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Picture of Vacuum Cannon (revisited)
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Make a super simple vacuum powered cannon that will shoot projectiles with a good amount of velocity. The nice thing about this project is that it is a very simple design and easy to build.
 
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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials
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For this project you will need the following: PVC pipe (a 10' length of 3/4" was used here), a "T" connector (sized to match the PVC), duct tape, a vacuum, some newspaper, and any ball that will fit inside the PVC (in this case, paintballs).

Step 2: Assemble

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Tape the vacuum hose to the middle opening of the "T" connector and push the connector onto one end of the PVC. There, that was pretty easy.

Step 3: Try it out

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Put the ball in the end of the PVC that doesn't have the connector on it. Cap the ends of the PVC with newspaper; you may need a buddy for this part. Turn on the vacuum and the newspaper should stick to the ends; a vacuum should be created inside the PVC. Now, aim at something not alive, or that could possibly get damaged, and pull the newspaper off of the end that you loaded. The ball will shoot out the other side with impressive speed.

Step 4: Another View

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do u need to put the paper? cuz from what i understand, every shot requires the replacement of the paper, you should just put a hinged circle of plastic or something so you could fire rapidly
The plastic flap idea could work well on the breech end (the side where you're loading the gun) of the barrel. Though probably would not work on the muzzle end on the barrel because either the projectile will not have enough force to pop open the flap against the force of the vacuum. Also the impact in opening the flap would greatly reduce the speed of the projectile.
you could make a mechanism so that you have a PVC flap on either end linked by a piece of cotton or thin steel wire so when you open the flap to fire it, the other flap automatically opens in time with it :)
its really cool but since i dont have paintballs what else do u suggest i use?
Sharpened pencils.....
ha i like the way u think
Maybe you could use a cylinder of styrofoam with a coin imbedded near the front.
anything that fits in the pvc tube should work. we initially thought this would shoot "spit wads" or marshmallows that fit snuggly in the tube, but objects that could roll (read: travel smoothly) through the tube were much higher performance, and dangerous, ammunition.
supersaddy6 years ago
made one today! it's realy simple to make, i didnt have paintballs and i found blueberries fit well(i was using a 1/2 inch pvc). It launches them really hard!
ItsTheHobbs7 years ago
i might make one today. does the pvc have to be so long?
Da_Fudge7 years ago
very nice. might try this on the weekend. look out brother and sister....... :)
2 1/2" thinwall PVC pipe, if you can find it, is the right size for a tennis ball. I made a carbide cannon with it.
gnose7 years ago
why doesnt the ball get pulled along with the vacuum when you turn it on?
CameronSS7 years ago
That last video clip is sweet. It seems that if you used wider PVC that tennis balls would work.
cool!!!