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My first piston powered pneumatic tater gun

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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My first piston powered pneumatic tater gun

Unread postAuthor: tvouthilak » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:12 pm

Hey all. New to the forum. I built my first combustion 'tato launcher about 5 years ago and thought it was time to step it up to the next level.

Been looking through a lot of the threads and there are some very nice spud guns people are making out there. Great job to all!!

I started researching pneumatics about a week ago and really had no idea how to go about it. When I made my combustion gun 5 years ago, I just thought pneumatics were too complicated and expensive to build. And at that time, I don't think people were using pistons and sprinkler valves. I do remember reading something about using washing machine water valves but seems those are not the popular thing anymore?

Anyway, on to my creation.

Air chamber is 2" pvc
Barrel is 1" pvc- Barrel is detachable and I plan to make a .5" and 2" barrel for it as well.
2" Piston casted from hot glue
1" sprinkler valve for filling and firing- filled using tire valve and fired with stock solenoid

Only problem I'm facing is with filling the gun with the tire valve. The issue is that when unclamping the pump from the valve, if I don't do it quickly enough, air will discharge from the valve and the gun will fire. Only way I can think to resolve this issue is to either add a check valve(which I am finding very difficult to find) or a shut-off valve(ie. small ball valve) so that the air won't discharge when I'm disconnecting the pump.

I'm a total noob at this pneumatic stuff so please feel free to critique my design and offer comments or suggestions.

I've fired the gun at 80 psi and WOW it really packs a punch. Any suggestions on max psi this thing will handle?

The only thing I have left to do is attach a power source for the solenoid and a push button trigger.

Sorry for the dark pics(taken with my cell phone)

Enjoy!!
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Attachments
1017082046.jpg
gun with barrel attached
1017082047.jpg
Main body with detachable barrel
1017082047a.jpg
Main body of gun
Last edited by tvouthilak on Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postAuthor: Gippeto » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:41 pm

I like the design. The 1" sprinkler as a pilot is overkill on a 2" piston, but that's alright.

I suppose that your barrel threads on? This is good thinking.

If it is ALL NSF-PW stuff, I would suggest 120psi as a safe max.(it also happens to be what I use as a max on my pvc gun)

Nice job.

Welcome to Spudfiles. :)
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:59 pm

Nice job with the stock. As for the problems with the air source, I would just add a small ball valve.
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Unread postAuthor: i-will » Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:04 pm

the pics r fine. and the cannon looks great. that is a great first. looks awesome and will look better if u paint it. what do u use as ammo and what's the damage?

is that barrel screw-on cuz using friction alone is a bad idea.

also i think u should use that sprinkler valve for something else but if u like it then cool.
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Unread postAuthor: cannon monkey » Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:29 pm

as for ur pics great job
as for ur air problem move the valve dont put it on the valve
if that possibe i never use a piston so idk
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Unread postAuthor: tvouthilak » Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:22 am

Thanks for the comments. I know I still have a lot to learn but I'm quite happy with my first attempt at pneumatic power.

As for the 1" sprinkler valve, yeah I realize it is overkill. When I started this project I had planned on building a bigger cannon with 3" piston and 4" chamber, but thought that was a bit much for my first. I also like the concept of an electric trigger, but I guess I could have done that with a 3/4" sprinkler valve as well.

yes, the barrel is thread on.

"as for ur air problem move the valve dont put it on the valve"

-Yeah, I was thinking of putting it on the back of the piston, but with the 1" adapter for the sprinkler valve on a 2" plug, there didn't seem to be any room for it.

I will most likely install a small ball valve like markfh mentioned.

"what do u use as ammo and what's the damage?"

-so far I've only used potatoes for testing purposes but have also used some 1" dowels cut to about 1" long. I've only really tested for distance so far so no real damage to report..

Keep the comments coming...
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Last edited by tvouthilak on Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postAuthor: experament-u2 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:09 am

you have done some research that's a good sign

cannon looks good as, great job
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Unread postAuthor: potatoflinger » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:25 am

That looks great, especially for a first. I didn't notice any DWV, which is also a good thing.
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Unread postAuthor: tvouthilak » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:57 am

**UPDATE**

Just thought I'd keep people posted on my progress. Last time I posted, I still needed a power source and trigger mechanism. Seems like the common thing to use are 3-9v batteries and some sort of push button switch to activate the solenoid.

After working on an unrelated project, I came up with something that works pretty well. I took apart an old camera and discovered that the flash circuitry could be adapted to power my solenoid and the cool part is that it only runs off of 2 AA batteries.

