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You are about to embark on the creation of multi-use apparatus!

You can launch many types of things.  From items around the house to projectiles from outdoor summer activities, you can find all sorts of things to whirl through the air!  You could choose from food, clothing (such as socks), water balloons, or balls.

Primary Purpose
The toy that is described in this Instructable targets a specific audience – the young adventure boy warrior. (This toy could be for your son, brother, or friend.  As you read this introduction, put yourself in his place.)

Using the battlefields of your imagination, you spread out your toy plastic soldiers across the house landscape.  You hear the guns sound and the soldiers cry.  The battle is fierce!

One thing is missing, though.  You are in modern warfare.  In modern warfare, there are paratroopers.  One of the many ways that paratroopers can engage in your battle is by being carried by your skillful hand and dropped from the air.  This, however, can prove inconvenient and precarious when tens to hundreds of army men dot the landscape.  You might crush some of your men beneath your knee or foot!

One new weapon enters the scene and solves this situation.  It is the Army Man Figurine Cannon.  You can load one or more plastic army men into this device.  With a bit of force, you (the boy) can fling your men through the air to remote portions of the battle field.

Secondary Purpose
Even if you are not a boy or you are not enthralled with army men and battle, this device may still be for you.  Due to its simple construction and large mouth (opening), this device can shoot many things.  For summer activities, outdoor enthusiasts could use water balloons.  Pet owners may find this device helpful for flinging light balls for their dog to fetch.

Overall, this device can be used by many different people - both children and adults.  For children or adults, this device stands up as a simple yet able flinger!

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 -- Estimated build time: 2 hours.   --
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Safety: When using this device, exercise great caution whenever flinging something at a person. If the object is hard (such as a ball), do not fling at a person or animal.  Whether the object is soft or hard, it is recommended that people around the device wear eye protection.
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Step 1: Gather Needed Materials and Tools

You should gather all needed materials and tools before beginning to build this cannon.

===========================================================================
Following is a list of the materials used for this Instructable:

+ PVC pipe (Qty: 1)
   - Length: Greater than 1 foot
   - Diameter: 2 inches

+ Hose clamps (Qty: 2)
   - Size: 2 inches

+ Rubber bands (Qty: 2-10)
   - NOTE: Use an even number of rubber bands.

+ Pine wood plank (Qty: 1 plank or such that can be cut down to fit within the inside diameter of
   the PVC pipe after it has been cut.  See step 5.)
===========================================================================

===========================================================================
Following is a list of the tools used for this Instructable:

+ Table saw with blade (Qty: 1)

+ Jigsaw with blade (Qty: 1)

+ Flat head screw driver (Qty: 1)

+ Pen or Sharpie (Qty: 1)

+ Ruler (Qty: 1)

+ Block of wood (for safety when using the table saw) (Qty: 1)
===========================================================================

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Safety Warning: Exercise all necessary precautions when using the above materials and tools.  Follow all safety procedures associated with any material or
tool.  Some of the basic guidelines are to wear adequate eye and ear protection (especially when using the saws).  Keep your hands and other body parts away from saw blades at all times.  Be sure to secure any loose clothing.  Remove any jewelry before using the saws.

If you are a minor, be sure to have adult supervision before and during the use of the saws.
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Step 2: (Optional) Prepare PVC Pipe to Be Cut Down to 1 Foot Length

======================
Materials used in this step
+ PVC pipe

Tools used in this step
+ Pen or Sharpie
+ Ruler
======================

This step is optional.  NOTE: If you complete this step, you should complete step 3.

If the PVC pipe that you are using is longer than 1 foot, then you should do this step (if you would like your cannon to be similar in length to the cannon built for this Instructable).

1. Choose one of the ends of the PVC pipe.

2. Using the ruler, measure 1 foot from the end chosen in step 1.

3. Mark the PVC pipe at the 1 foot mark measured in step 2.  NOTE: It may be helpful to mark the
    PVC pipe all the way around by drawing a circle around the PVC pipe at the 1 foot mark.  (See
    the picture below.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have a PVC pipe with some mark that is about 1 foot from one of the ends of the PVC pipe.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Step 3: (Optional) Cut PVC Down to 1 Foot Length

======================
Materials used in this step
+ PVC pipe

Tools used in this step
+ Table saw
+ (Optional) Wood for pushing
======================

This step is optional.  NOTE: This step is based upon step 2.

