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Hey everyone, I am new and just starting on my P.cannon

Post questions and info about combustion (flammable vapor) powered cannons here. This includes discussion about fuels, ratios, ignition systems, safety, and anything else relevant.
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Hey everyone, I am new and just starting on my P.cannon

Unread postAuthor: Scourch » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:28 pm

Hey everyone, greetings and all that fun stuff.

My name is Sean, and you can call me Sean, Scourch, or Newbie, whichever ya like!

That being said, I decided to make my own potato cannon. I was bored, I like things that go boom, and it's been forever since I took on a 'hands on' project. A couple days ago I bought all I needed, which was ABS piping rather than PVC. I used a 3" pipe for the barrel at about 4' long, and for the combustion chamber I used 4" piping at about 3' long. Now, as fun as that was, it was a pretty ghetto mock up. The ignition system was a piezoelectric grill igniter I bought from The Home Depot. The one I had bought came encased with a rectangular piece of steel. I am by no means an electrician, and in fact know just the basics, if that. So I couldn't figure a way on how I could keep the hardware outside of the chamber, so, I just glued it to the inside haha. Needless to say, as I fully expected, after about four or five shots, the thing was gone. So having had the experience of cementing, and boring holes, and all that I wanted to take it a step up.

So today, I went back to the Depot and bought a few extra parts. Using the left over ABS I have, as before, a 3" 4' long barrel, but my chamber I am going to have measure a total of 2 to maybe 2 1/2 inches. However I am using a different piece between my cap and adapter and the actual 4' pipe, and it is this....


So on one end is an adapter with a cap, the other will be the barrel. Obviously with the adapter and that above piece attached the actual 4' ABS pipe won't be very long. Now what I did is I bored a hole in the longer part of the extension of that above pictured piece, so that the piezoelectric grill igniter will fit in nicely, which it does, but I will probably have to use some ABS cement or glue to filled in the gap. So my plan was to run my wires from my igniter out through a small hole on the sides so that little wire is exposed, then attach each end to two screws bored atop the 4' pipe, where hopefully I will have a spark.

Now fitting issues with the wire and the igniter aside... I KNOW that the spark will probably be rather weak. Is there anything I can do to enhance the current at all? Or any other suggestions for an electrical ignition that isn't very hard to install? Tazers, sadly, are out of the question as I am from MA and they are illegal to own here, so far as I know.

I hope I was detailed enough in my explanation that you all understand how my setup is. Any feedback would be great. I've seen a good portion of the potato cannons here and they are just ridiculous haha. I don't need anything quite that intense, my basic one is powerful enough for me as is haha. I just would like a better ignition system. I was also suggested a model rocket ignition, would anyone know the difference in power output between the piezoelectric igniter and the model rocket one?
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Unread postAuthor: chenslee » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:23 am

Model rocket starters rely on a thin wire getting hot and setting off a match head like chemical that ignites the motor. You would have to replace the element for each shot, or at a minimum wait until the element got hot enough for ignition. Tazers and grill starters are the way to go.

I started out with this inexpensive unit from Wal Mart:


It's 12kV output and runs off a 1.5v AA battery. It's a pain to attach a switch to and required some thought and a little dremmel-fab to get it remote activate.

Ultimatespudgun.com has a 30kV ignitor that is far superior. It has tabs for attaching a switch, almost 3x the spark power, is smaller, and has mounting holes. It is not that much more expensive and it ships faster too.
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