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[HELP] with DIY air cannon

Post questions and info about pneumatic (compressed gas) powered cannons here. This includes discussion about valves, pipe types, compressors, alternate gas setups, and anything else relevant.
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[HELP] with DIY air cannon

Unread postAuthor: 3danman » Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:31 pm

Hello all,

I'm new to the site, and I was looking to make an air cannon similar to the potato ones shown on this forum.

A while back I got into blowguns. I cut a length of 3/4" PVC pipe and I crafted some small darts to shoot from it. I was very accurate with it and it shot quite well.

Now, I want more power.

I would like to create a cannon that fires these darts at much higher velocity. The idea I had was to create an air reservoir filled with air via a bicycle pump. The reservoir might lead to a valve of some sort, and on the other side of that, a barrel. I like the 3/4" size I used previously, so something in that ball park would be preferable compared to something like a 2-3" barrel. I have a few questions:

*WIll it work. My idea is merely a concept, and I have no idea if it will be successful. Will the PVC air chamber be sufficient to withstand high PSI? If not, what material should I use for the reservoir?

*Valve concerns. What type of valve should I use? I don't really want to dissect an sprinkler valve, and I'd rather not get electronics mixed in. Would a butterfly valve work? What would?

*Budget. I'd rather not spend more than $100, so bear that in mind whilst giving suggestions.

Thanks in advance, I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.
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Re: [HELP] with DIY air cannon

Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:54 am

From reading your post / questions it seems you haven't done any research at all. We do not 'spoonfeed' here on Spudfiles.

Come up with a design / set of detailed plans and we will help you make adjustment to optimize it.
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Re: [HELP] with DIY air cannon

Unread postAuthor: Technician Fry » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:40 pm

3danman wrote:The idea I had was to create an air reservoir filled with air via a bicycle pump. The reservoir might lead to a valve of some sort, and on the other side of that, a barrel.


This may in fact be possible :P

Here's what my first pneumatic looked like:
Image
It cost about $15 and took a few minutes to assemble. It's inefficient, but I've never had it fail or break.
This design (inline, ball valve) is the bare minimum pneumatic launcher. The Spudfiles wiki has a ton of information about where to go from there.

I recommend familiarizing yourself with the plumbing section of your local hardware store. PVC pipe and fittings (in the US) are dirt cheap, so a $100 budget gives you a ton of room to experiment. For specialty or high-pressure parts, keep McMaster-Carr's online catalog bookmarked.
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