1. Raise the table saw blade such that the top of the table saw blade is higher than the top of
    the PVC pipe (if the PVC pipe is lying down on the table saw).  (See the first image below.)

2. Line up the mark on the PVC pipe (that you made in step 2) with the saw blade.

3. (NOTE: Do not let the PVC pipe touch the saw blade!)  Turn on the saw.

4. Exercising all safety precautions associated with the saw, push the PVC pipe through the saw
     such that the saw blade follows/goes through the mark that you made in step 2.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have two sections of PVC pipe.  (See the second image below.)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Safety Warning: Exercise all necessary precautions when using the above material and saw.  Follow all safety procedures associated with the material and the saw.  Some of the basic guidelines are to wear adequate eye and ear protection (especially when using the saw).  Keep your hands and other body parts away from saw blades at all times.  Be sure to secure any loose clothing.  Remove any jewelry before using the saw.

If you are a minor, be sure to have adult supervision before and during the use of the saw.
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Step 4: Prepare the PVC for Cutting Into Halves

======================
Material used in this step
+ PVC pipe

Tools used in this step
+ Pen or Sharpie
+ Ruler
======================

1. Mark the PVC pipe on one of its ends with a solid black line through the center (diameter, for
    the technical people) of the PVC pipe end.  (See the first picture below.)

2. Continuing from the first line, draw a second line (connected to the first) down one of the sides  
    (through the center of that side) of the PVC pipe until you reach the other end of the PVC pipe.

3. Draw another line through the center of the other end of the PVC pipe.  (This line should be
     similar to the line drawn in step 1.)

4. Mirror the line drawn in step 2 on the opposite side of the PVC pipe.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have a continuous loop (black if you used that color) around the “center” portion of the PVC pipe.  This line is to guide you as you divide the PVC pipe in halves in step 5.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Step 5: Divide the PVC Pipe in Halves

======================
Material used in this step
+ PVC pipe

Tools used in this step
+ Table saw
+ Block of wood (for safety)
======================

1.  Adjust the height of the table saw blade to be higher than the overall width (diameter) of the
     PVC pipe.  For this Instructable, the blade should be higher than 2 inches.

2.  Position the PVC pipe on the table saw bench by aligning the black line (drawn in step 4) with
     the blade).  Safety: Be sure to keep hands and any clothing away from blade at all times.

3.  (NOTE: Do not let the PVC pipe touch the saw blade!)  Turn on the saw.

4. Using guards and the block of wood (for pushing), guide the PVC pipe through the saw blade.
    The saw blade should cut the PVC pipe along the black line that was marked in step 4.

5.  Turn the saw off.

6.  After the blade is completely stopped, remove the cut PVC pipe.

7.  Clean the area and the saw.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check:  After cutting the PVC pipe, you should have two "equal" C-shaped PVC pipe halves.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Safety Warning: Exercise all necessary precautions when using the above material and saw.  Follow all safety procedures associated with the material and the saw.  Some of the basic guidelines are to wear adequate eye and ear protection (especially when using the saw).  Keep your hands and other body parts away from saw blades at all times.  Be sure to secure any loose clothing.  Remove any jewelry before using the saw.

If you are a minor, be sure to have adult supervision before and during the use of the saw.
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Step 6: Prepare PVC for Cutting the Grooves in Which the Launch Pad Moves

======================
Material used in this step
+ C-shaped PVC pipe halves (from step 5)

Tools used in this step
+ Pen or Sharpie
+ Ruler
======================

1.  Choose one of the C-shaped PVC pipe halves.

2.  About 2 inches from one of the ends of the PVC pipe, draw a line on the inner (cut) face.  The  
     line should be perpendicular (form a right angle with the outside of the PVC pipe).  Draw the
     line on both the top and bottom of the inner (cut) face.  (See the first image below.)

3.  Measure about 5-6 inches above the line (along the inner face of the pipe) drawn in substep 2
     above, draw another line on the inner (cut) face on both the top and bottom.

4.  From one of the lines (from substeps 2 or 3), draw a short (about 1/2 inch) line on the outside
     of the PVC pipe.  Draw the line in the direction as if you were drawing a circle around an entire
     PVC pipe. (Refer to the third picture below.)

