Mini Potato Cannon




Introduction: Mini Potato Cannon

About: I am a 13-year old living in a land called Somewhere. I love working with wood and making intricate kinetic sculptures (preferably out of cardboard, my second favourite building material next to wood). I als...

A few notes before we start: There are MANY potato cannon recipes out there. I did not invent the mini potato cannon. I merely made my own out of inspiration. Second, this is more of a documentary than an instructable, as I made this before my instructables account. It gives you step by step instructions for what I did and pictures of the finished product but no pictures of the actual process. But you can still make your own very easily, and I will tell you what I did to make one.

**Disclaimer: This potato cannon shoots virtually anything small enough to fit in the barrel at a high velocity. This potato cannon also uses hairspray, which is extremely flammable. It is recommended that you wear safety goggle and keep flammable objects out of reach (yourself included). I am not responsible for any damage you cause to ANYTHING**

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Step 1: Get the Materials

The materials I used were very simple. It cost me a total of $0.00 to get them all.

You will need:

1. Tylenol container (or any non-perscription medicine bottle)

2. Pentube (or any sturdy, hollow cylinder)

3. Piezoelectric sparker (anything with a high enough voltage will work, but the PE sparker is the smallest and the cheapest)

The piezoelectric sparker is probably the hardest to find. I got mine from an old barbecue lighter.

Tools you will need:

1. Hot glue gun

2. Soldering Iron (optional)

3. Sharp tool or rotary cutter

Step 2: Put It All Together

Put it all together:

1. Poke a hole in the BOTTOM of the container.

2. Insert the pentube and apply hot glue liberally
3. Insert the electrode your choice in the top (tacks, nails, bolts, the sparker wires themselves)

4. Glue or bolt the handle of your choice. I used cardboard glued together then glued to the gun.

5. Connect the PE sparker to the electrodes. (picture)


1. Go outside or in a clear space.

2. Get some hairspray or any flammable vaporous product

3. Puch your projectile half way into down the barrel

4. Take the spray and open the barrel. Two sprays should be enough. Like, Kgghg Khghg.

5. For the first test, put your thumb securely on the back of the barrel. On my first test, the barrel cap flew off because it wasn't a very high quality seal (the Tylenol containers fault) you can see why the seal is bad in the picture.

6. Aim away from yourself and other people and press the sparker.

7. You should hear a hissing sound and steam and smoke will come out the barrel. Since the projectiles are so small, they are almost impossible to find. Have fun!

Step 4: Troubleshooting

If you build the gun EXACTLY to my specifications, you will probably have trouble.

1. Common problem for my gun: The cap flies off if you don't hold it down.

2. Common problem again: Since the sparker wires aren't glued down, they tend to move. Just push them back into place.

3. Sometimes the gun won't fire, this is probably because of the above problem or it is because the barrel is to wet, either from constant repeated firings, or to much hairspray. If this happens just open the cap and let the hairspray drip out slowly.

 I hope you people enjoyed my documentary.

If you have any questions you can PM me or post it in the comments.

P.S I hope to make a more sturdy one later. I'll post the link to the update in the intro. 

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    5 Discussions


    6 years ago

    so I made one with vitamin bottle it was great good dimensions but lid would not stay on (due to the fact it did not scew on silly me ) so I got another bottle same again except it was a screw top bottle I think the proble might be medicine that has those thingos that stop you from sealing it to tight and I cant stress how important it is to not hold it infront of yourself when firing it hurts..

    Yeah, whatever you do, don't use a bloody plastic container. For those of you who are too thick to realise what I am talking about, you are creating explosions in a container that CAN AND WILL melt and explode on you. As was said earlier, don't we all love 1st degree burns on our hands.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The explosion is not hot enough for long enough to burn you. I have had a full sized potato cannon go off in my face with nothing more than singed eyebrows. Good thing there was no projectile though. Also, there is not enough pressure created in the cannon to blast through the container. Your concerns, in my opinion and knowledge are not legitimate.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Geee... Real smart. "Hey dude, I have a great idea. Lets put some dangerous chemical propellant in a sealed tube made from flammable cardboard, then stuff a projectile in, and have explode in our hand!"
    "Wow great idea! I love first degree burns all over my hands too!"\