Introduction: Launch It: the Pneumatic Potato Pistol.

Everybody wants a potato cannon. Especially #1 & #2 sons.

However, it's not entirely wise to let small people play with explosives or high-pressure gases. At least, not without me there to, er, supervise.

Enter the Pneumatic Potato Pistol - pocket-sized ballistic mayhem.

Step 1: Tools and Materials.

You will need:

  • Hot glue (or epoxy)
  • Cutting and grinding tools - either a hacksaw, file and sandpaper, or a rotary tool with appropriate bits.
  • Pliers
  • Safety gear - you will need goggles if you're using a rotary tool on the pen, be careful around hot-glue, and read the safety instructions on the packet if you are using epoxy. For the safety equipment needed when you use it, check the video in step four.
  • A large syringe. I acquired mine from school, but you can sometimes get them from pharmacists - ask for large oral syringes.
  • An old biro or similar stiff narrow tube.

Step 2: The Barrel

Cut off about 6cm (about two and a half of your American Inches) of the blunt end of the pen.

Near the closed end of the pen, drill a hole large enough to take the syringe nozzle. Note that the syringe I am using has a wider diameter near the base of the nozzle, and that is the diameter I am working to.

If you are planning to use the pistol to fire actual potato, grind the open end of the pen to a slightly chamfered edge. It doesn't need to be razor sharp, it just makes it easier to push into your spud.

Step 3: Construction.

The nozzle of your syringe (do I mean nozzle? I bet there's a medical word, but you know what I mean) is probably longer than the internal diameter of your pen. Trim it down to give plenty of clearance to allow air through.

Lay the barrel across the top of the syringe, with the stump of the nozzle in the hole you drilled. Hot-glue (or epoxy) the barrel in place, making sure there is an air-tight seal all round the point where the nozzle enters the barrel.

Let the glue cool fully before using the gun. This can take longer than you think, especially if your layers are thick.

Step 4: Firing

Pull the plunger out before you load the gun.

Insert your ammunition - either a paper pellet, or a lump of spud. To load with potato, press the barrel into the potato and lever it out. That will leave a spud "bullet" sitting in the barrel mouth. You could ram it further down the barrel with a matchstick, but there's really no benefit.

Hold the pistol in your favoured fist, with the barrel sticking out past your fingers, aim, and smack the plunger with your other hand.

Like the video:


Comments

author
ilpug made it! (author)2011-08-28

Me and some friends made these years ago when spit wad shooters were all the rage in school. We got in tons of trouble but it was great.

author
fozzy13 made it! (author)2009-02-14

=O !!! How do I get an Instructables leatherman!??!? : )

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2009-02-14

It was a prize in a past Valentine's contest (back when the site was smaller and did not have so many big sponsors, they made their own prizes).

author
crashbash made it! (author)crashbash2011-08-09

God I miss those days :(

author
yoyojoeco made it! (author)yoyojoeco2010-09-25

nice job

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2010-09-25

Thank you!

author
___ made it! (author)___2009-04-10

good times...goodtimes

author
fozzy13 made it! (author)fozzy132009-02-15

gahhhh!! thats so cool though, I want one!! : (

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2009-02-16

You'll have to ask Eric to make them prizes again...

author
Camisado made it! (author)2008-07-08

Despite that this is not the best potato cannon ever, it's still good, because it's easy and pocket-sized, AND, it's made by Kiteman! Everyone knows what Kiteman makes are always DA BOMB!!!

author
jeffconnelly made it! (author)jeffconnelly2008-08-23

oh, yeah!

author
Camisado made it! (author)Camisado2008-08-23

DA BOMB!

author
yoyojoeco made it! (author)yoyojoeco2010-09-25

(I don't like bombs, they kill people!) :)

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2008-07-09

:-)

author
Camisado made it! (author)Camisado2008-07-10

Yay!

author
bylerfamily made it! (author)2009-07-04

Where can I get a syringe?

author
astrong0 made it! (author)astrong02009-08-18

a fricking turkey baster wolud work

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2009-07-04

You can buy oral syringes (no needle) from pharmacies, or you could smile nicely at a local science teacher.

author
bylerfamily made it! (author)bylerfamily2009-07-04

Okay,thanks.

author
mynameisjonas made it! (author)2009-01-12

how does this compare to simply blowing in the straw?

author
Bartboy made it! (author)2008-09-30

what happens if you melt and seal the nozzle of the syringe, gill with aerosol, then compress? will it blow up under pressure?

