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Big Bertha Air Cannon

Built a pneumatic cannon? Then post it here! This section is for completed, finished cannons that you have built. Please include pictures and information.
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Big Bertha Air Cannon

Unread postAuthor: ericthepoolboy » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:23 pm

So I found this website while I researching for an engineering project and I though I would share my final project with you guys. The project was to launch a water balloon with about half a liter of water about 100 feet on to a target with out popping it. Kinda lame huh? So I wanted to build something that was capable of the specification but also able to go above and beyond.

The final design called for a 60 gallon air tank, 4" PVC barrel that is about 8' long, six 1" electric sprinkler valves, and misc. piping.
The tank has a max pressure of 200 psi, and the valves have a max pressure of 150,
The six different valves can be such off individually if you want to reduce the total air flow entering the barrel. They can also be delayed for a mili-second or so, so that the valves open sequentially and slowly accelerate the balloon through longer barrel.

Also the whole tank can be lifted in the front to change the launch angle of the cannon. This is accomplished by the car jack that is welded to hinges and then mounted to the frame and tank. It can go to about 50 degrees.

When finished we were able to send a water balloon about 900 feet without popping it. This was at 30 psi and all six valve opening. We could have gotten it farther if we had attached a longer barrel but we didn't have anywhere that was open enough for a longer shot.

The barrel is also the perfect size to fit a softball in. the soft ball went about 1400 to 1500 feet with 40 psi in the tank.


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Unread postAuthor: ghostman01 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:29 pm

wow thats one hell of a air CANNON all the rest are puny compered to this thing
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Unread postAuthor: Pyro Ninja » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:31 pm

OK, that is "BIG"
Good job with it, The paint looks nice
A bigger barrel may give you better performance
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Unread postAuthor: bigbob12345 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:33 pm

Wow that is huge modify the sprinkler valves and you will see a huge increase in performance.
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Unread postAuthor: DYI » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:39 pm

Let me be the first to say that this thing is absolutely ridiculous. In a very, very good way :D

This cannon has the largest chamber of any on the entire site, and could become one of the most powerful if you attached a bigger barrel to it, and got a larger porting valve.

With 13 840ci of chamber volume, if you attached a 6" porting piston valve and a 6" x 50' barrel, you'd be looking at small punkin chunker type power (over 60k ft/lbs). As is, you're just wasting insane amounts of air. My cannon with less than one gallon of chamber volume is getting twice the power per projectile mass and size, even with very generous valve estimates on your gun.
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Unread postAuthor: th3p0p0 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:47 pm

:shock: wow thats all i can say.
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Unread postAuthor: Sticky_Tape » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Too much overkill please don't quote my cannon. it looks cool but why so many solenoid valves? You definently need a longer barrel.
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Unread postAuthor: brogdenlaxmiddie » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:30 pm

I must say, that this is an absolute monster! My favorite part is the control panel, with the keys and switches..... A most definite god of cannons.
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Unread postAuthor: Cosmic Muffin » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:36 pm

ok i love that beast but modding the valves is the way to go and do you really need so many?. it needs a huge barrel like 10 metres though :twisted:
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Unread postAuthor: Lentamentalisk » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:40 pm

Please tell me you have the valves shut closed almost instantly or you will lose sooooooo much air... The ideal chamber to barrel ratio is about 1:1. By my rough guestimate, you have about 1:1000000000 lol. That is an insane cannon!
Really nice job!
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Unread postAuthor: pizlo » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:41 pm

Son of A [female doggy]!
If you had the funds for that, why didn't you just buy 3 supah valves?
or better yet build your own huge pistons.
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Unread postAuthor: Lentamentalisk » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:45 pm

Obvioulsly he was going for electric triggering, and for a good reason, you dont want to vaporize the balloon in the barrel. However you could have made your own much bigger piston valves, and piloted them with the sprinkler valves.
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Unread postAuthor: potatoflinger » Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:55 pm

That is one huge cannon! The paint job is great! One suggestion I would like to make though is that after you finish the challenge, you should convert the gun to a triggered burst disc cannon, with at least a 2" union, and get a really long barrel (20+ feet) that way you will get a ton more power out of it.

The cannon will work very well for your challenge, especially since you have the valves open at different times to avoid obliterating the water balloon. This cannon is just amazing, hope you do well in your challenge!
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:10 pm

Very nice, very wicked looking machine. If your distance measurements are correct for something the mass of a softball, over a quarter mile, a wicked performer as well, even without optimized barrel length and piston valves!

Your air tank is way overkill but what the heck, I wouldn't change a thing! Nice performance, nice presentation.... impressive indeed!

Lastly, will you have to go trade for a bigger truck to haul it now? Or put a hitch on the thing and tow it like a trailer....:)
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Last edited by starman on Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postAuthor: bluerussetboy » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:16 pm

short and thick does the trick :D
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