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Combustion won't happen

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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Combustion won't happen

Unread postAuthor: Aturt » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:40 pm

I recently made my first combustion spudgun. It's quite simple: It's fueled by a propane torch head (not direct injection) and the igniter is a simple igniter that creates a small flame. It worked fine.
Image
However, I decided to inject propane directly to the chamber, and so I made this:
Image
And so the whole gun looks like this (I changed the igniter to an electric one since the other broke):
Image
Image

But when I try to shoot the cannon by using direct injection (without even measuring the pressure) there's no combustion. When I open the cap at the end of the chamber sometimes some gas comes out and I'm able to create a small flame and sometimes there's not even gas there, and there's never any combustion noise. I've tried with the same amount of gas, less gas and more gas than with the torch head and got the same results. And yet when I use the propane torch head it works perfectly.
I think it has something to do with the temperature of the propane. When it comes out of the propane torch it's at a normal temperature, but with direct injection it comes out extremely cold (if you keep it inside the metering device for some time the tube looks like it's frozen).

Any ideas of what could be going wrong? Thanks in advance.
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Unread postAuthor: jsefcik » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:00 pm

you fuel might not be mixing with air well enough to ignite,

id add a chamber fan to help with mixing
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:35 pm

Also ensure the chamber is fully vented between shots.

Use GGDT to get the mix right. If you can't add a chamber fan, add a bouncy ball and shake it like a spray paint can to fully mix the contents.

With fresh air, proper fuel amount, and properly mixed, it should go boom when ignited.
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Unread postAuthor: MrCrowley » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:45 pm

I'd be worried about safety if I were you. What's under that duct tape, not hiding anything are you?

With those two large holes (fuel and igniter) drilled so closely together and through a single layer of ABS, the cannon is at risk of failing structurally. Since it is ABS, it should only tear and not shrapnel but it will render your chamber useless.

It's not hard to build an advanced combustion properly. If ABS is readily available, use that. Get some PVC, copper or galv. iron fittings are construct a proper fuel meter; not one held together by JB-Weld. Measure the volume of the chamber and meter using water and calculate how much pressure of propane you need in the meter so you can inject it in the cannon and achieve combustion upon ignition.

Apart from that, your issues are almost certainly linked to what Tech described in his post. Place a projectile in the barrel and start off by injecting a small amount of propane, try the ignition a few times and if it doesn't combust remove the projectile and vent the chamber with air. Repeat these steps but each time you should increase the amount of fuel injected by a small amount.
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Unread postAuthor: jsefcik » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:46 pm

Technician1002 wrote:Also ensure the chamber is fully vented between shots.

Use GGDT to get the mix right. If you can't add a chamber fan, add a bouncy ball and shake it like a spray paint can to fully mix the contents.

With fresh air, proper fuel amount, and properly mixed, it should go boom when ignited.


i never heard of the bouncy ball idea
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Unread postAuthor: DYI » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:47 pm

Measure the volume of the chamber and the volume of the meter, and use that to calculate the correct pressure to fill the fuel meter to. Combine this with the bouncy ball idea (or, better yet, a tiny fan) and you should have no trouble with ignition.
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Unread postAuthor: Aturt » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:19 am

Thanks for the replies. I'll try to place a chamber fan (or the bouncy ball) and post the results. As for the structure of the cannon, I know how it looks but it actually works fine and I'm already planning on doing a proper PVC one (but I need this one to work with the meter first). I was also venting between shots, but I didn't remove the projectile so I guess it wasn't properly vented.
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Unread postAuthor: jsefcik » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:52 am

Aturt wrote:Thanks for the replies. I'll try to place a chamber fan (or the bouncy ball) and post the results. As for the structure of the cannon, I know how it looks but it actually works fine and I'm already planning on doing a proper PVC one (but I need this one to work with the meter first). I was also venting between shots, but I didn't remove the projectile so I guess it wasn't properly vented.




adding a chamber fan is really easy, just look around it helps for fueling and venting and increases performance
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Unread postAuthor: natas » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:28 am

The reason your gas temperature is so cold, is probably due to the propane coming out of your can in liquid form. try to hold the cannister vertical when u measure the gas.
The other thing that strikes me, is that the measuring pipe u have there looks a bit large, what preassure do you use when filling the pipe ?
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Unread postAuthor: mattyzip77 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:49 pm

You never answered Mr. C's question. Whats the duct tape for????????
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Unread postAuthor: Aturt » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:26 pm

I found a CPU fan which I could use for the cannon, but it doesn't fit in the chamber. Since the chamber is so narrow I'll just build a new cannon and test the metering system there. I'll post the results when I get this done.
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Unread postAuthor: jsefcik » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:28 pm

Aturt wrote:I found a CPU fan which I could use for the cannon, but it doesn't fit in the chamber. Since the chamber is so narrow I'll just build a new cannon and test the metering system there. I'll post the results when I get this done.


i had the same problem with the fan i got for my one cannon, if its square i used a dremel to make the fan round and then put electrical on it to make it snug, and works fine
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Unread postAuthor: Aturt » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:56 am

If you mean cutting the corners of the fan that make it square shaped, I could try but it wouldn't fit anyway. My chamber is really small so I'll just make a new cannon like I said.
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Unread postAuthor: Aturt » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:59 pm

Finally I've solved the problem. I made a new launcher and realised I had been using too much propane for combustion to happen. It seems that with the propane meter more gas comes out than with the torch head. So I just used less propane (without fan in the end) and the launcher worked. Thanks for the replies.
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Unread postAuthor: sgort87 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:22 pm

I saw you mentioned you had a flame when you ignited with the chamber open. That's what you'll see when you add too much fuel. It's almost like a blue liquid flame the way it seems to slowly splash around and pour out. Too much fuel will cause a visible fire, rather than a pop.
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