Instructables

The Great Potato Cannon

A homemade potato gun that is aerosol powered and easily constructed with parts from your local hardware store for under $50 !!
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Parts and materials

Picture of Parts and materials
Picture 451.jpg
It is a good idea to use schedule 80 PVC for your project.

For this project I used 4" PVC for the chamber and 2" PVC for the barrel. These pipe sizes can be changed based on availability.
Other important pieces are the :
4" cleanout with cap (Top right).
4" to 2" reducing coupling (Top Left).
4" x 4" x 2" coupling w/ sweep 90' (Middle)
2" cap (middle right)
PVC cleaner and cement

Not pictured : a BBQ grill igniter (pushbutton type)


Step 2: Chamber assembly

Using your 4x4x2 and cleanout test fit the parts together and prep the PVC cleaners and glue. Cleaning and gluing are important because the potato gun builds quite a bit of pressure when it fires. (Pictures 1 & 2)

The cleanout and cap will fit right into the 4x4x2 coupling.The 2" sweep should curve away from the cleanout when it is installed. glue these pieces together and you have created the handle and gas chamber. The cleanout will be where we fill the gun with hair spray. (picture 3)

Next step is to add a 2" piece about 5" long to the sweep. Picture 4 is an example of how not to cut PVC (Ha ha ha) Picture 5 shows the 2" piece being inserted into the sweep.

Picture 7 shows installing the 2" piece into the sweep and putting the 2" cap on the end. This 2" cap will serve as the trigger assembly.

Picture 8 & 9 illustrate cutting a 12" piece of 4" pipe and inserting it into the coupling. The chamber is almost complete.x
ajensen197 months ago
Don't you guys worry about the chamber exploding in these potato guns? I've had the cap go flying off my potato gun before.
EET198210 months ago
Making mine soon. Thanks for the instructable!!!
@ The video posted: Your going to want to put a screw through your barrel at the neck so you CANT shove the potato into the chamber DUH. Don't use a BBQ lighter there garbage and don't always ensure a fire. Use a lantern igniter. They don't fail. Sand the tip of your barrel and make it sharper to allow for the potatoes to enter easier. I added a guitar like strap to support the weight of the gun and to make it easier when twisting the lantern igniter. The best spray fuel is Static Guard. It will make those potatoes scream. Ive made plenty of these and done my research. Trial and error. Hope i helped others.
Great advice. I'm about to make my own as well and from your suggestion going to go with the lantern ligniter and the strap. Going to be epic if it all works. Thanks again!
tonysoprano6379 (author)  illdoyourdrugs3 years ago
Wow, Thanks for the advice. I can't wait to give these suggestions a try!
You reply nearly a year later hahaha.Oh well you know what they say.... better late then never! No problem.
polabearboi5 years ago
how far will this gun shoot???
Using a gun I had built previously with close to the same specifications, and ether as the fuel, we shot a potato 2700ft roughly. Measured it with a wheel tape. I live in a very small town and only about ten people total live here so we just shot down the old highway.
i am sorry for calling you out on that but that is almost impossible unless you were using highly combustible fuels such as acetylene. and if you were trying to use a fuel that powerful with a pvc cannon you are not the brightest individual. you must be mistaken trust me i know
I was getting around 800m using propane as fuel. the gun was at least double the size of the one in this build. gas chamber was 5ft x 6" and the barrell was around 9ft long made from stainless steel. I also had an oxygen tank to provide the proper fuel air ratio as well. I think it's easily possible to get well over a km with a well designed potato gun with the right wind and angle.
tonysoprano6379 (author)  polabearboi5 years ago
A minimum of at least a hundred yards, I have not yet tried to acurately measure the total distance. I know that the distance varies by the amount of fuel used, BUT IF YOU TRY BE CAREFUL !!!!
mneuls2 years ago
I found propane to be by far the best fuel, it doesn't leave stick residue on the sides of the chamber, I tubed a small home kit with oxygen and propane bottles, to eliminate the need to air out the chamber. I also find that if you gas up the chamber before pushing the potato down it compresses the gas inside and makes for a bigger bang. Ether or "liquid fire" works awesome as well.
Cobalt593 years ago
I like your evil laughs. :)
tictaclad4 years ago
 i couldnt find 4" pvc so i had to use abs and i still only went 3 inches....i think 4 inches is to big
tictaclad4 years ago
 just made one cant wait 4 it 2 dry.
Verbinguden4 years ago
I like those laughs in the demonstration video, lol. Great instructable.
tonysoprano6379 (author)  Verbinguden4 years ago
 Thank you very much.......... This was messing around on our lunchbreak at work (hence the evil laughs)
Hey is there anyway to make a thinner barrel and still have it work? if there is, is it possible to make a homeade rpg projectile to shoot out of it?
tonysoprano6379 (author)  karatedude434 years ago
 A thinner barrel should not be a problem........based on the availability of your parts........  You would just need a different sized reducing coupling..