5.  Repeat step 4 for the other line set (the other line set drawn in either substeps 2 or 3). (Refer to
     the third picture below.)

6.  Repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other side of the PVC pipe.  (Refer to the third picture below.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have two line segments on the outside of the PVC pipe.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

7. Connect the two line segments.  (Refer to the third picture below.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check:  With the cut wall of the PVC pipe acting as an edge, you should have a rectangle that is about 1/2 inch x 5-6 inches.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

8.  Repeat steps 4-7 on the other side of the PVC pipe. (Refer to the third picture below.)

9.  Repeat steps 1-8 on the other cut half of the PVC pipe. NOTE: The lines on both cut PVC pipe 
     halves should align (about exactly) with the lines on the other cut half of the PVC pipe.  (Refer to
     the second and fourth pictures below.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check:  You should now have four rectangles.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Step 7: Cutting the Grooves in Which the Launch Pad Moves

======================
Material used in this step
+ C-shaped PVC pipe halves

Tools used in this step
+ Jigsaw
======================

Using the jigsaw, cut out the four rectangles (drawn in step 6).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have four rectangular notches.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Safety Warning: Exercise all necessary precautions when using the above material and saw.  Follow all safety procedures associated with the material and the saw.  Some of the basic guidelines are to wear adequate eye and ear protection (especially when using the saw).  Keep your hands and other body parts away from saw blades at all times.  Be sure to secure any loose clothing.  Remove any jewelry before using the saw.

If you are a minor, be sure to have adult supervision before and during the use of the saw.
********************************************************************************************************************************

 

Step 8: Prepare PVC Pipe for Cutting Rubber Band Notches

======================
Material used in this step
+ C-shaped PVC pipe halves

Tools used in this step
+ Pen or Sharpie
+ Ruler
+ Jigsaw
======================

1.  At the end of one of the PVC pipe halves (farthest from any of the edges of the rectangular
    notches cut in step 7),  measure about  1/8 inch from the inner cut surface.  Mark this
    measurement with a pen or Sharpie. (See the picture  below.)

2.  Repeat step 1 on the opposite side of the same end of the PVC pipe.

3.  Measure about 1/8 – 1/4 inch down from one of the above lines.  Down is the direction along 
     the long side of the PVC pipe.

4.  Repeat substep 3 for the other line drawn in substep 2.

5.  Repeat substeps 1-4 on the other PVC pipe half.

6.  Using the jigsaw, cut out grooves that follow the lines drawn in the substeps above. (The width
     of the notch should be wide enough for the side of a rubber band.)  The width of each of the
     notches should extend in the direction that is farther away from the inner cut surface of the PVC
     pipe.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have four "L-shaped" lines.  Two of the lines should be at one end of one of the C-shaped PVC pipe halves.  The other two lines should be at the end of the other C-shaped PVC pipe half.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Step 9: Cut the Rubber Band Notches

======================
Material used in this step
+ C-shaped PVC pipe halves

Tools used in this step
+ Jigsaw
======================

Using the jigsaw, cut out grooves that follow the lines drawn in step 8. (The width of the notch should be wide enough for the side of a rubber band to fit into.) The width of each of the notches should extend in the direction that is farther away from the inner cut surface of the PVC pipe.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have four small grooves.  To check if these grooves are wide enough, straddle a rubber band around/in the groove.  If the rubber band does not go in easily, the groove may need to be widened.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

********************************************************************************************************************************
Safety Warning: Exercise all necessary precautions when using the above material and saw.  Follow all safety procedures associated with the material and the saw.  Some of the basic guidelines are to wear adequate eye and ear protection (especially when using the saw).  Keep your hands and other body parts away from saw blades at all times.  Be sure to secure any loose clothing.  Remove any jewelry before using the saw.

If you are a minor, be sure to have adult supervision before and during the use of the saw.
********************************************************************************************************************************

Step 10: Prepare the Launch Pad (the Wood)

======================
Material used in this step
+ Pine wood plank

Tools used in this step
+ Pen or Sharpie
+ Ruler
======================

1.  On the surface of the wood, draw a circle that has a diameter (center-width) that is slightly less
     than 2 inches.  You should draw the circle such that the diameter is less than the inner
     diameter of the PVC pipe when the two halves are put together.  Approximate it.