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2008-09-30

Not that I am aware of - the compression needs to be much greater (in both speed and size) to generate enough heat to ignite fuel.

author
Bartboy made it! (author)Bartboy2008-09-30

thought so

author
theosullis made it! (author)2008-07-20

Well johnsons on fire, if its called a POTATO pistol it means he is fireing tic tacs, jeez not that hard to figure out

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2008-07-20

Unfortunately, johnsons on fire will never see this comment, because you didn't click the "reply" button at the end of his comment.

author
Johnsons on fire made it! (author)2007-09-26

I'm a little to lazy to read, but what are you shooting?

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-09-27

If you're too lazy to read it, I'm too lazy to reply... ;-)

author
Johnsons on fire made it! (author)Johnsons on fire2007-10-11

Then why did you reply at all? Kind of defeats the purpose. So if you do defeat the purpose by responding at all why don't you respond with the answer... (sigh)

author
struckbyanarrow made it! (author)struckbyanarrow2008-04-16

if your to lazy to read then how do you read his of comment of the answer sheez you both are wrong!

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-10-21

It's called a sense of humour, and , seriously, if you expect me to spoon-feed you every detail then you aren't really a Maker, are you?

author
Johnsons on fire made it! (author)Johnsons on fire2007-11-06

Of course i don't make wimpy "stuff" like this! I make the actual potato gun! And besides i'm a little to busy to make this with school and all so i don't end up in my forties arguing with teenagers!

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-11-07

Oh, the pain, the agony of the biting sarcasm!

Staggers backwards, clutching wounded ego

(Keep practising, little man, the side of the barn is over there somewhere)

author
Johnsons on fire made it! (author)Johnsons on fire2007-11-11

I'm looking for it, but can you give me better directions. I can hear the rooster faintly.

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-11-11

That's your problem - the rooster is on the fence near the gate. Turn around and face the other way, the barn is the big thing with a red roof and full of cattle. Try following your nose...

author
Johnsons on fire made it! (author)Johnsons on fire2007-11-11

Yay! I made it!... Now what? :(

author
altaria1993 made it! (author)altaria19932007-10-21

why did you bother to read his message?

author
botmaster 10 made it! (author)2008-04-12

You could just add a laserand mount the pen part vertically.

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2008-04-13

Er...

author
botmaster 10 made it! (author)botmaster 102008-04-14

I mean for aiming and ease of shooting:)

author
Whaleman made it! (author)2007-12-10

Hmm. It doesn't seem as though it would be easy to aim, what with the hitting it upwards and whatnot.

author
Kiteman made it! (author)2007-10-30

Thank you!

author
X_D_3_M_1 made it! (author)2007-10-14

lol whats a biro? never seen 1cept in computer. can i just use bic? k now i gotta get a syringe

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-10-21

Bic = Biro.

Hungarian Laslo Biro invented the pen known in the UK as a Biro and in the US as a Bic.

author
astrozombies138 made it! (author)astrozombies1382007-10-23

birdo is also the pink kangaroo that shoots eggs at you in mario

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-10-24

Birdo or Biro?

author
X_D_3_M_1 made it! (author)2007-10-14

typo in p3. glue glue?

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-10-21

Fixed, thanks.

author
KentsOkay made it! (author)2007-09-10

REALY COOL I'll rate it as soon as the contest is over, where did you get the music on our video?

author
KentsOkay made it! (author)KentsOkay2007-09-10

Oops, your video.

author
Kiteman made it! (author)Kiteman2007-09-10

It's from download.com - the band has disbanded, and made it's music freely-available rather than try and keep selling it.

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Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
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