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Picture of T-shirt Cannon
Everybody has wanted to build a B.F.G. This time it was my turn, so i built a T-shirt cannon to blow the minds of crazed fans and students
 
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Step 1: Research

Picture of Research
for my cannon I would like to use it at rallys and school football games so it had to:

-shoot multiple shirts on one charge

-have enough power to project the shirts a good distance

-be reasonably priced and portable

so after a bit of research i found this video



It had everything i needed, so instead of buying his modestly priced gun of $560 dollars, I set out to build my own for less than $100.

Step 2: Parts List

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WORD OF WARNING! MAKE SURE YOU DRY FIT ALL OF YOUR PARTS BEFORE LEAVING THE HARDWARE STORE! SAVES TONS OF TIME. I AM IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE IF YOU HURT YOURSELF!!

Tanks:
- 4" diameter PVC 2 foot length
- 3" diameter PVC 2 feet total cut into foot long sections
- 4" PVC caps x2
- 3" PVC cap

next set of parts is to reduce from 3" to 1". if you find a cheaper way ignore my parts list
- 3"coupler x2
- 3" to 1.25" reducer x2
- 1.25" to 1" recucer x2
- foot length of 1" PVC
- 1" slip to 1" threaded adapter x2

Plumbing:
- 1" sprinkler valve
- foot length of 1/4" hose (get one that is properly rated)
- 1/4" hose adapter (hose barb) to 1/8" threaded x2
- 1/8" nipple x2
- 1/8" elbow
- 1/8" valve
- small hose clamp x2
- Teflon tape
- bike pump valve (can be replaced with a air compressor adapter)
- Epoxy
- PSI gauge

Tools:
- Drill
- various drill bits
- PVC cement and primer
- Popsicle stick
- Duct tape (optional)

Step 3: Drilling and Epoxy

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1. Take one of the 4" caps and drill a hole just big enough to insert the bike valve
2. take the other 4" cap and drill a hole that is just big enough to screw in a nipple
(screw the nipple into the elbow to make it easier to screw into the PVC, use Teflon tape)
3. take the 3" cap and drill a hole that is just big enough to screw in the hose adapter
3. once they are inserted add epoxy to the inside to seal any un-seen leaks
4. once dried do the same to the outside

Step 4: Firing Tank and Barrel

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1. take the 1' section of the 3" diameter PVC and solvent weld the coupler to the pipe
2. solvent weld the 3" to 1.25" reducer to the coupler
3. solvent weld the 1.25" to 1" reducer to the other reducer
4. cut about a 5" section of the 1" pipe and solvent weld it to the reducer
5. solvent weld the 1" slip to 1" threaded adapter to the 1" diameter pipe

repeat twice

1. choose which one you want to be the barrel and which to be the firing tank
(as a personal preference I chose to cut the tank a couple inches so that the bulk length would be about a foot)
2. the barrel is done, take your firing tank and drill a hole for the PSI gauge, use the same technique for the nipple and adapter, screw in and epoxy
(measure out were it will be so that the gauge is on the appropriate side of the gun by screwing the firing tank into the valve)
3. once the epoxy has set, solvent weld the 3" cap to the firing tank

Step 5: Main Tank

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1. Solvent weld the 4" caps to the 4" pipe
DONE

Step 6: Firing Mechanism

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there are two ways to fire your gun you can use the electrical solenoid built into the valve or use the technique displayed by crispyjones

I will provide instructions for the electrical side
parts:
- 9V battery clip x3
- 9V battery x3
- shrink tubing
- wire
- switches, one that stays on and one that is momentary
Assembly:
- solder according to the diagram
- position the switches on the gun so that it is most comfortable for you
- use epoxy or glue to secure the buttons

Step 7: Plumbing

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1. screw the barrel and firing tank into the sprinkler valve, use Teflon tape on the threading
2. complete the valve assembly by screwing the other nipple to the elbow, the valve to the nipple, and the hose adapter to the valve, use Teflon tape.
3. insert the hose onto the adapters, tighten using the hose clamps.

Step 8: Attaching the Two Halfs

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you can use what ever you want, I used what i had on hand DUCT TAPE!!!

Step 9: DONE!!!

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To check for air leaks fill the main tank with compressed air via bike pump or compressor. Seal any leaks with epoxy.

also the barrel can be screwed off to change the size and shoot other projectiles such a s potatoes, golf balls, tennis balls ect.

For shooting t-shirts I load the main tank with 100 PSI and then fill the firing tank with 40 PSI and this seems to work fine for me and can get about 6 shots in one fill.

NOW GO ENJOYING SHOOTING STUFF!!!!!
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GamerDudecnr4 months ago

I can't wait to build this

how much does this cost from start to finish for all the parts? thanks

hacker3455 (author)  chance.kuehnel8 months ago

I don't remember the exact cost, but it was around $90. However, money could be saved for different parts that serve the same purpose.

awangler1 year ago
Hey man. I'm building a pop bottle launcher for my nephew for Christmas and I'm using the same concept of the sprinkler valve. However, I cannot get my solenoid to open the valve enough to release the pressurized air all at once. It just slowly releases a little air over a long duration. It's more than likely a power problem, but I'm out of ideas on what to try. Suggestions?

