Introduction: THE TYPES OF POTATO CANNONS

 there are two types of potato cannons. combustion and air.

DISCLAIMER
we at lightning works will not be held responsible for any actions or events that occur as a result of any publications of any kind, that come from our company. once a person has viewed our information, we are not responsible for there actions
also, these things can kill you

Step 1: COMBUSTION CANNON

 The first type the combustion cannon.
it uses a gas, an ignition source, and a compressed area to launch projectiles

Step 2: THE KEY PARTS

 there are three main parts to the combustion cannon
1. the compression chamber
2. the barrel
3. the ignition source

for the chamber, you have to put a screw off cap at one end, and a reducer at the other. you need the cap to be removable so that you can fill the cannon. you need the reducer to give the cannon more power, because a 1:1 ratio will not give you the needed power. i also chose to add a male screw adapter, so that i could have different barrels, also if the barrel clogs, you can get it out.

the barrels is a simple pvc pipe attached to the combustion chamber, that you can load from the front, or the rear, depending if you have a removable barrel which i highly recommend.

the ignition source can be almost anything. i recommend a grill ignitor since they are made to produce a spark. you should attach high gauge wires to the metal tabs on the side and bottom, instead of using the supplied wire, the wire given is not too good for making the spark needed, also it is a pain to cut. also, you should solder the end with tin, to protect it from erosion. one last thing, make sure that the ignitor and chamber are one, because is there is a leak, then the gas will come out and hit you. not fun. i just used some marine goop, to seal off the end of mine, just enough to keep gas from coming out.

Step 3: AIR CANNON

 the next type is the air cannon

Step 4: THE KEY PARTS

 again, an air cannon has three main parts
1. compression chamber
2. barrel
3. release mekanism 

the compression chamber MUST be air tight. is it is not your cannon will leak and it is hard if not impossible to fix. i double glued everything and even added a nice coat of epoxy on the inside and out to make it perfect. it once help 60 psi for 2 hrs! 

 again, barrel is a pvc pipe attached to the chamber in some way, i recommend a removable barrel.

this is where i got creative. you can use a standard ball valve as a release, but it was slow and lost a lot of power, so i decided to go electronic. i used a sprinkler valve, and instead of cutting it open, drilling, glueing, and carefully assembling a blow gun trigger into it, i just put a battery bank on top, added a switch, hocked up to the solenoid, added a box to keep it neat, and had a lightning fast trigger.

WARNING!!! the electric trigger method has more power, but also is extremely load. mainly because i have a 5:1 compression ratio( i now know that that is not good, and am working on a 2:1 cannon) which makes it very load. so load that my neighbors said that if i shoot it one more time they will call the police since it vibrates there entire house( believe me it is that damn load!!)
so i recommend either a ball valve or a 2:1 ratio for the sprinkler valve to barrel ratio.

Step 5: FINAL REVIEW

 combustion

pros
decent power
quiet
easy to fire

cons
a little short on power
can be dangerous is back blast hits you

air

pros
has varying power depending on how much air you give it
can have a lot of power
can shoot almost anything

cons
can be very load
takes long to load
harder to build

OVERALL
i say that both cannons are equal. 
If you live in a highly populated area or in an apartment, i say don't make one
if you live in a narea with a large back yard, but have neighbors, i say combustion
in you live in an area with a large back yard and few to no neighbors within 30 ft of your house, i say go for air

either way, they both are fun to use

again, these are not toys and can kill you if not used in a proper manner

Step 6: SILENCER

i made a silencer for my cannons. I forgot to take pictures, but type silencer in the search box and you can find the instructions for how to make one.

Comments

author
~FROGYOU~ (author)2013-10-27

There's 3 types of cannons, and each has two or three significantly different 'cousins'

author
ramicaza (author)2011-10-31

2 things.
electric actuation is not more powerful. Blowgun is because it opens MUCH faster and has higher flow.

Also, you forgot hybrids. Other than that, great instructable

author
drumerdude250 (author)2010-02-07

It doesnt matter usually about the chamber size unless you have a really long barrel, the bigger chambers just take longer to fill up

author
monkhm (author)drumerdude2502010-02-11

 true, but this one is more powerful then i can imagine, i made a massive silencer for it that turns my shotgun combustion cannon into a clap. but this still is so loud my neighbors complained!!

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-14

I have one that launches water filled 700mL pop bottles over 400 feet, its not loud and has a chamber almost twice as big as yours, your neighbors must have their hearing aids up too loud.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-02-14

LOL you have any pictures or better any instructables?? also i figured out the sound problem. having the air go from 5-1 inch was bad, but going from 1- a pinhead via the solenoid was what gave it the elephant noise, i wanna make a mechanical trigger, but now i have school and electronic projects,if i do do i till be sure to post it

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-14

Yea here is my instrucable: https://www.instructables.com/id/Multi-Barrel-Air-Gunpaint-ball-tennis-ball-pota/
Ok, I also wondered about the small valve causing performance loss, so if you make it bigger it will help. I didn't realize you had a 5 inch tank, I though it was 3, mine is 4 inch so I guess they are about the same size.
I also realized my 3/4inch paint-ball barrel is really loud.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-02-15


Yea it took me... I dunno 2 years to figure it out, but it was right in front of me all along, and Thanks and our cannons use the same kind of switching which is cool, but I also made mine modular, so I have a barrel, trigger, and chamber.
I have
2 chambers
1 trigger
3 barrels

Thats only the air guns lol

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-15

Where do you get 5 inch pvc?

