Pocket Sized Vortex Cannon




An air vortex cannon is a device that releases doughnut-shaped air vortexes — similar to smoke rings but larger, stronger and invisible. The vortexes are able to ruffle hair, disturb papers or blow out candles after travelling several meters.

It has the surprising effect of please colleagues a lot when used as an office warfare weapon for surprise attacks. Probably because everyone likes surprises!

So, for example, when you see a colleague very concentrated on his job you could sneak behind him at a safety distance (let's say a couple of meters) and shot a pleasant and refreshing vortex ring to gently ruffle his hair or put some order in his papers. He will enjoy it so much that he will run after you to thank you personally! The safety distance I talked about will help you if you are a shy person and don't like to be thanked.

Anyway... what do you need to build it?

Step 1: Material Needed

This is an easy project and the material list is pretty short:

  • collapsible cup with rigid rim (got mine on Amazon) - 6.49 GBP
  • heavy duty balloon (courtesy of Wilko) - 1 GBP
  • bouncing ball (courtesy of Wilko) - 1 GBP
  • zip ties
  • scissors
  • cutter
  • string

So assuming that you are so well organized to have string, zip ties, scissors and cutter already at home, the total amount you will spend on this project is 8.49 GBP and about 30 minutes.

Step 2: What's Next?

You should use the cup to drink something at this point if you wish, because in a minute it will be useless as a cup.


Good, now:

  • with the cutter remove the bottom of the cup
  • cut the balloon a couple of centimeter away from the eyelet
  • insert the bouncing ball in the balloon inflating duct and secure it with the string (in this way you will avoid to have a slingshot instead of a vortex cannon)
  • take out of your mind the idea of pleasing your colleagues with a slingshot
  • fit the larger side of the balloon on the rim side of the cup, and secure it with zip ties

that's it! ready to fire!

Now you have a collapsible, pocket size, vortex cannon! Have fun with your colleagues, they will love you and you will be soon very popular.

[sarcastic mode off]

If you would like to thank me do it from a safety distance voting for me in the "Pocket sized" contest! Thanks! :)

Pocket-Sized Contest

Participated in the
Pocket-Sized Contest



    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Paint Challenge

      Paint Challenge
    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest

    11 Discussions


    1 year ago

    The Whammo Air Blaster was the ultimate ring vortex toy. I like this one but no big balloons available in Nome AK... I'll order what I need from Amazon and give it a try. Looks like fun. How about smoke rings?

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks! :) Smoke rings? Intersting! How would you implement it?


    1 year ago

    Nice vortex cannon :)
    One question though,
    Does it have to be a collapsible cup?
    Can I use a marble instead of the bouncy ball ?

    Well, that was two questions :)

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks! :) Well... the cup doesn't need to be collapsible, I used it in order to get a pocket sized device. You can use a marble, but I wouldn't feel confident in using anything hard (if the balloon rips the marble could be ejected).


    1 year ago

    Fantastic! I've made some vortex cannons out of 5 gallon buckets, but I need to make one of these now. Brilliant use of materials, thanks for the great idea!

    2 replies