaker vibration will cause flour to disburse and then cannon will fire it out - if you pot a candle in front of cannon, the cannon will not only blow the candle out - but will ignite the flour in a ring of fire
nnandigala5 years ago
Can you please provide specifications of speaker and amplifier you used for Barking Tube Cannon
im gona sue you kip, you did say that we needed an exacto nife in the video, and the you go and wip one out like you were born with it.
wither5 years ago
 A smoke firework also works just fine also it adds a hint of colour. 
Davidl36 years ago
How do you get the smoke?
I believe one factor which is very important is the circularity and finish of the orifice. I'm not sure that you emphasised this sufficiently. If the orifice isn't sufficiently circular, the quality of the vortices and their range will suffer. You mentioned smoke, but other substances can be used. For instance rotten-egg gas (hydrogen sulphide from action of an acid on iron sulphide) makes an excellent but exceedingly smelly vortex (that is invisible). Possibly, one could use a combustible gas and aim the vortex at a source of ignition. PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THIS ONE! Please do not try this one in your home or near flammable materials! If you burn your home down, don't blame me! I read some of the comments, but in case I missed one that mentioned this, I apologise..
I like the hydrogen sulphide idea! Maybe even a methyl mercaptan/hydrogen sulphide combo and it could be a "flatus" cannon! (In addition to the naturally occurring one...)
mechcem6 years ago
i just started to make an instructable on a similar thing i made two day before you published this. i have got to be faster this has happened 5 times now
fwjs28 mechcem6 years ago
hire a crack team of lamas or monkeys(not both tho, they fight eachother)....
BlueNinja6 years ago
....Most...useless...thing....ever
Tru dat. Why make a huge one for $50+ when you can get a small one for under 20 bucks???
like they always say "the bigger teh better"
If you want USELESS, go to http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_A_Frozen_Crystal_Ball/ and you'll see useless. This is MY instructable so I'm not making fun of anyone. Trust me. This isn't the most useless thing on instructables.
Well a balloon cost a heck of a lot less then all the stuff you need to buy for this. I still stick with the general idea that this is one of the most useless thing ever.
not if you are doing it for a science fair project, then its worth extra credit, or first place or some such thing...
Kipkay (author)  BlueNinja6 years ago
It's just a fun project for the h**** of it. It does explain the concept of what a vortex is. I guess you don't like to have fun and are all serious about everything in life. Hence the total uselessness.
...but awsome...
Kipkay (author)  BlueNinja6 years ago
Ever in the history of earth!! You're boring...
qon duixote6 years ago
If anyone is really interested in vortex canons the History channel (U.S.) did a show on German Secret Weapons including some 50 foot long vortex cannons using coal dust that were intended to knock down Allied Aircraft. Sorry, I don't have any links on me but it might be a cool combination History/Science project. If someone wants credit in two classes for one project.
did the coal dust work or just p*** off the pilots?
They clearly didn't succeed in creating an operational anti-aircraft weapon. However, coal dust or in that case many other fine dusts are extremely volatile in the right conditions. They are all a form of an air and fuel mixture. If you need any proof just Google "mill explodes."
ahh kool
awsome instructable!! you are a genius!!!!
nice, i love it...
Meroki6 years ago
wow i love ur videos man, do you find cool stuff to do like this on your free time?
Godsteam16 years ago
He, how far does this cannon usually shoot?
travie6 years ago
how should i do this on a smaller scale??
Hey, could you do this with other shapes too? I mean instead of a circle, a square or a star or a triangle? Even a heart would be cool, because I'm thinking of making a cannon with a heart hole for my high school's valentine's day dance. Who cares if its months away? I'll probably need all that time to make the cannon anyway.
yeah! and fill the cannon with RED smoke too!
is that a yeah to the heart shape or a yeah in general?
People keep commenting on how you can make one out off a cup and other small things and maybe I missed someone else pointing this out but... If you are a smoker, you already have a small, controllable, size and speed adjusting "cannon", your mouth. HOWEVER! I simply can't stress this enough... If you do not smoke tobacco, DO NOT START! Don't even "try" it! It is not worth the risks and yes, those risks are so damn serious that even smoking one, just one, can cause you problems not to mention addiction. I always hear people say things like, "Oh you have to smoke more then a few to get addicted" or, "You'll just cough, get dizzy and not like it, so you wont do it again". Well guess what people? First time I smoked? I didn't cough, didn't even see how it could make anyone cough, I loved the taste, I felt GREAT, all of my anxieties regarding an event that day seemed so... reduced or eliminated, I was instantly hooked psychologically. I knew it made me feel good, I knew that it had about a 50% chance it would kill me one day and I just didn't care. Not because I'm unintelligent, but because that's how addiction works, I've been through other addictions so I'm familiar with what it feels like and on that day, I knew I was addicted. Mainly psychologically but I'm sure to some degree physically too. I'm currently about to quit (first attempt) on the 12th after a few years now of smoking, I'm really glad and happy about this but I'm also scared out of my mind. SO! DO NOT SMOKE CIGARETTES! The buzz goes away, the addiction constantly grows, you get closer and closer to death every smoke, and while you do get relief and perhaps a small "lift" from a smoke (when you are already a smoker) it's not worth it, it just isn't worth it. So don't start, and if you have set up a quit date and follow through, do it for yourself, for the people you love and the ability to be with them longer. There are much safer (and better) ways to feel good in this life, from adrenaline rushes to other things, so play it safe people. [/Rant] Admittedly, I learned how to blow smoke rings a while ago because it was something I wanted to do before I quit. I have to say, your mouth is incredible in what it is capable of, you can blow tiny (around 1") rings to quite large ones, traveling fast or slow all depending on what you do. It's cool, but I like the idea of not using your lungs as the "push" for the smoke a lot more so I think this instructable is awesome!
ahah
not smoke cigarettes, but other "stuff"???
/boring
Arx6 years ago
A speaker probably isn't the greatest source, due to it's limited displacement. Also, with the lack of acoustical damping, you're likely to damage the speaker due to over-excursion. If you had a smaller chamber (depends on speaker parameters. likely somewhere between 1 and 2 cubic feet), with a much smaller hole. I think it would be much more effective. I think with the garbage bag one, if you found a way to bungee the ball to the front of the cannon somewhere so it would pull fully in, you could get a much better burst of air. As things stand now, the outside edges of the bag will blow out somewhat, absorbing a large portion of the energy. Another alternative would be to skip the bungee and see if you can get a large piece of rubber (weather balloon?) instead.
spork9696 years ago
"Hell Yes" by Beck is the song that the speaker plays during his "test". I love that song.
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