About: hi i enjoy making ludicrisly over the top and complex devices.... Being an ameture engineer, I refuse pick the easy option, but rather the one that seems best, which inevitably devolves into a weekend of ha...

ok, the fact of the matter is that led throwies SUCK! the one big reason is that you are limited by the fact that you can only throw so many so far!, so me being a logical sane person i thought" Hey I should use a cannnon!!" so i headed down to my labrotory and this is the result: oh, did i forget to mention its great at shooting other things too. E.G. potatoes, shaped rounds, MUD, watemelon, golf balls(really good at that one), paper shells packed with flower, anything you can fit down the barrel.

Hey thanks goes out to my brother, instructables member Capt.Kirk for helping me make throwies for the project

Step 1: Create the Cannon

ok so im fairly certain that this has to be legally classified as a firearm, my evidence for this is one day i packed the barrel full of bb's and shot it at my fence where now all those bb's currently reside imbedded in the fence!

so to construct the cannon just follow the schematic ive drawn, it'll provide enough info to get almost all of it built, but the main valve is were a schematic just will not do. by the way its a really good idea to use two part gorrilla glue epoxy for the pipes rather than just abs cement, shure it may cost more but i wouldent skimp on it, it could cost you a limb or your life! if any of those parts where to come loose. the reason for this is that i designed this to operate around 250 psi ! so its the only way to ensure a adequate seal between each pipe and fitting

Step 2: Dealing With the Valve.

so alot of problems with phneumatic valves is that they are soo slow! even those fancy valves that people make from sprinkler valves, also not to mention that the volume of that which air can travel through those valves is relitivly low compared to the system that i engineered, also sometimes the position of the valve makes it ackward to operate the cannon, so i have came up with the end-all be-all solution to this problem! the system i engineered can do the following: close the valve automatically, the firing trigger can be placed anywhere and is easy to use , the speed and duration of the valve being opened can be adjusted in the field without tools , can be easily modified to fire remotely either via a small solonoid valve or by two long air compressor hoses, and most importantly IT WORKS EVERY TIME! ive yet to have had a single failure in the system since it was constructed

but the concept is that you use a phnuematic cylinder to pull a chain that goes around a sprocket bolted to the valve to rapidly open the valve.

Step 3: Getting Compressed Air Anywere!

another problem is that phnuematic cannons have to have a source of compressed air to function, so on my cannon their are three ways to get compressed air:
1, use the built on compressor with a external battery, usally a car battery
2, use a bicycle pump.
3, use the quick connect adapter with a one way valve to draw air from a compressor

personally number three is always my first choice, because my shops compressor tops out around a nice deadly 195 psi, im fairly certain that this could set a record in spud chuckin.

Step 4: Making Cannon Safe LED Throwies

a problem with this kind of use with throwies is the fact that if they are taped together they will just be destroyed by the velocity they exit the barrel! so instead of tape, we must solder each led onto their battery

Step 5: Loading the Cannon!

so just to ensure that all the throwies are expelled from the cannon you must make a wadding, just take some paper and fold it lengthwise until you get a strip thats around  two inches wide. then roll the strip and shove it down into the bottom of the barrel. then pour all your throwies down the barrel, and if you'd like put another wadding down the barrel to keep all the throwies in place.

Step 6: The Fun Part!

ok, so i was really dissapointed when i saw the video i recorded with my camera, turns out the auto exposure really jacked up the brightness so it looks like friggen mid day:( but still it shows an excellent demonstration of the cannon in action! , oh by the way USE HEARING PROTECTION! i found out the hard way how loud this is, the dinky micrphone in my camera just does not do it justice.



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    41 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    You could add a switch to a LED throwie and use an AA battery instead. You may need a little wire too.

    1 reply

    5 years ago

    This is awesome! I've been trying for days to figure out how I was going to make an efficient and large valve for my own cannon, problem solved! Thanks! By the way do you have any videos firing it?

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Have you tried using plastic bags as mini-parachutes for the throwies? They'd make a good barrel packing, and would let the LEDs rain down slowly. Then again, you'd have to figure out a way to make sure they didn't deploy immediately upon exiting the barrel and shredding themselves to bits...


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Three questions: what PSI are you Using? Why did you choose the sprocket-actuated valve instead of a normal modded sprinkler valve? Does the air compressor charge the cannon too? One thing though: you mention using Gorilla glue in place of PVC solvent cement. That is a major error. PVC cement is designed for PVC, and that alone. Gorrilla Epoxy, while it is badass and strong, may not be exactly formulated to create a perfect bond with PVC. This is a good system.

    Ghost Wolf

    7 years ago on Step 6

    That thing is huge bring that in central park and they'll arrest you when you step one foot in!

    Ghost Wolf

    7 years ago on Introduction

    lol love that look you have in that first photo cracks me up! loma!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    perhaps you could create an instructable on how to create your spud cannon of death with step by step directions, because as of right now i can not make out how it is assembled.

    1 reply

    i havent really bothered with step by step instructons because so many of the components have to be machined and also just sourcing the parts/materials in of its own is a hugely expensive undertaking, so this is a rather impractical project for the avarege joe

    actually the goal was to shower the sky with thousands of colors and then to have those leds land all over a field for a very cool photograph.

    and no, i cant do that again because of the time required to make a zillion throwies is rediculas not to mention the lack of $$ for a thousand leds

    You know, when batteries overheat they tend to explode, or shoot caustic fumes out of the emergency valves, depending on the type.

    honestly ive never had a single one blow up on me because of the following
    1, low temp soldering iron
    2, soldering takes only 3 seconds!
    3. i do one side at a time leaving a long cool down period in between
    4, all batteries that are used in rechargable aplications ARE SOLDERED in some cases even SPOT WELDED onto each terminal.

    Soldering is okay if your quick like a bunny... A lot of batteries are difficult to solder because they have stainless tips. It takes too long to solder it, if you can at all. check it with a magnet first. Commercial batteries are always spot welded. Even if you go to a battery store and have them make custom batteries.