For my second Hackathon I wanted to build a potato cannon that can shoot Golf Balls and all kinds of other crap. However, I didn't want it to look like your everyday potato cannon that is white, long and plain. I wanted mine to look like a shoulder held bazooka that is camouflaged.
Materials Required: A bunch of PVC fittings, PVC glue, spray paint, stencils and Grill spark igniter. We used some cement that we had laying around to fill the handle but you could use anything you wanted to. Total cost at Home Depot was about $110.
Tools used: Hand saw, drill with about a 1/2 drill bit for the grill igniter.
Build time: Under 4 hours!
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Step 1: Gather All Materials and Some Friends to Shoot It With!
Things to get:
- 4 inch diameter PVC tube
- 4 inch diameter 90 degree T fitting
- 4 inch diameter 45 degree T fitting
- 2 inch diameter tubing for the handle
- 2 inch diameter tube for the barrel
- 2 inch 45 degree elbow tube
- 2 threaded ends with caps.
- Heavy duty PVC glue/cement
- Spray paint, your choice of color
- Stencil of your choice.
- Sand or cement to fill the handle.
- Some big screws or nails as a back stop inside the barrel
- Hair spray
- Golf Balls, potatoes or whatever else you want to try.
Step 2: Assemble the Piece and Glue Them Together!
The main body is built from 2, 4 inch T fittings fittings (45 degree and 90 degree) and a little bit of 4 inch tube to connect them together. The 4 inch tubing is cut up to connect all the T fittings and end caps. The handle is made from 2 inch diameter tubing and it fits into the 90 degree T fitting. The Barrel is a 2 inch diameter pipe attached to a 45 degree bend which goes into the 45 degree T fitting. I would go ahead and try to fit everything together while you are at home depot to make sure you are not missing anything.
We started by cutting apart the 4 inch tube and then mocked everything up before gluing it together. We also filled the handle with some cement to seal it off from the main body where the explosion is happening.
Step 3: Paint!
After you have given the glue a chance to dry, go ahead and spray paint it. We used a dark green as the base coat and a desert tan as the coat used with the stencil. The spray paint will take about 20-30 minutes to dry. Use long even sweeps with the spray can to avoid drips!
Step 4: Add the Ignition Source!
We initially tried to use a lighter and that was a bad idea because we lost a ton of compression out of the bottom and fire would shoot out and burn our hands. Then we bought a Grill igniter and made the hole slightly bigger to fit it. The button looks pretty cool and it fires almost every time now.
Step 5: Shoot Anything and Everything That Will Fit in the Barrel!
So far we have only shot golf balls out of it and they've made it about 75-100 yards. I'd love to hear what you guys have shot and how far. I am considering converting this to a pressurized air system so that you just fill it with compressed air and pull a trigger linked to an electronic valve. I'd also love to hear some thoughts on that if anyone has experience with that.