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Fuel for a Combustion 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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Unread postAuthor: Ranger » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:46 pm

Aqua net is the standard hairspray for combustion cannons, I dont know of any better hairspray.
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Unread postAuthor: Jperezo311 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:40 pm

Technician1002 wrote:
metalmeltr wrote: I have a friend that shoots full cans of the stuff with a piece of burning paper next to the can. The fireball produce is quite spectacular.


Please don't post any flaming projectiles. It is one of the fastest ways to get banned and a thread locked. Please read the rules.

RC car fuel should work very well. It is mostly Alcohol, a little bit of Nitomethane (5-15%) and either Castor oil or a synthetic oil. Do expect an oil film build up over time due to the lube in the fuel.


yea the oil is not a problem. I don't mine the cleaning. It's just I hope it's not too powerful to burst through the pvc.
Also my other question is using carb cleaner. I know it works but how powerfully will that be and will it evaporate out of my chamber
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Unread postAuthor: milkman0 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:29 pm

Hairspray is great but results in too much gunk. I have had success with insect repellant. I did a fuel test on several different fuels to see how each would perform in my gun. This is the result of that testing:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30qqXXsW8Hs[/youtube]
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:17 am

Nicely done, the measurement of distance is not *that* scientific in that there's the variable of projectile consistency and launch angle, but what the heck, looks like you had a fun day :) and 10 points for getting the womenfolk interested too ;)
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Unread postAuthor: milkman0 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:44 am

Yes, it is almost impossible to control all the variables as you mentioned. That and I only took 3 shots each, which isn't a big pool of data. It was my fault for not bringing more potatos. Plus it takes a long time to measure each set of shots.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:58 am

Spray and pray is not the way to go for performance though, have you tried metering with a syringe?
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Unread postAuthor: Mr.Tallahassee » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:01 pm

I used spray paint in my old golf ball launcher. It was 4 feet of 3 inch pvc with a 2'' barrel. Back on topic, I never had a misfire with it. only downside is it covers the ignition terminals but mine were in the 1.5 inch cap. Best "spray and pray" fuel i used. I put golf balls half a mile down range, and yes, I used one of those walking meter things that measure feet. Aqua Net only launched them up to 400 feet. I could NOT get starter fluid to work at ALL. Even in my 5.5 LITRE launcher. 8)
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Unread postAuthor: Bias_P11 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:58 pm

I recommend using methylated ethanol, as high percent alcohol as possible. Pure methanol is the most reliable due to low evaporation temperature and high vapor pressure but methylated ethanol works too.

If you live somewhere warm or if you plan on having an igniter that actually uses a flame to ignite, I would use isopropanol for more energy.

If you have a gun that can handle it and you want a can that sprays for you, starter fluid. (some have carbon dioxide as a propellant, stay away from those)
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Unread postAuthor: jsefcik » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:12 pm

Starting fluid or carb cleaner is the way to go I think!


Might need venting though, that's why I have a chamber fan
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Unread postAuthor: mattyzip77 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:20 am

I have tried brake cleaner before and it works pretty good. My favorite though is good ol aqua net hair spray!!

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Unread postAuthor: jsefcik » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:46 pm

mattyzip77 wrote:I have tried brake cleaner before and it works pretty good. My favorite though is good ol aqua net hair spray!!

aqua net, gunks up the chamber and is very sticky!!!, carb cleaner, burns really well and clean
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Unread postAuthor: JABN » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:04 pm

You can also get adapt a syringe to a butane, propane or MAPP tank. I use a syringe for metering the fuel and it works great.
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Unread postAuthor: pneumaticcannons » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:07 pm

My favorite is Axe... Though i've never tried hairspray. I once tried bug killer lol. That was dirty and messed up my paint job but the spuds did fly a LOT further. Axe is actually really clean.
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Unread postAuthor: SpudBlaster15 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:41 am

pneumaticcannons wrote:Axe is actually really clean.


Somehow I doubt that. I used Axe for a brief period in my first spudgun as a last resort fuel (Ran out of butane refill cans and couldn't get to a store), and it left plenty of residue inside the chamber. It also contains a significant amount of 1,1-Difluoroethylene, which decomposes upon heating to produce hydrogen fluoride. HF is not exactly a substance you want to be breathing in while venting the cannon.
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Unread postAuthor: pneumaticcannons » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:46 am

i didn't know about the hydrogen fluoride... thanks for the heads up, I might stop using Axe now that you've scared me :D
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