Easy Pneumatic Potato Cannon. Fun and Powerful!




A tutorial on how to make a cheap, pneumatic potato cannon powered by a bike pump from easy to get materials. It's really simple to make, but don't underestimate its power. They can shoot straight through a pretty thick sheet of plywood and break windows. Be smart and be careful when you are using one. Do NOT hold me responsible if you get hurt!!!
The pictures might be a little blurry, it's because I took them out of the video I made on how to make it.

Check you the video tutorial!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Getting Started


-Two pieces of 2" PVC Pipe (any size)
-One 2" Non-threaded PVC End Cap
-One 2" PVC Valve (not threaded)
-One Schrader valve (from an old bike tire)


-A saw (to cut the PVC pipe to your desired length)
-A drill with a drill bit that is about the same size as the schrader valve
-PVC Primer and Cement

Step 2: Mark and Drill Hole for Schrader Valve

Put the end cap on one of the pieces of PVC, pencil and mark about an inch down from where the cap ends. Then, drill a hole where the mark is. The hole should be the same size as the schrader valve.

Step 3: Installing the Schrader Valve

Apply the PVC primer and cement to the hole, then, from the inside of the PVC pipe, push the schrader valve through the hole and hold for about 45 seconds.

Step 4: Attach the Rest

Apply primer and cement to the end of the PVC and connect the end cap. Then, connect the PVC valve to the opposite side of where you just attached the end cap. You're almost done!

Step 5: Connect the Barrel

Apply PVC Primer and cement to the other piece of PVC pipe and the PVC valve, connect the two and you are done! Now wait 24 hours for it all to dry.

Step 6: To Use

Load the barrel with anything, connect the bike pump to the schrader valve, pump it up (be careful, don't go pumping it up past 75 PSI, around 35 PSI is fine), aim, and with speed and force, open the valve. That's it, I recommend watching the video I made because it's easier to understand. Have fun!



    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest

    193 Discussions


    3 years ago

    As far as this failing, exploding and injuring and killing you....
    1) Id imagine if you are using various chemicals, explosives are int he least stuff that heats up, it will affect and compromise it.
    2) id also say, I personally would let all air out when not in use so it doesnt expand and contract, and keep moisture out of it for the same reason.
    3) maybe spray it with some UV resistant spray if you are going to use it outdoors? I saw a discussion about pvc bows (like a bow and arrow)
    4) maybe consider wrapping it, like shrink wrapping it
    5) maybe make a guard, like something around it, with a little space even lined with something like old mouse pad material.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 months ago

    it's meant to be used with compressed air. you pump air in it with a bicycle pump. no chemicals involved. just make sure not to exceed the pressure rating of the pipes and there's no danger. i have made a hairspray powered version and it's pretty safe too


    Reply 3 years ago

    Oh yea
    6) Maybe get like a pressure release valve thingie. at X amount PSI ....

    G Shady

    2 years ago

    I cant find thy video


    Reply 3 years ago

    Holy crap! That's horrific. I hope those dudes are OK now.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    If I was you I would spend the extra five dollars to get the rated pvc. Mine can get up to 150 psi safely. It did explode in my face once, but that was because i was stupid and I pumped it up a few minutes after I applied the glue. At around sixty psi, I was still pumping and the barrel shot across my floor like a missile. scary as hell I thought I had hearing damage.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Use a fail safe put in in rated pvc in a place you don't mind failing where it will explode away from your body and keep people clear of it maybe a regular end cap on a t joint or something that will be easy to replace so you can keep your cannon intact and just replace the part or maybe a pop off valve


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Same here, except mine had a 4 foot 3 inch chamber and had 120 psi in it. Dented metal lockers on one end of the room, busted a hole in insulation on the other end. I couldn't hear for about 1 minute, and couldn't hear normally for like 15, kids be careful, these are not toys!


    well, just testing the conductivity of materials... really i just wanted a stungun :P *for science purposes, of course*