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The price of competition...

A place to ask general spud cannon related questions.
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The price of competition...

Unread postAuthor: jook13 » Sun May 03, 2009 2:53 am

I am not taking sides here. I am just opening a thread for discussion. Do you guys think that these competitions and the constant striving forward of spudding technology is hurting the hobby?

When I first started it was all about shooting a chunk of potato across my parents property. Now People scoff when a launcher is posted and it is propelled by aerolsol can spray. All I read is "dude, it would be better with a propane meter". Same thing with pnuematics. If somebody posts a sprinkler powered cannon, all I read is "you need to mod that valve" or "a piston would be so much better".

I feel inadaquit for not owning a lathe or welder (and for not being able to spell inadaquit)

I think that if we were truly after the best performance, we would just get into gunsmithing so we could use gunpowder.

What are your thoughts?
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Sun May 03, 2009 3:12 am

While one shouldn't forget the simple joys of spudding, I think the constant technological progress is what keeps it interesting :) and there is praise for those who achieve great things without the need for a lathe or machine tools ;)
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Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Sun May 03, 2009 3:19 am

I think that spudding moves along best with ingenuity.

Things like the pen-gun, GB semi, larda's hybrid.

All different materials, practices and everything. Nothing completely new, but all new things..now I'm just talking rubbish. It's things like these that inspire people to build and improve..

Sort of, but if all I had now was my old 100 psi ball valve cannon I'd have quit long ago.
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Unread postAuthor: Solar » Sun May 03, 2009 3:59 am

My main motivation when I suggest improvements to someone elses launcher usually centers around safety features since I have nearly done myself in more than once. I love seeing people make launchers out of almost ridiculous objects they find in their garages(of kitchens) and am constantly amazed at the sheer ingenuity (and sometime stupidity) that we are willing to show in the pursuit of projecting force though our hobby.(or in my case and a number of others, obsession)

It is all in how you look at things. The last few years have really shown a growth in semi auto and full auto creations and a new level of understanding that we have achieved through sharing of our data and experiences. The last thing any of us want is to hear a report of an avoidable catastrophe injuring anyone that makes this type of device. Sure, the basics are fun but can be a bit on the dangerous side, which understandably is part of the appeal to all and not just the mad bomber types. However going the distance and evolving the sport is what makes us achieve even greater fulfillment.

Competitions keep us on our toes too. Wait 'til you all get a load of what I have in the lab... ;-)
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Sun May 03, 2009 1:57 pm

I think that much of what you see when people make recommendations in the showcase sections is firstly because it's natural to assume that the person would quite like a more powerful cannon, either this time or next time. Secondly because if you're posting, it feels quite lame (and definitely wasteful) to just say "Cool", then not actually give any advice on what you like, what you don't like and what you think could be improved.
After all, what's the point in having topics for cannons (as opposed to just a gallery) if the only thing you're allowed to say is "Neat", and not make suggestions?

You should bear in mind, that the forum veterans will naturally have a higher set of standards for what passes as good, but I wouldn't say I scoff at the simpler cannons. I don't necessarily think all that highly of them either, but like you can't expect the owner of a hundred grand supercar to be impressed at a cheap hatchback, the veterans here have seen so many simple cannons that it takes more than following a set of internet plans to impress.

But anyway, like I say "If it's fun, it's safe, and good enough for you - then who the hell cares?"

On that note, I'll be quite honest, the only combustion I still keep around is aerosol fuelled - which might surprise a few of you, but I've never been fussed about building combustions. It was a habit I got into when the only really suitable materials available in my area for a decent cannon turned out to be small bore copper, which I'm now pretty addicted to. Those calibres don't really suit combustion, so I got hooked on pneumatics. That's sort of developed my interest towards achieving muzzle energy through respectable velocity than with heavy projectiles.

Indeed, these days, my designs are almost exclusively for man portable launchers - usually either in a pistol configuration, or with a stock so I can shoulder it properly.
However, I'm sort of hitting the reasonable upper limits of what I can do power-wise with those limits and the materials available. So, as I still have a drive to advance, I want to try and start to take things in new directions.
Mostly, at the moment, what I really want to be able to demonstrate is accuracy. If I'm ever able to do some seriously long range shooting with one of my cannons, I'll be happy.

Although, oddly enough on the note of happy... although I certainly don't find what I'm doing boring, and it's definitely highly engaging... I'm not sure quite how much of it is "fun" any more.
I enjoy it... but that doesn't automatically make it fun. I figure I might be taking it too seriously, and chasing after an ever dwindling sense of something new and exciting. I mean, I'm impressed by what cannons can do, but I'm no longer surprised. It's a while since I really looked at a topic and actually found it to be jaw dropping in it's magnitude.