Here's the concept:

Normally when you fire up a flash on a camera, a transformer charges up a Capacitor which stores necessary voltage(this one was 330V) to power the flash. Obviously, 330v is a bit much for the solenoid. So I removed the original capacitor and replaced it with a 35v one and now I have my power source. I added two micro switches to activate the power source. One is to fire up the transformer to charge the capacitor(that's the high pitch whine you hear on a camera when you push the flash button and the other is for the trigger. This sort of works as a safety because the gun won't fire unless you hit the charge button first. It only takes a few seconds for the capacitor to charge then you're ready to fire..

Another feature of this system is that the capacitor discharges in a very quick burst. What this means is that instead of keeping the solenoid open and expelling all my air, it opens and closes real quick so that I can actually get 2 shots out of my air chamber. If I fill the chamber to 80 psi, I can usually get another shot at about 50 psi before having to refill the air. Cool!!
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Attachments
1026080054.jpg
Notice the charge button is by my thumb
1026080053.jpg
A rough mock up of it attached to the handle
1026080057.jpg
And every thing fits in a standard 4 AA battery holder. This is with the cover on. You can also see one of the micro push buttons in the picture
1026080056.jpg
Here's what the power source looks like. Silver cylinder is the Capacitor, transformer is the black square in the middle, and the 2 AA batteries.

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Unread postAuthor: Demon » Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:41 am

Thanks for the comments. I know I still have a lot to learn but I'm quite happy with my first attempt at pneumatic power.


What? I bet you are happy, you made a fu#$%&* cool piston valve on you FIRST ATTEMPT!!!

My first attempt was a ballvalve!I only made a coaxial(same thing as a piston) 2 years after...
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Unread postAuthor: tvouthilak » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:06 pm

Demon wrote:
Thanks for the comments. I know I still have a lot to learn but I'm quite happy with my first attempt at pneumatic power.


What? I bet you are happy, you made a fu#$%&* cool piston valve on you FIRST ATTEMPT!!!


Thanks for the kind words.
Yeah, I've been very satisfied with the cannon so far. However; after a week of use, it does seem to have developed a small leak. Either the piston is not sealing completely with the barrel any more or the piston itself is leaking(through the bolt in the center of it) No big deal, I can live with it if it doesn't get any worse.

My next step is to work on a pump action reload..

STAY TUNED...........
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Unread postAuthor: tvouthilak » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:22 pm

**UPDATE**

Just a quick damage photo to share. I built a pretty crude indoor shooting trap to test out the gun. The trap is just a cardboard box with layers of paper inside and a board behind to stop any stray shots. So far at 100 psi, I have been able to shoot through about 100 sheets of paper(which is one row of papers) from 25 feet away. The ammo is a 1/2" marble.

The gun shoots pretty accurately from 25 ft. I was able to get within an 1" from where I was aiming after calibrating the scope. If you look closely at the yellow board, you can see a couple dents from when I missed the target while calibrating..

I was hoping to be able to shoot through more pieces of paper at 100 psi, but I think since the papers are just loosely sitting in the slots, they are able to flex and absorb the energy of the marble. I'm pretty happy with the test results though..

I'm currently working an a revised version of this cannon, so stay tuned for further updates...................
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Attachments
IMG_0334-2.jpg
Can you find the embedded marble?
IMG_0333-2.jpg
Top of trap. Each layer has 100 sheets of paper.
IMG_0332-2.jpg
Front of trap.

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Unread postAuthor: woden the awsome » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:22 am

That thing is pretty cool! I like how compact it is, but you don't need a capacitor and transformer, all you need is 3 nine volt batteries.
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Unread postAuthor: Brian the brain » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:38 am

He knows that.He just found another way of doing it with less battery power.
I , for one, think it's cool.

The 1" valve, when modded, would definitely be overkill.
Considering you want to keep it the way it is, it's better to have it that big.

Now build a remote control for the valve and you can make spudding history!

So...all in all, a great build.
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Unread postAuthor: tvouthilak » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:39 pm

woden the awsome wrote:That thing is pretty cool! I like how compact it is, but you don't need a capacitor and transformer, all you need is 3 nine volt batteries.


Thanks for the compliment. Yeah, my main objective for this cannon was to make it small and compact without sacrificing performance and ergonomics. With it shaped like a rifle, it is very comfortable and easy to handle and operate. and yes, 3 9-volts would have been the easy thing to do, but I was looking for something more unique and that used less battery voltage.
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