I was just discussing the idea of different ammo the other day at work with my buddy......
He told me that he always uses shop rags to form a "wad" similar to muzzleloading rifle. This enables you to use anything smaller than your barrel for a projectile. (ie; golf balls)

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!
furby19944 years ago
where did you get schedule 80 pvc pipe from i have only ever heard of schedule 40 and thats the thickest i have seen and will schedule 40 work
i think he ment on the wire leads, at the ends. my friend and i just built a spudzooka, and we did this, and it turned out very well
I like the look of it man. I just went to the store bought the stuff and just put all the parts together, just waiting till tomorrow to start lighting some potatoes across town! I'm using WD-40 though, not hairspray. you use less spray, and WD is pushed out of the can with propane, so its nice. Can't wait to use it. -Home Depot, was a lil more pricey than i though it would be, but i bought a few extra stuff. but was around 60 for me..
i dont care cuz where i live there's a lowes and home depot across the street from each other
Awesome. I am glad to inspire others to build potato guns. I know that there are alot on this site.... make another instructable with your project. I like to see other peoples projects and videos.
Use hair spray, Lysol, or spray on deodorant. they stay spray longer and probably more potent with less smell. burning WD-40 smells so... try those listed.
dude WD-40 doesnt ignite once it settles. it has to stay in spray form to light and since its thick oil it settles quik. use hair spray or lysol. the original spray cans work great. also for torching = )
Glad to hear you are using my instructable as a model for your project!!!! You are the second person who has mentioned wd-40, I think I'll give it a try. !!!!!
yeah, watch the hell out though, holy crap. it didn't work the first time i took it out to use. and sprayed to much, and mixed wd40 w/ hairspray cause i was wtf this thing needs to blow. then i just left it there for a weekend. came back shot it off, and damn. I had duck tape around the trigger and it flew right off nearly hit myself and burnt the hell outa my thumb, but it was awesome.
was the barrel shooting fire?
tonysoprano6379 (author)  codongolev5 years ago
Yes it's awesome !!!!! When we shoot at night there is a good 2 foot flame that shoots out of the barrel!!! It Rocks!
chewit5 years ago
this is great and i want to build one but i`m having trouble finding the parts in the UK can anyone help???
builders merchants/ plumbing supplies should have the PVC parts needed
Wrap it in a sheet of Chicken wire/ hexagonal wire fencing and then coat that in Duct tape or even dip it in liquid epoxy resin or something for extra stength this thing shoots ice quite well too
tylerolso5 years ago
this works super duper and if you live in a urban area i wouldnt shoot it very loud and attract the police
jasonckoval5 years ago
Hey folks, really be careful. One thing I have seen is to wrap the combustion chamber with wire and then duct tape. The wire adds alot of strength to resist the "hoop" stress of firing. Just wrap it tightly. You can also use duct sheet metal bent into a cylinder shape. you just want to reinforce the chamber because if you use this thing it is just a matter of time before it fails. Good luck!!
Junk Mail6 years ago
If you sharpen the edges around the end of the barrel it makes loading much easier.
I made an air cannon today and sharpend the edges and ended up with a big cut. if u sharpen the edges, USE UTILITY GLOVES TO LOAD or u will be like me. lol. =P
tonysoprano6379 (author)  Junk Mail5 years ago
Great tip, I have had others suggest that but have not tried it yet! Thank you
twenglish15 years ago
awesome , i built one of these that was about 12 Feet long this inspired me to get it working again
tonysoprano6379 (author)  twenglish15 years ago
Glad to be of inspiration to your project!!! This is a great site with a ton of great ideas!
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!