That's kind of a problem with knowing as much as I do on the subject and thinking about it so extensively - I see things and I think "Great work - but I already knew it could be done".
Shame really, the loss of the novelty. Fortunately, almost all of you will never experience the problem to the same degree as I do, because most of you probably don't get to enjoy my mind's bizarre blend of traits that help cultivate it.

But on a more positive note - who doesn't want to see improvement? Who wants to see everything sit stagnant? I certainly don't. Then I'd have no chance at all of being surprised.
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Unread postAuthor: jmccalip » Sun May 03, 2009 2:08 pm

Well, the way I see it...


If you go to an internet forum dedicated to shooting spudguns, you have already gone off the deep end and will not be satisfied with a simple ball valve gun.

The ones that are satisfied with a ball valve gun haven't seen better and probably haven't seen this forum either.
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Sun May 03, 2009 3:10 pm

Ahh progress. Spirals upwards and the upward gain for the time spent going in circles gets less and less every time.

I totally agree about the highly predictable comments that tend to appear under most new basic cannons. Deja-vu every time I come here.

But what's there to say sometimes.

It has been seen before, I could write a short list of expected replies for any given cannon.

I was scoffed at for thinking ergonomics and appearance should be right up there back in ye olde days. On at least equal levels with brute force.

Now of course, the cannons which get non-cut-and-paste replies are the ones which look good.

I think attractive designs which are more than just raw piping and refinement of what designs we already have to fit, not necessarily make better but to use creatively is the most likely direction the "cutting edge" of spudgunning will go.

No stopping progress with this much attention available. Everyone wants their five minutes and this is a hell of a lot better way than selling yourself as an idiot on TV.
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Sun May 03, 2009 3:55 pm

Hotwired wrote:Now of course, the cannons which get non-cut-and-paste replies are the ones which look good.

Or those which are exceptionally powerful of course.

Personally, if I'm replying, I try to avoid sounding like an echo of someone else, and I'm usually fairly honest (although not nasty) about cannons. I'm not going to pay false compliments where they're not due.

Of course, if I rise to using the words "Jaw dropping" or "Holy Crap", I tend to be quite seriously impressed ("Jaw dropping" tends to indicates my surprise, it would seem). I haven't used "Awesome" to describe a cannon too many times - as far as I can tell, looking back through the archives, I normally use the word to show my approval of an idea - like "That would be awesome"

Interestingly, while writing this post, found a case where I had written quite the opposite of jook13 about a month back:
Ragnarok wrote:I sort of work on the principle that the showcase isn't just for "Ooh, that's nice" or "Awesome", but also suggestion for improvement.

To which, I would note, jook13 agreed...
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Unread postAuthor: al-xg » Sun May 03, 2009 4:26 pm

Mmm and i guess if one just wanted "awesome" comments they could just show a spudgun to someone who knew nothing about it.
I dont think the technological advance is the problem, if now its propane meters, it used to be "don't use ABS, use PVC" or "you should paint it black with red flames".
Comments just tend to be repetitve.


I am actually quite tempted to enter the contest, and I,ve got something quite cool to build, but I have a problem with the dates :(
I'm only going home at the end of june, i guess i could start building here, but I'd have to buy every thing and find tools... good thing the £ is low at the moment.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Sun May 03, 2009 4:34 pm

If things where not innovating we would still be taping tennis ball cans together, like I did in the 1970's. It has come a long way baby! Innovation is the crap. :D
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Unread postAuthor: Solar » Sun May 03, 2009 6:11 pm

Someone should do a word count to see how many times different words like awesome, killer, wicked, cool, amazing, etc. are have been used. Silly, but just a thought.
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Sun May 03, 2009 6:29 pm

@Solar: Here you go:

3138 uses of the word Awesome (including quoted repeats).
Killer - 181 uses
Wicked - 167 uses
Cool - 7567 uses
Amazing - 1127 uses
Incredible - 219 uses
Wonderful - 205 uses
Holy crap - 274 uses

Fewer than I was expecting to be honest...
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Unread postAuthor: Solar » Sun May 03, 2009 10:16 pm

Most impressive Ragnarok... ha ha ha
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Sun May 03, 2009 10:19 pm

Ragnarok wrote:3138 uses of the word Awesome (including quoted repeats).


Sadly that's just the correct spelling, what about awesum, awsum etc?
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Sun May 03, 2009 10:39 pm

@JSR: I give you the completely comprehensive list of people who have used those two spellings of awesome on this forum:

- jackssmirkingrevenge (7 uses, including the post above)
- jrrdw (6 uses)
- Ragnarok (2 uses)
- MrCrowley (1 use)
- SpudMonster (1 use)
- sinper2006 [sic] (1 use)

That says a lot. I don't know exactly what it says, but it's a lot.

Actually, what it actually boils down to is that those spellings are almost exclusively used in parody of n00b spelling and attitudes.

@Solar: Oh yes, I am certainly a person of many useless talents.
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