Author Options:

Possible improved t-shirt cannon design. Will it work? Answered

I had an idea for a t-shirt cannon design using combustion instead of compressed air but desided against it when i found that it would most likely burn the shirt. I have since then changed the designs to one where I think I solved the problem but I would like some feedback before I start buying materials.

The basic change in design is that is uses this piece:
[Starting at the top valve and going clockwise, name the openings 1, 2, and 3.]
The blast would be through 2. The shirt would come out 1. That way (hopefully), the majority of the heat would go through a shortish piece connected to 3 while the compressed air goes everywhere including out 1 launching the shirt.

Another heat helping idea was using a sort of heat sink by putting a piece of free floating (unattached to walls of pipe) metal pipe inside the PVC to absorb some of the heat. Don't know how effective that would be, though.

Finally there's always using a fire retardant material as a buffer between the shirt and the gas attached to a tether so it won't fly away. Speaking of which, is the reason the shirt gets burned because of actual fire or just getting so hot it spontaneously combusts?

Also some general improvements assuming the previous ones work:
1) To avoid the problems of using a Taser (like cost and safety), I was going to use kipkay's idea from another video of using the igniter from a BBQ lighter
2) To limit power (assuming a short burst of fuel was still too much), I was going to put a ball valve on 3 that I could open a bit to let some air pass out that way
3) For all spud guns in general, Instead of having a screw on piece to let fuel in which takes more time to use, I thought of using another ball valve to just open and spray the fuel in.

Please give me any feedback, comments, or questions you have, including those of the "You're incredibly stupid. This will not work at all/kill everyone" variety. Be nice. I realize I asked a lot of questions. I'm excited.


The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.

Best Answer 9 years ago

To address a couple of you questions and issues:
1. You will want to fire it such that the seal on 3 doesn't blast off into your person. I know this isn't very likely, but still.
2. I don't know how well ball valves will work with this design. I know they can work with compressed air, but that's a slow, cool process as compared to a rapid, hot process with combustion.
3. All you need to do is load the t-shirt with some toilet paper to protect it from the hot gasses. You do the same thing with model rockets to protect the parachutes from the ejection charge.
4. A heat sink won't really work. (Think of how long it takes you car to warm up, and that's continual explosions.)
5. The long neck lighters have the same type of ignitor as grills. You can always break down one that ran out of fuel instead of getting one off of a grill.

Hope that helped