The SGTC Presents:
SPUDGUNS ARE NOT TOYS!!!
Spudguns can be extremely dangerous when used unsafely or inappropriately.
Spudgun Do's and Do-Not's
Let it be noted that PVC pipe/fittings are not intended to be used for the purpose of constructing spudguns.
- ...do wear safety equipment like ear plugs and safety glasses.
- ...do have fun with your spudgun. That's what it is for. If you think it is a useful tool for a task, or serving as an effective offensive or defensive weapon, please forget you even know what a spudgun is.
- ...do treat is as a real gun/weapon, although it is not such. Even if you KNOW it is not loaded or charged, it isn't funny to point it at someone else. This might scare that person, leading them a reason to point it at you in the future, perhaps charged...
- ...do launch potatoes in a safe locale. This usually does NOT mean a residential housing tract. A good rule of thumb is if you THINK (do NOT test your theory) you can hit your neighbor's house with something out of your launcher, chances are they will hear it and call the cops.
- ...do learn about how to safely build and operate them using this site and the many others out there that deal with spudguns and related activities. Ask questions. Although I don't have all the time in the world to address every question I try to answer any I feel relevant. Make sure to check out my FAQ section.
- ...do always make sure you have enough spuds and fuel for an outing you have planned. Nobody wants to be labeled as: "...the guy who ran out of spuds and/or hairspray and there was still daylight left!" NOT cool!
- ...DO NOT EVER USE GUNPOWDER OR OTHER EXPLOSIVES AS FUEL IN A SPUD GUN. Use only low power fuel like hair spray.
- ...do not use a spudgun in a reckless manner (you can see this coming, kinda reciprocal of the above rules). Many instances exist when, even 'just once,' it was fired at something, or where someone else heard it and got scared, and the cops get called.
- ...do not use a spudgun in cold weather. This means less than 32ºF (0ºC) for PVC launchers. ABS launchers can go a bit colder, but not much colder than 0ºF. The plastic gets too brittle and it might shatter on you.
- ...do not use it in very hot weather either. Temps above 100ºF should be avoided as well, as the plastic's physical strength starts to precipitously decrease above this temperature.
- ...do not 'rapid fire.' High temperatures applies to multiple firings as well. Say a continuous duty of one round every minute, or 'rapid bursts' of no more than three rounds, with a five minute wait afterwards. This of course only applies to combustion launchers.
- Not to be outdone by the previous rule, rapid firing of a pneumatic launcher can lead to cold-brittle failure, even on a hot day...WHY?!?! Dumping a tank of air rapidly causes a rapid decrease in the air temperature. This cold air cools the plastic, and depending on how big a tank/pressures reached and a lot of other factors, can really cool the pipe down. This does NOT make a good refrigerator for beer, just be careful, no faster than one round per minute.
That's all I got for now. If you have a good idea for a spudgun do or don't, let me know.
THIS PART OF THE PAGE IS DEDICATED TO VISITOR SUBMITTED STORIES ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN DUE TO OPERATOR ERROR/ IGNORANCE. PAY ATTENTION OR FUTURE SITE VISITORS MAY READ ABOUT YOU HERE. WWW.DARWINAWARDS.COM
Teen blinded by 'potato gun' misfire
By DONNA FIELDER / Denton Record-Chronicle
A Denton teenager was in critical condition Monday after he was shot in the face with a frog that exploded from a "potato gun."
Daniel Benjamin Berry, 17, was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth early Sunday after he looked down the gun's PVC pipe barrel
and was struck in the face by the frog.
"He is going to be blind in both eyes," Daniel's mother, Lisa Berry, said in the hospital's critical-care waiting room.
A potato gun is usually made with a PVC pipe with one end sealed. A potato or another object is wedged into the open end. Flammable liquid
such as hairspray is put into a sealed chamber in the device and ignited.
Sunday's accident occurred about 1 a.m. in the Copper Canyon area. Denton County Sheriff's Department spokesman Kevin Patton said three
teenagers took the gun and potatoes to the bridge.
"At some point, someone decided to fire frogs from the gun," he said. "And at some point, the gun misfired."
A crowd of teenagers had gathered to watch, the sheriff's spokesman said.
"Mr. Berry was a spectator. He walked over to try to help with the misfire," Mr. Patton said. "He looked down the barrel, and the gun fired
on a delayed reaction."
He was taken to a hospital emergency room and was later transferred to the Fort Worth hospital, Mr. Patton said.
Mrs. Berry said she couldn't understand why the illegal weapons are available on the Internet.
