[Pneumatic] Horseshoe Launcher + Video

Just build a cannon and want to show it off? Post it in here.

Postby clide » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:45 pm

Well, I'm not sure why I decided to do this project rather than the others I could have done, but here it is. A horseshoe launcher.

It started with someone making a comment that I should build one, and it hit me that I had all the materials to build a simple one with a pneumatic cylinder and a basic structure. <a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/flop1.jpg">Here's</a> <a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/flop2.jpg">a few</a> <a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/flop3.jpg">pics</a>.
Of course I wasn't too surprised when that didn't end up being powerful enough to throw a horseshoe 40'

I wasn't really planning on going beyond that initial effort...but I did. And big thanks to GGDT because I wouldn't have the slightest clue what kind of launcher would be needed to launch a horseshoe 40' without it.

Anyway, here is what I came up with.

<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/side.jpg">side</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/top.jpg">top</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/dummy1.jpg">how the horseshoe fits</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/dummy3.jpg">another view</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/dummy2.jpg">where it stops accelerating</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/extended.jpg">end of rod's travel</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/front.jpg">front</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/rear.jpg">rear</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/rear_assembly.jpg">fill/exhaust assembly</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/trigger.jpg">trigger</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/barrel_parts.jpg">"barrel" parts</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/barrel_connection.jpg">"barrel" connection</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/piston.jpg">piston</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/piston2.jpg">another view</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/piston3.jpg">in the gun</a>
<a href="http://gbcannon.com/pics/hsl/check.jpg">check valve</a>

The valve is based in a 2" cross with ~1.4" porting (1.25" sch40)
The chambers are each 1.5" with a total volume around 35 cubic inches
The barrel is essentially a big pneumatic ram. 3" diameter and 4" stroke. Once the ram passes those holes on the barrel there are 2 more inches to act as an air spring and some .25" neoprene so the pvc doesn't shatter if the ram does contact the plug. (hopefully)
The check valve in the piston is a 1/4" plug and a 1/8" male x 1/4" female adaptor with a spring and a 1/4" BB in it. (It doesn't need to seal perfectly)

I haven't actually shot a horseshoe with it yet, but the velocity predicted by GGDT with the wooden test shoe shown was very close to what it actually was, so I think it should work. GGDT predicts a velocity of 52 fps and a distance of about 80 feet with a real horseshoe at 100 psi. So I should be able to turn it down to 50 or 60 psi for 40 feet.

I still need to add a plate and some padding to the stock as it will probably have quite a kick. And I need to rebuild the piston because I tightened down the check valve more than I thought I could and the spring is pushing it closed too strongly, other than that I am pretty happy with it.

Probably the most useless launcher yet...but it was fun to build.
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Postby SpudMonster » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:50 pm

Unique, yet useless. I like it!
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Postby Mr.Plow » Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:26 pm

Neat! Whenever you build anything, it really makes me wish I had a lathe... being unable to make solid PVC components and O-ring grooves easily is a real bitch.

I can't wait to see a video of it firing.
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Postby draculon » Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:35 pm

I'm lovin it. How much time did you put into this? Looks pretty fun to use too.
Is that a chamber sealing valve, or a barrel sealer.

BTW, check your email.
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Postby saladtossser » Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:43 pm

bloody awesome, i hope to see it shoot 80' nailing a stake (or whatever it's called)
what inspired you to make such a thing?
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Postby Velocity » Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:44 pm

that is probably the most creative thing I have ever seen!! Nice work!
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Postby theexp » Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:16 pm

Awsome job, really badass coming to a horse shoe game with that. Nice.
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Postby clide » Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:40 pm

Thanks all

Yeah, a lathe definitely makes things easier, but if you are determined/cleaver enough you can still make really cool things without a lathe. e.g. the things you make plow :p.

I'll try to get a video as soon as I get a horseshoe.

Hard to say how much time I put into it, but I was out in the garage most nights for the past few weeks I think. But I also have a TV out there, so I was watching TV quite a bit too. I was also working very slowly and thinking through everything very thoroughly before I did it. As trying to redo it if I screwed up was pretty much out of the question.

It is a barrel sealing, that picture of the piston in the gun makes it look like a chamber sealing, but that was taken before the chambers were glued on.

Pretty much I got the idea to build one when my brother was taking my horseshoe set to setup at his house, and my sister-in-law mentioned that she would play if I made a launcher for them, but like I said, I'm not sure why it took priority over other projects, just something different from things I have seen before I guess is what usually gets me motivated.

On the plus side, nearly all the parts were either something I already had or something I got with gift certificates.
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Postby davidbowie » Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:06 am


That's something you don't see every day. It has a look all its own.

Maybe the next step would be to make a stand for it. Hopper feed would be amazing.
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Postby SMOMW » Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:00 am

I love this thing. That is simply amazing, the machining you put into it is awesome. No one even mentioned the way you made the rest for the horseshoe or the stock, I love those 2 features!

I am assuming you slowly heated the pvc to soften it and then bent it into the shape you wanted? kind of like how we make pvc rockets by flaring the ends? I would love it if you posted a more detailed explination of how you made the stock! any pictures of the process? Did you use oil to heat it or did you use a torch? or did you use an oven?

once again, I'm amazed. this is beautiful, completely useless, but heh... so is shooting spuds across vast distances when you realy think about it. What I realy want to know is how accurate this horseshoe tosser realy is! can you play a game and get the highest score every time!?
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