How to Make Vortex Cannons

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Introduction: How to Make Vortex Cannons

About: Tinkerer, hackster and prankster. Hit me up on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kipkayvideos/ Thanks for checking out my Instructables!
Here are two Instructables in one! Shoot rings of smoke across a room with the Tub Thumping Cannon and the Barking Tube Cannon. Watch me build them and the test results. From MAKE MAGAZINE Volume 15


Step 1: Tub Thumping Cannon

This one is so easy to make and gives great results. You will need a fog machine to generate the rings for both of these projects.

What You Need...

1. 32 Gallon Plastic Trash Can
2. Heavy Duty Trash Bag
3. Golf Ball
4. 2 Bunjee Cords
5. Tape
6. Box cutter.

Step 2: Build It...

1. Using the box cutter, cut out a 6" hole in the bottom of the trash can. Many trash cans have re-rounded circles you can use as guides.

2. Cut out a piece of trash bag a little bit larger than the top of the trash can. Roll up the golf ball in the middle of the bag and secure it with a small bunjee cord. Run a longer bungee cord through the smaller cord.

3. Secure the trash bag to the trash can using tape and attach the longer bunjee cord strap ends to the trash can handles.

Step 3: Use It...

Fill your new Vortex Cannon with smoke, pull back on the bungee/ball handle and let it rip! You should get a nice ring of smoke that shoots across the room. Try a larger hole in the trash can for a larger ring. You've just built the Tub Thumping Cannon! Now on to the Barking Tub Cannon...

Step 4: The Barking Tube Cannon

This Vortex Cannon uses sound waves to generate the smoke rings. This concept was inspired by Bill Beatty.

What You Need...

1. 12" cardboard concrete form tube available at home improvement stores.
2. 12" Woofer/Speaker
3. Thin piece of plywood
4. Cutting tool to cut a circle and tape.
5. Audio amplifier and laptop
6. Tone Generating Software

Step 5: Build It

1. Start by cutting the tube down to about 24". (I learned the hard way that you need a shorter tube as you saw in the video)

2. Using the tube as a guide, cut out a piece of plywood the diameter of the opening of the tube. and tape it to the bottom of the tube. Then cut out a 6" hole in the center of the plywood.

3. Securely tape the speaker to one end of the tube.

4. Wire your audio amp to the speaker and install the Tone Generating software on your laptop.

Step 6: Use It...

You should adjust the Tone Generating software to play a low-frequency saw tooth tone which will 'bump' the woofer and kick enough air to create your computer controlled smoke ring. You can also try different size holes in the tube and different tones and even music for different vortex effects! This is a fun science project and some have been made that really "kick air"! Check out this video. Hope you enjoyed this Instructable.


1 Person Made This Project!

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104 Comments

0
JeffC169
JeffC169

Question 1 year ago

How long should the bungee cords be ,from each side of the ball to have enough stretching power to make a decent vortex ring?

0
perfo
perfo

Answer 9 months ago

You want a little bit of tension left in the bungy when the ball if fully forward.

0
perfo
perfo

9 months ago

I know this is an old Instructable, but I’ve only just found
it so wanted to say I liked it and thanks for posting. I have a question though
(if you still read your comments). The speaker will be designed to self-centralise
with no signal on it. If you put a square wave on it then this will only displace
the cone one direction and for half of its travel. It would need a bias on it
moving the cone fully back and the Square wave, then sending it completely forwards.
How did you over come this in this project?
or did you only use half the travel?
Thanks again.

Hi everyone, if the body is longer then the force of created vortex ring will be stronger ? What theory does it based on ?

0
perfo
perfo

Reply 9 months ago

No. The key element of a stable vortex is
the velocity and quantity of air as it goes through the hole. This is set by
how much air you move with the diaphragm divided by time (so move as much as possible
in a short as time as possible). If you make the body too big or too long
there will be so much compression of the air inside the body, you will be
losing a lot of the velocity. Similarly if the hole is too big the
velocity will drop to a point where it won't make a vortex and just puff out
the hole or too small and you’ll not end up with enough volume of air to make the
vortex and end up with a jet..


You can pretty much scale everything up or down
within limits, but it would have to be everything not just one component. The
good thing is the tolerances are pretty big. If you make one completely guessing
the sizes it will probably work.

0
Taranach
Taranach

7 years ago on Introduction

Step two part three about where the bungee cords go was extremely vague and yet has a major affect on how the cannon works. I expected better detail from you.

0
ldhoover1
ldhoover1

12 years ago on Introduction

put a small speaker in bottom of coke can - add flour to coke can - speaker vibration will cause flour to disburse and then cannon will fire it out - if you pot a candle in front of cannon, the cannon will not only blow the candle out - but will ignite the flour in a ring of fire

0
nnandigala
nnandigala

12 years ago on Introduction

Can you please provide specifications of speaker and amplifier you used for Barking Tube Cannon

0
knex luver123
knex luver123

12 years ago on Introduction

im gona sue you kip, you did say that we needed an exacto nife in the video, and the you go and wip one out like you were born with it.

0
Kipkay
Kipkay

13 years ago on Introduction

It HAD to have been more than that. No one gets blocked just for asking a question. Possible mistake?

0
knektek
knektek

Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

one of the first times i seen you reply.

0
sharlston
sharlston

Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

(removed by author or community request)

0
qballcat
qballcat

Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

(removed by author or community request)

0
wither
wither

12 years ago on Introduction

 A smoke firework also works just fine also it adds a hint of colour.