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-02-16

Home Depot

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-16

I guessed so. Your lucky for your combustion gun, I am not allowed to have one.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-02-16

It's my preferred one, it's much quieter, all thanks to the silencer, it sounds so funny

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-16

Thats hard to imagine, what do you use for fuel, I am thinking propane

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-02-17

believe it or not, the only thing that I got to work, is lysol. Yea i know, I've tried butane,propane, gasoline, starter fluid, AXE, every thing. but the only thing that worked was lysol. I can't explain it..... it's dam weird.
But yea it's the silencer
Check out redjacket.com, dudes got a suppressed shotgun.... I WANT ONE!!!!!
Btw what movie was that from again?? i've herd of it but i forgot

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-20

I am not sure on the movie, when you say doesn't work, does it just not ignite, or does it not have enough power. Propane, and butane are both heavier than air so getting it to mix in the chamber can be hard without a fan. Gasoline and starter fluid you would have to vigorously shake the gun for about a minute and only use like a half tablespoon of it. For AXE and Lysol, if you hold them both upside down then one probably is full of gas, and the other liquid. One dispense the liquid, which would most likely be the AXE, and the other would dispense the gas aerosol mix. If your holding them right-side up, then they probably have straws, I have used Lysol for a flame throwing setup, both the aerosol and air freshener air combustible because if you spray it on a paper towel it burns up almost instantly.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-02-21

They just wont ignite. I've tried lighting them in a petri dish with the bare igniter, after letting them vaporize a little, and still nothing. I just don't get it...
I'll prob make another one to replace this one, plus this one is a pain to push, so i'll make one from scratch

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-21

Try finding some canned oxygen, it will give your combustion a huge boost, they are at sports stores and I actually saw some this weekend at a ski rental store. You can also try nitrous oxide canisters for whipped cream. I wonder if you just don't have a large enough spark, you could try a butane lighter to start it.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-02-23

Yea, im using a BBQ igniter now and the spark is small. I'll try that O2, that will def give my cannon a huge boost.

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-03-12

I don't know if you care anymore but I found out why Lysol works. It is a germ killer which means it probably contains alcohol which is very flammable and easy to ignite.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-03-14

Still why wont butane or AXE or other flamable things work?

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-03-14

My guess is that they are just harder to ignite, butane for sure is especially hard to mix with the air in you combustion chamber. If you had a good 1/2 inch spark I am sure anything would go off but that isn't easy to get. I think it would just be easiest to use the Lysol.
By the way, do you air it out after every shot.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-03-15

Yup. I even blow out the excess fumes, always being safe so I don't make myself high on spent lysol, my friend got a good wiff once, wasn't pretty...He almost coughed a lung out.

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-03-15

that doesn't sound good, I was cutting pvc pipe in half, then realized it was toxic, I have finally gotten over my cough although they might not be related.

author
monkhm (author)jj.inc2011-03-16

When I made my first combustion gun, my dad helped me,and we put the trigger in first to make sure it was all good. he was looking down the barrel and clicked it to see the spark,and the fumes ignited and lit his eyebrows on fire.... Good Times

author
jj.inc (author)monkhm2011-02-15

yea, I have had a much smaller chamber before, but I like this one much better because it always has more than enough, which doesn't but me because it fills up in 2 seconds +/- 1.

author
pyrofire (author)2010-04-19

HOLY CRAP, 1000 feet .  And at less than 1/3 the possible pressure.  That is great.

author
KahlZun (author)2010-02-26

Does freezing the potato make a difference to impact?

Someone told me once that a frozen potato in a spud cannon can go right through a car door...

..Anyone know if they're right?

author
monkhm (author)KahlZun2010-02-27

 yes it does. it makes it go much farther and go through more. look up Mythbusters chicken gun revisit and you'll see the difference for yourself.

author
TheFawns (author)2010-02-15

Im making one of these :)  

author
monkhm (author)TheFawns2010-02-18

 gl

author
toogers (author)2009-12-02

you forgot one kind, a hybrid cannon. it uses compressed air and ignitor+fuel.

author
monkhm (author)toogers2009-12-05

I've heard about those but they're really hard to make + I'm too lazy and poor to make one lol :)

About This Instructable

16,799views

23favorites

License:

More by monkhm:USB Outlet LampTHE TYPES OF  POTATO CANNONS
Add instructable to: