Back in high school a friend of mine, Rob, and I acquired a spud gun, potato launcher, or whatever you want to call it. Originally it was a combustion reaction of starter fluid and a butane primer. This was effective but did not fire on a consistent basis. We had plans to add a oxygen injection system, but we naver got around to it. We eventually converted it to compressed air for safety and reliability. It has been used for Math Analyses and Physics classes in high school and 4th of July 1995 it fired our first set of aerial bomb shell fireworks into the sky. They came out well for our first batch, but that is another project page.

James Abbot, Rob Agnew and Philip Shuman December 1995

Pressure Chamber340 cubic inches4 feet long with valve
Barrells2" diameter6 feet
1 1/2"4 feet
3/4"2 feet

This particular cannon was constructed with 4" pipe for the pressure chamber and 2" barrell. We have a 1/4 turn valve that releases the air from the chamber into the barrel, pushing whatever is in the barrel out. The better the seal on the projectile, the farther it goes. Apples, oranges, and potatoes are our largest ammunition stock.

Backyard Ballistics, a large resourse with many related links
How to build an Air Cannon. This one uses a sprinkler valve.

Number of hits as of 4/7/96:
Drop me a note at
philip at shuman dot org

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