2.  To do this, you could use your ruler and draw several 2 inch lines (whatever the correct
     diameter is) that all intersect at a common point. (Each of the lines should have 1 inch of line
     on either side of the common point.  This means that the radius of the circle should be 1 inch.) 
     (See the third image below.)

3. Connect the outer ends of the lines to create a circle.  (See the first image below.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should have a circle with a diameter that is less than 2 inches.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

4.  Just to the side of the centerline (diameter) of the circle, draw a 1-1/2  inch line outward from
      the edge of the circle.  The line should be parallel to but offset from the diameter of the circle. 
      (See the fourth image below.)

5.  On the other side of the circle’s centerline and still on the same side of the circle, repeat
     substep 4. (See the fourth image below.)

6.  Connect the hanging parts of the line to form a “rectangle.”  This “rectangle” has one
      curvy-edge due to the circle. (See the fourth image below.)

7.  Mirror the rectangle to other side of the circle. (See the fourth image below.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should have a drawing of a circle with two handles (one on either side of the circle).
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Step 11: Cut the Launch Pad (the Wood)

======================
Material used in this step
+ Pine wood plank

Tools used in this step
+ Jigsaw
======================

1.  Using the hand saw, cut the pine wood by following the pattern of the circle with handles
     (drawn in step 10).  NOTE: Do not cut off the handles by accidentally cutting out the entire
     circle.  Cut around the outer of edge of the circle-handle shape. Safety: Use safety precaution
     by using proper eye protection and hand protection (such as gloves).  Be certain to cut
     away from the body.  Keep all fingers from contacting the saw blade. 
(See the images
     below.)

2.  Clean the area.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: You should now have a round disk of wood (with two handles on either side of the disk).
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Safety Warning: Exercise all necessary precautions when using the above material and saw.  Follow all safety procedures associated with the material and the saw.  Some of the basic guidelines are to wear adequate eye and ear protection (especially when using the saw).  Keep your hands and other body parts away from saw blades at all times.  Be sure to secure any loose clothing.  Remove any jewelry before using the saw.

If you are a minor, be sure to have adult supervision before and during the use of the saw.
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Step 12: Put Everything Together

======================
Material used in this step
+ C-shaped PVC pipe halves
+ Rubber bands
+ Cut wooden disk
+ Hose clamps

Tools used in this step
+ Flat head screw driver
======================

1.  Place the handles of the wooden disk in the slots of one of the PVC cut halves.  (See the
     second and third images below.)

2.  Place the other PVC cut half together with the first PVC cut half to form the PVC pipe again.  The
     cut slots should align. (See the fourth image below.)

3.  Slide both hose clamps onto the PVC pipe.  One should be on either side of the handles of the
     wooden disk.  Preferably, the clamps should be near the ends of the PVC pipe. (See the fifth
     image below.)

4.  Tighten the hose clamps until they seem to be tight.

5.  Straddle an even number of rubber bands on either “handle” of the wooden disk.  I suggest that
      you initially use one on either handle. 

6.  Stretch the rubber bands and loop them over the notches at one of the ends of the PVC pipe.
     (There should be four notches.  The four cut notches combine to form two notches when the
     pipe is completely assembled.)  (See the sixth and seventh images below.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Status Check: Congratulations!  The device is complete.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Step 13: Fire Away!

You have now constructed your plastic army man figurine cannon!

Before employing your new cannon, you should note a few things either about this device or about building this device:
+ You could use a hand saw and hack saw instead of the jigsaw.
+ You could use lots of rubber bands to increase fire power.  Make sure that you use an even
   number of rubber bands.
+ You could use different materials for the launch pad.  I chose pine wood for this Instructable.
+ The current design contains a little instability.  If you use this design, the launch pad could get
   stuck in the grooves in which it moves.  In addition, one or more of the rubber bands could fly off
   during operation. This may be due to any error that occurs during the launch or because of
   rough edges.

Now, let us get back to business!  To use this plastic army man cannon, you need one or more plastic army men.

To demonstrate this cannon, place one plastic army man in the mouth of the cannon (the opening of the long side of the cannon).

Using both hands, pull back the launch pad using the handles and release.  Whoosh!  The paratrooper (plastic army man) flies off into the middle of the fierce battlefield conflict!

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Safety: Remember to exercise safety when using this device.
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I kno this is a little late, but where did you get the thick rubber bands? And also, what about the triggering mechanism? Do you just use it like a slingshot?

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