Awesome Cheap Pneumatic Cannon!




About: I like electricity I like electronics I like.... SO MANY THINGS music, subwoofers, computers, woodwork and metalwork, Just look at my interests! I love music of most sorts and I am learning to be a sound guy...

In this instructable, I will be showing you how to make a cheap and powerful air cannon. It's one of the most simple pneumatic "air cannons" It's power, cheap, simple to build and will launch a potato or other projectile a very long distance. This is my first cannon build but I do have experience with PVC and launchers (See my water bottle rocket launcher here)

Let's get started!

And be sure to check out lewster's page. He made the first cannon and inspired me to build this one, because I couldn't use his with my air compressor. Thanks L

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Step 1: Parts

Here are the parts you will need:
Some sort of valve (I used a 25mm [1"] ball valve)
2x 50cm lengths of Pressure rated PVC pipe (same as your valve size. In my case, 25mm)
End cap to suit your PVC pipe (again, 25mm)
Barb to 1/4" air fitting (I placed it in my end cap with epoxy)
Schrader valve
2x hose clamps
30cm (1 foot) of air compressor tube

Tools your will need:
PVC cement
Something to get rid of burs

That is all you will need!

Step 2: Put Everything Together!

Now you need to put everything together. Before you put everything together with glue, just make sure everything fits together before you glue it. Put it together like picture one. Simple!

Now glue everything with PVC cement and primer. Follow the instructions on the label and glue everything together.
Give 24 hours for the glue to fully cure before applying pressure

Step 3: The Filling System

Follow the pictures and assemble the system. Make sure the hose clamps are good and tight.

Step 4: Done!

You might want to spray paint the cannon or something but now you have a simple, working cannon!

Step 5: Safety

This is a potentially lethal project if misused. Never shoot or point this cannon at any living thing or things that are not targets. Handle the primed cannon with extreme care. Test the cannon remotely if possible on first test. Keep doing that for about five shots. Do not fire explosive. This cannon can potentially hurt you or surrounding people. Do exercise extreme caution at all times. 
That is all I have to say

Step 6: Launch Procedure

Simple. Attach air compressor or bike pump to the schrader valve and fill to 60psi. Put desired ammo down the barrel and open the valve to fire.

Step 7:

My first major improvement was having inter-changeable barrels. To do this, get a male and female pair of 1" threaded to glue-on couplings. Cut the barrel about 1" from the valve and glue in the PVC couplings. To add another barrel, get a male coupling and glue it, with the suitable step down, or step up, coupling to suit the barrel size. I have a 15mm, 1m barrel and it's very accurate. I soldered up a cross-sight for aiming and it's fun to use. I also ordered a laser and it's going to attach to the barrel so I don't have to look through the sight. The next upgrade would be to upgrade the air chamber to a bigger diameter pipe.

Step 8: All Done!

Have fun with your new cannon!

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    13 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Anyone know of a safe way to shoot candy out into a crowd from a moving float? Wouldn't need to go to far r fast. Planning our Christmas parade float with kids in costume and thought it would be cool if a teen dressed like a green plastic army could shoot candy out of a cannon/bazooka. Not sure how t-shirt cannon works but wondering if it could be modified. Any suggestions welcome.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Its funny that yours has an umpteen more views than mine...... Instructables Link to my page, y u no working? (note "And be sure to check out lewster's page. He made the first cannon and inspired me to build this one, because I couldn't use his with my air compressor. Thanks L")


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Why not just put the Shroeder valve in the end cap? Why bother with the tubing? It's very easy to mount the valve in PVC.

    2 replies
    Great Wight NinjaSyn7

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    At least from my standpoint, having the Shroeder valve on a flexible tube would allow you to attach it to a bike pump and mount the pump to the side of the gun. This is relatively common among some of the homemade nerf guns that use compressed air. An alternative might be to set the valve in the side of the pressure chamber for mounting a bike pump with a side nozzle.

    Syn7Great Wight Ninja

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Oh I see. Is that so you can remove the pump for other projects? I mean, if you are gonna attach the pump permenantly, there are other options than a schroeder valve. Any valve that prevents backflow would work.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Don't understand why people use PVC for airguns. Metal will withstand much higher pressures if you're willing to push 200+ PSI. 550 PSI would be so kick ass (i have seen a video on what it can do) almost like a real firearm when you start getting up the the "real" pressures.

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Because PVC is way cheaper and PVC shrapnel isn't as lethal when you screw up.

    If you want a real gun just go buy a real gun.

    For those of you who are a lil more experienced, a real pressure tank works best. Fire extinguisher or blow torch canister. You just remove the top and go from there. They also have the added bonus of having the pressure release valves already buit in. Minimal risk. It would be stupid to use metal piping as a canister. It's really easy to find a spent or un needed canister. Blow torches are like 6 bucks, the work great.