I know this is way too late, but for others with this problem, I have a suggestion. The valve has a knob that controls the airflow. Loosen the knob as much as possible to allow for maximum air output.

hacker3455 (author)  awangler1 year ago
Sorry I didn't get back to you in time for Christmas. The problem you're having might be due to the valve itself, perhaps try a different brand. For my gun, (if memory serves me correctly) if the firing tank's pressure was too low, then the air would just "flow" out rather than dumping the full contents. Of course fill to a pressure that you are confident with.
quinn.porzio10 months ago

I am having the same problem as, firstson11, and i tried every thing you suggested, but it still goes maybe 15-20 ft with 40 psi, and with 100 psi it goes maybe 35-40. Help, my school is paying for the parts and they want results.

hacker3455 (author)  quinn.porzio10 months ago

Consider the variables I stated in the reply to firstson11. Also consider that the valve used in the application and how it may inhibit air flow.

firstson1110 months ago
I'm having issues with mine it's barly lobbing the t shirt out and it's at 40psi in the tank and suggestions
hacker3455 (author)  firstson1110 months ago

When rolling up the t-shirt, make sure that the fit within the barrel it isn't too tight. But also keep in mind that a t-shirt rolled up to tightly will allow air to escape around the shirt and will not launch the shirt. Also consider your connections from your tank to your barrel. Small diameter connections will limit the rate at which the air can vacate the tank.

did you use electrical?

Kataze1 year ago

What kind of epoxy did you use and how did you apply it? Just dab it around the threads, or what?

hacker3455 (author)  Kataze1 year ago

I don't remember exactly what type of epoxy it was. I do remember that it was clear and could be handled after about 2 hours. Check the packaging for application surfaces to make sure you are getting the right stuff. And yes I would apply some to the threading, and a bit on both sides of the hole to seal inside and outside.

Masher0071 year ago

Danger: See link: This is not spam, but a warning. PVC will fail suddenly after a while. This was band member that hurt badly by a T-Shirt launcher explosion.

See the pictures and never use PVC to hold air, Please.

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1Zs3c
..

Masher0071 year ago

This is not spam, but a warning. PVC will fail suddenly after a while. This was band member that hurt badly by a T-Shirt launcher explosion.

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1Zs3c
..

TraciAG1 year ago

Thanks for the instructions on the electrical part.

My team in robotics needed me to build a release for our shooting mechanism, this worked easy!

hacker3455 (author)  TraciAG1 year ago

Great to hear that things worked out!

It worked but I do have a question about it:

I'm not electrical savvy, so I'm wondering why there was a need for a momentary and non-momentary switch?

I just used the momentary in mine, what did the "safety switch" do?

hacker3455 (author)  TraciAG1 year ago

The non-momentary switch interrupts the circuit acting like a safety. Therefore, unless the non-momentary switch is pressed, the gun cannot misfire.

aschurger2 years ago
Wanted to say thanks for the instructable. I'm a physics teacher and we used this to launch eggs instead of the tired egg drop experiment. Kids loved it and it was a success.
hacker3455 (author)  aschurger2 years ago
Projectiles, the perfect way to captivate physics students
Absolutely fantastic. A couple of friends of mine own a minor league basketball team and mentioned a t-shirt cannon. So in the same spirit of this post, I offered to build one. I took the plans here and added a toy gun handle with a safety and trigger switch. Overall build time was about four hours not including cure time. So far it's been shot over 100 times (including a snowball fight) and is still going strong.
tshirt cannon painted.jpgtshirt cannon action.jpg
hacker3455 (author)  CaptainAwwsum2 years ago
Glad to hear you like the design!
HIRULE3 years ago
quick question did you do any math in order to build this gun. im having a bet with my friend
hacker3455 (author)  HIRULE3 years ago
What do you mean by math?
I think he means calculations
How far does everyone else's shoot? Mine only shoots about 20 meters.
ilpug4 years ago
Very nice! i might modify this whole system and mount it on something for some kind of airsoft monster gun.
ftball9994 years ago
I am currently building a nerf gun using that sprinkler valve, I am assuming that I will need multiple batteries but what is the purpose of the two switches? Thanks,
hacker3455 (author)  ftball9994 years ago
the non-momentary switch acts as a safety, therefore if it is not in the on position, the gun cannot be fired
Ah, thanks. I will be adding a second switch to my gun for that!
Pizzapie5004 years ago
What if my sprinkler valve runs on AC?
hacker3455 (author)  Pizzapie5004 years ago
Have you tried applying a DC current to the valve? If you still don't hear the clicking sound of the solenoid, look online for a DC to AC circuit design, thats all I can really suggest. Or find a valve that runs on DC.
Thank You! It runs perfectly on DC. I will probably do this on my anti siphon valve. 5*
knex_mepalm4 years ago
You might wanna make a hopper and tell everyone to looka t you then shoot them rapidly with t-shirts.
waterboyf55 years ago
you should so add a rotating chamber to it so you can load 6 at once.. but there might be a problem when you need to keep all the air centralized
hacker3455 (author)  waterboyf55 years ago
If I were to add a rotating barrel system I would keep the initial design but just unscrew the firing barrel and replace it with the multi-barrel attachment
that actually sounds a bit simpler than what i was going for. i just figured you could add a rotating chamber as a quick click on attachment but if your going for a permanent solution you should probably go with the rotating barrel system
idea on that. if you add it at the end to where the shirt just drops into the chamber wouldn't it work? although in the building process you would have to add a full circular backing to it so it doesn't just drop to the ground
hacker3455 (author)  waterboyf55 years ago
I would actually prefer the rotating barrel idea because you can get a much tighter seal around the shirt than if it is able to slide down. But then again you could load the gun with bolt action and probably get just as tight of a seal from the shirt ruffling up
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