Introduction: Launch It: the Pneumatic Potato Pistol.

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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:


ilpug (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.

fozzy13 (author)2009-02-14

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

Kiteman (author)fozzy132009-02-14

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).

crashbash (author)Kiteman2011-08-09

God I miss those days :(

yoyojoeco (author)Kiteman2010-09-25

nice job

Kiteman (author)yoyojoeco2010-09-25

Thank you!

___ (author)Kiteman2009-04-10

good times...goodtimes

fozzy13 (author)Kiteman2009-02-15

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

Kiteman (author)fozzy132009-02-16

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

Camisado (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!!!

jeffconnelly (author)Camisado2008-08-23

oh, yeah!

Camisado (author)jeffconnelly2008-08-23


yoyojoeco (author)Camisado2010-09-25

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

Kiteman (author)Camisado2008-07-09


Camisado (author)Kiteman2008-07-10


bylerfamily (author)2009-07-04

Where can I get a syringe?

astrong0 (author)bylerfamily2009-08-18

a fricking turkey baster wolud work

Kiteman (author)bylerfamily2009-07-04

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

bylerfamily (author)Kiteman2009-07-04


mynameisjonas (author)2009-01-12

how does this compare to simply blowing in the straw?

Bartboy (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?

Kiteman (author)Bartboy2008-09-30

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.

Bartboy (author)Kiteman2008-09-30

thought so

theosullis (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

Kiteman (author)theosullis2008-07-20

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

Johnsons on fire (author)2007-09-26

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

Kiteman (author)Johnsons on fire2007-09-27

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

Johnsons on fire (author)Kiteman2007-10-11

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)

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

Kiteman (author)Johnsons on fire2007-10-21

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?

Johnsons on fire (author)Kiteman2007-11-06

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!

Kiteman (author)Johnsons on fire2007-11-07

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)

Johnsons on fire (author)Kiteman2007-11-11

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

Kiteman (author)Johnsons on fire2007-11-11

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...

Johnsons on fire (author)Kiteman2007-11-11

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

why did you bother to read his message?

botmaster 10 (author)2008-04-12

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

Kiteman (author)botmaster 102008-04-13


botmaster 10 (author)Kiteman2008-04-14

I mean for aiming and ease of shooting:)

Whaleman (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.

Kiteman (author)2007-10-30

Thank you!

X_D_3_M_1 (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

Kiteman (author)X_D_3_M_12007-10-21

Bic = Biro.

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

astrozombies138 (author)Kiteman2007-10-23

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

Kiteman (author)astrozombies1382007-10-24

Birdo or Biro?

X_D_3_M_1 (author)2007-10-14

typo in p3. glue glue?

Kiteman (author)X_D_3_M_12007-10-21

Fixed, thanks.

KentsOkay (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?

KentsOkay (author)KentsOkay2007-09-10

Oops, your video.

Kiteman (author)KentsOkay2007-09-10

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

About This Instructable




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
More by Kiteman:Fallen Astronaut 2Custom laser cut metal business cardsDashboard Phone Stand
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