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Confetti 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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Confetti Cannon

Unread postAuthor: bugsingelyn » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:05 pm

I was hired by the owner of a bar to make a gun that shoots confetti. The name of the bar is called the High Noon Saloon, so I made a 12' long western-style pistol, with the grip and cylinder (revolving part) out of carved styrofoam, and the barrel out of PVC. It turned out awesome!!

I decided to use a 1.5 inch porting piston valve instead of just a sprinkler valve or 2, mostly because I was given unlimited funds. I used a piston made of 2 1.25" end caps, with o-ring grooves carved with a dremel. The sealing face was a simple neoprene washer, and I used a cone shaped block of wood to center the piston on the sealing pipe. I can draw a diagram if that is confusing, but I think I saw someone use it here.

I wanted to keep the 2' long by 4" diameter chamber small so it wouldn't look weird and it would use less CO2. It's just a simple chamber.

I also made a breech loading hole with a modified coupler to cover it up. I carved with the Dremel (carefully) an L-shaped slot on the outside of the barrel for a screw to slide in, so it cocked like a bolt action rifle (sooo cool). We would grab 4 handfull's of confetti and scoop of flour (for a smoke effect), close the breech, and fire. It was so cool, I wish I got a picture of it firing. If anyone has ever shot confetti, you know what I mean. The barrel was the full 10 foot piece of 3 inch PVC with 4 inch PVC sleeving it, so it would look bigger (it ended up to still be too small, so we wrapped it in foam, looked awesome).

My CO2 setup consisted of a beer keg/soda dispenser CO2 regulator, and I used 20 ounce paintball CO2 tanks. I hooked up an ASA (paintball tank to 1/8" NPT adapter basically) to the input of the regulator, and screwed in a new tank when the old one was empty. I did this because I knew it would be too cold for the CO2, so we kept the unused tanks in the car to warm up. When we needed a full one, we just asked the driver to pass back a fresh tank (we had 5). I tried using a much simpler paintball regulator, but it didn't have enough flow to seal my not-so-perfect piston valve. This beer keg reg worked incredibly fast and after it was set up, it worked great. I suggest this to anyone who doesn't need a small or good looking CO2 set up. They are sold on Ebay for less than $50. I had 10 feet of tubing and a ball valve to control the filling.

Well, it sounds like a solid setup, not too fancy, right? Well, it was so cold (or the CO2 froze the PVC :? ) that the piston cracked, the sealing face was shot out about 6 inches into the barrel, and it rendered it useless. A simple thing that I never even thought of thinking of. Of course, it broke one block before the judges stand. I think I'll use nitrogen next year :twisted: .

EDIT: I thought I had more pictures, I'm sorry.
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Attachments
DSC00002.jpg
The entire pistol. It was awesome when it shot!
DSC00006.jpg
The piston valve, filling tube and ball valve, and modded sprinkler valve for piloting.
regulator.jpg
This is similar to the regulator I used.
regulator.jpg (13.61 KiB) Viewed 2328 times
Last edited by bugsingelyn on Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postAuthor: OuchProgramme » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:16 pm

Wow...beastly.

Does it have a special "boom" when shot?
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Unread postAuthor: TwitchTheAussie » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:22 pm

I am in HEAVEN *drools all over keyboard*
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Unread postAuthor: bugsingelyn » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:24 pm

Wow that was fast!
Yeah, it actually started moving out of the styrofoam body that we drilled it through because of the recoil. I took it as a compliment because that means it's powerful :lol:
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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:02 am

Its AWESOME!!
Is there any chance for us to see more pics and a vid?
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Unread postAuthor: ghostman01 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:06 am

is detroit a dangerous city ? in all those movies and every thing it sounds like it is
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:05 am

Some pretty good craftsmanship there. Nice gun overall. For something like this, I probably would have just went with a 2" sprinkler valve and avoided having to deal with a piston...top notch performance not really being necessary.

The beer keg CO2 regulator is a great idea. How many shots were you able to get out of a 20 oz paintball tank with this setup?

Also, you mentioned judges...was this thing a part of a parade or something?
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Unread postAuthor: bugsingelyn » Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:10 pm

@psycix - A friend said he has a video of it shooting, and another friend said he had a picture of the confetti being shot out, but as of now, I do not have anything else.

@ajdevi92 - Ha! It's not so bad.

@starman - Well, I would have used a simpler valve, but the bar's owner said that I could keep it after the parade :D .
I could get about...6 shots out of a tank before it started to lose pressure. Probably just because it was so cold.
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Unread postAuthor: STHORNE » Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:30 pm

very nice job carving the revolver. how long did it take you?
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Unread postAuthor: bugsingelyn » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:06 pm

It took about 3 weekends of constant working to carve the revolver. At first, we only used hand tools for wood, but I got fed up with how much time it took so I got an electric chainsaw, and it was the perfect tool. We ended up just carving a rough shape, and we used those buffing/grinding wheels with 40 grit sand paper to detail everything out. Then we went over the entire piece with palm sanders to smooth it out, and painted it with normal latex house paint. We had 2 pieces, and we tried gluing together with an aerosol glue meant for styrofoam, but it ended up being too irregular to glue with that, so we sprayed some Great Stuff in. Then we pounded in wood dowels. It held up very well.

The logo for the bar is two revolvers in a cross, so next year I hope to make another exactly like this and cross them, so we can shoot confetti into the crowd. I just need to find a better valve :?
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Unread postAuthor: OuchProgramme » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:18 pm

bugsingelyn wrote:Wow that was fast!
Yeah, it actually started moving out of the styrofoam body that we drilled it through because of the recoil. I took it as a compliment because that means it's powerful :lol:


Amazing.
Recoil has to be intense.

I gotta see a video of this monster :)
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:20 am

bugsingelyn wrote:The logo for the bar is two revolvers in a cross, so next year I hope to make another exactly like this and cross them, so we can shoot confetti into the crowd. I just need to find a better valve :?


It wouldn't take too much to make a quick dump valve. With the o-rings, mine doesn't leak and is highly reliable. If you hollow out the revolver, the valve/tank assy could be entirely concealed inside the styrofoam with the hammer connected to the trigger rod. Details on the quick dump valve is on my thread.

Sorry for the hi-jacking of the thread, but it looks like the valve would be a good fit for your revolver and remove the plumbing off the back.
http://www.spudfiles.com/forums/viewtopic,p,238380.html#238380
The bottom video shows the 2 inch version of the valve in operation launching t shirts.

Well, it sounds like a solid setup, not too fancy, right? Well, it was so cold (or the CO2 froze the PVC ) that the piston cracked, the sealing face was shot out about 6 inches into the barrel, and it rendered it useless. A simple thing that I never even thought of thinking of. Of course, it broke one block before the judges stand. I think I'll use nitrogen next year .


I have had extremely high failure rates of PVC pipe caps as pistons failing. CO2 isn't the issue. The stress and impact is. I've moved to HDPE for my pistons. It is the same material used in milk jugs, cutting boards and natural gas pipe. With high impact resistance and tear resistance, it holds up well. I'm on my 3rd quick dump valve cannon with zero failures. Nitrogen won't fix the problem.

Write me if you need construction help.
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