Vacuum Cannon (revisited)

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Make a super simple vacuum powered cannon that will shoot projectiles with a good amount of velocity. The nice thing about this project is that it is a very simple design and easy to build.

Step 1: Gather Materials

For this project you will need the following: PVC pipe (a 10' length of 3/4" was used here), a "T" connector (sized to match the PVC), duct tape, a vacuum, some newspaper, and any ball that will fit inside the PVC (in this case, paintballs).

Step 2: Assemble

Tape the vacuum hose to the middle opening of the "T" connector and push the connector onto one end of the PVC. There, that was pretty easy.

Step 3: Try It Out

Put the ball in the end of the PVC that doesn't have the connector on it. Cap the ends of the PVC with newspaper; you may need a buddy for this part. Turn on the vacuum and the newspaper should stick to the ends; a vacuum should be created inside the PVC. Now, aim at something not alive, or that could possibly get damaged, and pull the newspaper off of the end that you loaded. The ball will shoot out the other side with impressive speed.

Step 4: Another View


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    15 Discussions

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    thebluemartyr

    11 years ago on Introduction

    do u need to put the paper? cuz from what i understand, every shot requires the replacement of the paper, you should just put a hinged circle of plastic or something so you could fire rapidly

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    Thoththebluemartyr

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    The plastic flap idea could work well on the breech end (the side where you're loading the gun) of the barrel. Though probably would not work on the muzzle end on the barrel because either the projectile will not have enough force to pop open the flap against the force of the vacuum. Also the impact in opening the flap would greatly reduce the speed of the projectile.

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    Callum SnowdenThoth

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    you could make a mechanism so that you have a PVC flap on either end linked by a piece of cotton or thin steel wire so when you open the flap to fire it, the other flap automatically opens in time with it :)

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    guitarplayer128

    12 years ago

    its really cool but since i dont have paintballs what else do u suggest i use?

    4 replies
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    howternguitarplayer128

    Reply 12 years ago

    anything that fits in the pvc tube should work. we initially thought this would shoot "spit wads" or marshmallows that fit snuggly in the tube, but objects that could roll (read: travel smoothly) through the tube were much higher performance, and dangerous, ammunition.

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    supersaddy

    10 years ago on Introduction

    made one today! it's realy simple to make, i didnt have paintballs and i found blueberries fit well(i was using a 1/2 inch pvc). It launches them really hard!

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    Da_Fudge

    11 years ago on Introduction

    very nice. might try this on the weekend. look out brother and sister....... :)

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    WonderWheeler

    11 years ago on Introduction

    2 1/2" thinwall PVC pipe, if you can find it, is the right size for a tennis ball. I made a carbide cannon with it.

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    gnose

    11 years ago on Introduction

    why doesnt the ball get pulled along with the vacuum when you turn it on?

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    CameronSS

    11 years ago on Introduction

    That last video clip is sweet. It seems that if you used wider PVC that tennis balls would work.