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recently my 14 yr. old son has come to me wanting to build spudguns. this really isn't a big for me seeing our family has been in the gunsmithing business since the mid-1800s(american civil war). i grew up in windsor,vermont and have been building custom sharps rifles(falling blocks,quigley down under) for about 20 yrs. please don't ask for any information about my company, this will help stay within the forum rules.
anyways, my son has been getting a lot of information from the net, specifically from spudfiles. he will almost always come to me with questions and i'll try to give him solid answers. lately he has come to me with some fairly bad/erroneous/inaccurate info. i'm not going to give details. as a parent i have to discern what is accurate and what isn't.
this is a hobby that could end up killing my son or one of his friends if done improperly.
i would really like to know what type of credentials the "leading knowledgeable" members have.
i'm sure some will have issues with this request. no problem.
i know there are a lot of high school students on here as well as adult hobbyists. knowledge means a lot to me no matter what age. i would just like to know where the knowledge came from.
i take a very serious interest in my son's well being and will be reading as many of your posts as possible.
Last edited by couchquail on Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i hope it wasn't me that gave the bad info pm me if it was because i want to know and i'm not bothered if it was me... as for credentials errm none, but i'm not a "leading knowledgable member" so it doesn't really matter.
Your concerns as a parent are more than justified, but this forum prides itself in offering a safe and responsible approach towards the hobby. A glance at the forum rules and the manner in which they are adhered to is sufficient to illustrate this.
Spudgunning can of course be dangerous, any projectile launching mechanism can be, and while the responsible and controlled use of such devices is advocated, how they are actually used is down to the individual builder.
The other potential source of peril is a launcher built out of unsafe parts, and I'm sure you'll find that this forum has always advocated the use of appropriate materials - and those who suggest anything less are put right by forum authorities. The same goes for those who use their launchers irresponsibly.
It would be of interest to share what this information as we would be in a better position to address your specific worries.
As to my personal credentials, I'm 25 and work as a laboratory analyst for a pharmaceutical company.
Did your son happen to have made an account here at Spudfiles? If so, this could also help us to reconize some of his posts and otherwise direct him and/or give him proper information.
I apologize for not posting my credentials. I, like Mr. Crowley, am 16 years old and attend a boarding school in Switzerland. My home is in California and work on spud guns during the summer. Otherwise I am a fairly active member on this forum and have learned a wealth of knowledge.
Last edited by mega_swordman on Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." George S. Patton
thank you jackssmirkingrevenge, i must say you are one of the most consistent and courteous members here.
yes, my son has an account here. he has yet to post anything. he tries to learn as much as possible before he puts his foot in his mouth. he is in the process of building an advanced combustion launcher that he might post if it meets his expectations.
The problem he could be having is, getting information from this website from a bad thread or source. There are 9000 topics here, not all of them are correct.
I suggest your son starts posting, that way we can lead him in the correct direction and he can check with us if what he is doing/learning is correct.
There have been a few topics which are just plain stupid, and for some of us who know better, wouldn't even attempt, your son needs to get to that stage where he knows what he is doing and he knows what he is doing is the right thing, to get there he just needs to be a frequent poster and do some good ol' research.
Most of us here are highschool students, but we do have a fair amount of adults who are regulars here. I have no credentials, i'm just a 16 year old highschool student in NZ, but the information i've learnt has probably come from someone with a decent background.
In this hobby we have this program called GGDT, it more or less lets us calculate a pneumatic spudgun to any standards and from this program we can get the velocity, muzzle energy, distance etc.
Now the guy who made this, David Hall(D_hall) is a Mechanical Engineer employed at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, Ordnance Test & Evaluation Branch. He started his career writing flight simulations. These days he test bombs, rockets, and guns. Combine those two assignments and voila.
So as you can see, some people in this hobby do have related credentials to spudguns.
Though we haven't heard from him in a while, we still learn from him.
I am just an 18 year old student at Arizona State University and Glendale Community College and have been active on spudgun forums since mid 2005 where I have learned plenty. I do not have much credentials but I always make sure that safety is the top priority.
Most of the experienced people frequented Spudtech before it shutdown.
Im a Average teenage guy from south wales uk, ive been building spudguns since August of 2006.. i go to college where i study physics, geology and environmental science..ive build many pneumatic launchers and the thing that matters over everything... eg. power, is safety... i hope your son posts his cannon up on hear, may i ask specifically what the content of the post that came toy your attention was?
Thanks, I believe that this forum is a great instrument for the safe and responsible promotion of a valid hobby, and try to do my bit.
Given your firearms background, I'm confident that your son is already well versed in firearm safety - since spudguns tend to have barrels and triggers, everything that applies to powder burners applies to spudguns. The only concerns I understand you might have are about unsafe construction. Combustions are dangerous in that you are igniting a confined fuel/air mixture, but comparatively I would say they are safer than pneumatics - they develop relatively low pressure - usually below 50 psi - and for a brief instant, meaning that unlike pneumatics, even parts which aren't rated for pressure are usually safe to use. Still, if you want complete peace of mind, you can't go wrong with pressure rated PVC.
