Introduction: Double Barreled Potato Cannon

WARNING: Potato Cannon, Guns, or any other shooting devices are DANGEROUS and should be treated as such. The following potato cannon was made under proper supervision and using proper safety protocol. The creators of this device are not responsible for any misconduct or any injury inflicted upon others from its use and this device is at the sole discretion of the operator. With that in mind, lets get to the fun stuff...

Our Project: Using PVC and some creative ingenuity, we created a double barreled potato cannon that is powered by the chemical reaction between baking soda and white vinegar. The cannon operates through a system of valves and chambers that allows carbon dioxide to build up and be released in large quantities at a high velocity.

Step 1: Inventory

PVC Needed:

  • 3 - 1 inch pipe ball valves (solvent weld)
  • 1 - 10 ft section of 1 inch PVC
  • 3 - 1 to 1 1/2 inch adapters
  • 1 - 10 ft section of 1 1/2 inch PVC
  • 1 - 1 1/2 inch PVC tee
  • 2 - 1 1/2 inch PVC elbows (90 degrees)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 inch PVC connector

Other Materials:

  • PVC Primer
  • PVC Cement
  • Measuring Tape
  • Baking Soda
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Safety Goggles
  • Plumbers Tape
  • Ramming Rod (>3 feet)
  • Potatoes
  • Napkins


  • Hand Saw
  • Threading Tools (if using pressure gauge)

Step 2: Assembly Pt I

To start off, cut 3 small pieces of 1 inch PVC for adequate connections between adapters and the pipe valves (~3 inches). Using PVC Primer, prime the inside of a pipe valve and the outside of a small 1 inch PVC piece. Let dry for 10 seconds and apply PVC Cement on the inside of the valve. Attach the two pieces and repeat the priming and gluing process with an adapter and attach it to the 1 inch PVC connected to the pipe valve.

Step 3: Assembly Pt II

For the next step, cut a piece of 1 1/2 inch PVC around 2 feet long and then prime and cement of the 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe and attach it to the adapter connected to the valve. Prime and cement the other end of the 1 1/2 inch PVC piece along with the inside of the tee. Attach the two parts. Cut two small pieces of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe for proper connection to elbows (~3 inches). Repeat the next few steps to account for both sides of the tee and to create double barrels. Insert a small piece of primed 1 1/2 inch PVC into a primed and cemented 90 degree elbow.

Step 4: Assebly Pt III

Prime and cement the other side of the 90 degree elbow along with another adapter and attach the two pieces. Now take one of the previously small cut pieces of 1 inch PVC. Prime and cement the piece along with the other end of the adapter and connect the two pieces. Repeat the process with the other end of the 1 inch PVC and another pipe valve. Now for the final step, prime and cement the other side of the pipe valve and a 1 inch piece of PVC cut at ~3 feet. Attach the two pieces to create a barrel. Repeat these steps from the tee assembly on the other side to create second barrel.

Step 5: Launch Procedures

  1. Close both barrel valves
  2. Load potatoes into barrels. May need ramming rod and possible downsize of potatoes for fit (make potatoes fit tightly)
  3. Pour vinegar into open back valve
  4. Pour baking soda into a napkin and twist to make a cartridge
  5. Using a ramming rod, stuff the baking soda cartridge into the back chamber through the valve and close the back valve quickly
  6. Rock cannon back and forth for 30 seconds
  7. Point cannon in a SAFE DIRECTION
  8. Open top valves simultaneously
  9. Enjoy the pop!
  10. Open back valve to expel aqueous waste and wipe down cannon after completing activity
Invention Challenge 2017

Participated in the
Invention Challenge 2017

Explore Science Contest 2017

Participated in the
Explore Science Contest 2017