Paper Cup Air Cannon




A DIY version of AirZooka. A simple air cannon that will shoot puffs of air in the shape of torus (AKA: Rings). Add smoke and you get smoke rings.

Step 1: Materials

Materials List:
Paper Cup with lid
A latex glove or balloon

While I don't want to condone the consumption of awful food, McDonalds has cool lids for this. Try and get the lids that have the circle cut in the top (maybe McFlurries).
If you use a balloon, it is actually better to use an old one that you have carefully deflated. The streched latex works better than new.

Step 2: Punch Out the Bottom of the Cup.

Use scissors to punch a hole in the bottom of the cup. Simply rip out the bottom using your thumb to punch out the bottom. It really doesn't have to be pretty, just make a tube.

Step 3: Attach Skin

Cut balloon or glove to get a piece of latex large enough to cover the bottom of cup.
Use tape (or your favorite adhesive method) to tack down the latex to the cup. Then seal up the latex to make an air-tight membrane over the cup (basically - make a drum).

Step 4: Attach Lid and Annoy Others.

Attach lid and fire away.
If you cut the hole, try and keep the hole to about half the total diameter of the lid (to make better rings).

To fire:
Pinch and strech latex. A puff of air will travel a meter or more. This puff is not incredibly powerful, but can be felt. The TWUNK sound as the cannon is fired will annoy parents/spouses/co-workers within three minutes.

Add smoke and you can make smoke rings. I imagine some creative type could come up with way of shooting smells...

Happy Building
The Hatter



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    30 Discussions

    trebuchet03the eldonsmith

    Reply 11 years ago

    Define "effective" :P I've done this with air while scuba diving. If you start it really deep, the ring becomes really big by the time it reaches the surface as the compressed air expands :P Really, these interaction happen all the time - but we have no medium to view them :P


    Reply 11 years ago

    oh, you're making a giant one too. Are you going to use a tarp or material on the end or some sort of piston.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I made one out of a quacker oats cylinder, a rubberband, and a balloon. it can shoot like a max. of 15 ft. my friend bought an airzooka and was shooting people from a 2 story balcony and messing up there hair If you were to make one 3x the size of an airzooka it would go like 50 ft.

    1 reply

    11 years ago

    Ah man, I'm totally in the middle of a giant sized version :) I really need to publish stuffs :P

    7 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yep, this is exactly what we built. I do have to say that I'm impressed with the smoke they produced in the video. We had problems making smoke that was not to noxious (hum, I guess we shouldn't use this indoors...). Ended up making smudge sticks out of paper soaked in Potassium Nitrate and left to dry. When lit they smoldered for 45 seconds and produced smoke. Anyone have ideas on how to make smoke without a fog machine?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    well you mix salt peter (potassium nitrate) with sugar (works better if you melt the 2 together) and you put a fuse on it when your moldint it wrap it in like paper or foil and light it it makes alot of smoke for a decent amount of time go to youtube and search it


    Reply 11 years ago

    I'm shooting for a 3' diameter ring.... Pun totally intended :P Then, I'm going to chop the thing to see just how big a reservoir is needed to preserve the effect.