... actually you can, if you use it when its too cold or leave it out in the sun or glue it wrong etc. etc.
I would also like to emphasize this page to anyone who has not visited it before...
http://www.spudfiles.com/spud_wiki/inde ... tle=Safety
Yes, I am the guy that owns & operates SpudFiles (along with our extremely helpful moderators).
I'm 16 and I've been on this site for almost two years now. I've been building spudguns for over two years. I've gotten most (if not all) of my information from this site. I know for sure that everyone here is extremely concerned with the safety of all who participate in this hobby. For example, when a person does not do proper research (or lacks common sense) and attempts to power their spudgun with gunpowder and there's an article in the paper the next day about how he blew himself up, we get very upset. Bad publicity is the last thing we need for this hobby. So we do our very best to point all members in the right direction.
You might notice in the pneumatics section, our more experienced members frequently warning the newer members about the use of DWV (unrated) pipe and fittings. My first two launchers were made using these types of fittings, and had I not posted pictures of them here, I would never have known they were unsafe and who knows what I could have done to myself. Thanks to this forum, I still have five fingers on each hand!
We really do our best to make this hobby as safe as it can be for anyone interested in it. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know and we'll be more than happy to address them. And if you wouldn't mind, please share this 'inaccurate info' with us so we can help you out.
Lastly, there are many activities that could potentially hurt or kill a person besides spudgunning (sports, bicycling, driving, etc.) What's important is that anyone who wishes to take part in these activities must be fully aware of the risks involved. They should be responsible and take the time to learn how to do something properly. They should never hold others responsible if they fail to do so.
like i originally posted, i'm not going to post details. i don't want to single individuals out or possibly start thread about what each one of us considers right and wrong. if i can see where the information comes from then i can either help my son understand or i can learn something new.
As with anything you find on the web, there is a fair amount of crap. To quote some famous person "90% of everything is crap".
When you combine that "90%" with something that generates potentially lethal amounts of energy, then mix in the typical teenagers desire to "blow crap up" you have a recipe for disaster.
It would be interesting to know what the "bad/erroneous/inaccurate info" was that you son found on spudfiles. Usually, the more experienced members (some of which are in their teens, some are in their 50's or older) will pretty well squash really stupid and/or dangerous posts. That doesn't necessarily mean the posts are removed, only that someone will respond with a post saying the idea is stupid and/or dangerous.
I don't think your posting the name of your smithy would pose any problems to the owners of this forum. A real gunsmith is hardly a competitor of spudfiles. Indeed, I would think PCguy et al. would love to have access to a person with gunsmith experience.
Personally, I have a little problem believing you are who/what you say you are. Just as your son should assume everything he finds on the web is BS until proven otherwise, I assume the same for things posted on web forums. Not trying to insult you, just pointing out a basic fact of life on the web. It would not be surprising to me if a reporter (for example), posted as a "concerned parent" in an attempt to gather information. Given reporters, and gov't officials for that matter, tendency to grossly distort facts in order to "prove" a point, I tend to be pretty cautious about what I post.
As to credentials, lets just say I've been in a laboratory or two in my days on earth. Furthermore, I'm old enough, and have experienced enough to know, that rare laboratory "freak" accidents really do happen and when they do somebody gets maimed or killed. A face shield or goggles really can save you life. I take safety very seriously. "Everybody else does it and it hasn't failed yet" really is no substitute for knowing what the capabilities and limits of the hardware are. Heck, even NASA has fallen into the "it didn't blow up the last 38 times we launched it so it'll be fine this time" trap.
I have a friend that spent years as an emergency room doctor, kids really do fall down with a pencil in their hand and they really do poke their eye out.
Firstly, I would like to say that I am a 14 year old high school student with absolutely no significant credentials, and very little knowledge pertaining to the physics and chemistry behind these launchers, so my opinion may not be worth very much.
Safety is always the priority here, because our hobby is one that can cause serious injuries, or possibly death, if the proper procedures are not followed. Dealing with pressure vessels can be very unsafe if the correct materials and construction methods are not used, as you undoubtedly know after your 20 years of work as a gunsmith.
The general purpose of this forum is to allow all of the members access to the combined knowledge of the entire population here. While many posts may contain inaccurate information, most problems are corrected over time. The reason that many of our members have such vast knowledge of our hobby and its safe practice is due to the sharing of ideas and information that occurs here. The only real limit to learning here is the amount of information that one is able to absorb.
Spudfiles' resident expert on all things that sail through the air at improbable speeds, trailing an incandescent wake of ionized air, dissociated polymers and metal oxides.
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