"Some other kid ordered one over the Internet," she said. "They thought it was a toy. It's not a toy; it's a dangerous weapon."
Daniel's mother said her son had broken bones in his face and would require surgery. He told her he didn't think there was a frog in the gun
and looked to try to see it.
"He said it just went off. It was a misfire. It hit him square in the face," she said.
Mr. Patton said no charges would be filed.
"This is the first incident involving a potato gun that we have had to deal with," Mr. Patton said. "We had six teenagers in possession of a
potato gun, and one of them was critically injured.
"What are you going to do? This was an accident."
Mrs. Berry said she didn't blame the other boys. They did not know the power of the gun, she said.
Daniel had wanted to join the Air Force but she would not give her permission, she said. She encouraged him to attend college until he was
old enough to join without parental consent.
"All he ever wanted to do was be an Air Force pilot," she said. "That isn't going to happen now."
Updated frog accident story.
Debate arises over spud gun firing
Some experts disagree with victim’s account of how gun went off
By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer
Daniel Berry was trying to keep a frog from crawling out the end of the 7-foot barrel of a potato gun early Monday when everything "just went black and red." His world likely will remain black for the rest of his life, he said Thursday from his hospital room.
The Denton 17-year-old’s story has people arguing nationwide on talk shows and the Internet. And though Daniel said he thinks there must have been some sort of delayed firing when the spud gun went off, sending the frog into his face at 400 feet per second and blinding him, some experts say that could not have been the way it happened.
Daniel, his brother and a friend were fishing about 1 a.m. Monday when they saw a group of teens on the Old Alton Bridge. They were firing potato guns, which are made of PVC pipe with a canister for a propellant and an ignition.
"We wanted to shoot them, and we asked if we could. We wanted to have fun," Daniel said. "We’re teenagers. That’s what we do.
"They told me they were shooting frogs out of there, and I wanted to do it," he said. "The frog kept trying to crawl out."
The gun uses a 9-volt battery with a foot-long wire with a button on the end for ignition. They sprayed deodorant into the compression cylinder as propellant, and he pushed the button. Nothing happened, despite several pushes.
He was the only one holding the gun, Daniel said. He set down the firing end and went around to the barrel to make sure the frog was still inside.
"Nobody clicked the button. It just went off," he said. "It knocked me down and I was all bloody, and my brother and friend dragged me all the way to the car and took me to the hospital."
He was listed in critical condition at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth until Thursday, when he was transferred to a room. He may be released soon, he said. He has a broken nose and jaw, and doctors plan reconstructive surgery. They will check out his left eye to see whether he might be able to someday detect light.
Joel Suprise sells potato guns full-time at an Internet Web site from Wisconsin. There is no such thing as a delayed ignition, he said.
"There is no possible way for a combustion-based spud gun to ‘just go off,’" Mr. Suprise said. "Nor is it possible for there to be a delayed firing. The ignition button had to have been pushed at the exact time of firing."
Mr. Suprise said a combustion-based spud gun uses an electrical spark to ignite a mixture of fuel and air just like a spark plug ignites a fuel-air mix in the cylinders of a car engine.
The spark lasts for only a few hundredths of a second, he said. After the spark has ceased to exist, there is no residual heat or ignition source anywhere in the chamber. Therefore, a "hang fire" is not even possible with a combustion-based spud gun, he said.
Tucker Carlson, commentator for CNN’s "Crossfire," agrees there could be no hang fire, but since there is no trigger guard, the button could accidentally be pressed without the person knowing it, he said. Last year he wrote an article for GQ magazine on potato guns.
Mr. Carlson has four children and several spud guns. He closely supervises their use, he said.
"I like them. They are fantastic toys, but dangerous toys," Mr. Carlson said. "They’re all capable of hurting you. I had a stockade fence in my back yard and in one afternoon, we disintegrated it."
Possessing a potato gun is a third-degree felony in Texas. But federal authorities say federal law does not govern them, and they are legal in Wisconsin, where Mr. Suprise lives.
Denton County Sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Patton said some experts tell him that if the mix of propellant was too heavy, there could be a hang fire.
"One deputy went to the scene and the other went to the hospital," Mr. Patton said. "We took witness statements, and the investigation found this to be an accident."
Larry Barnes, another Wisconsin dealer, said he believes Daniel may accidentally have caused the ignition without knowing it. Perhaps there was a short in the wire leading to the ignition button, and when Daniel set the gun down and moved it around, the connection was made, he said. The back of the gun could have rolled over, depressing the button, he said.
"The bottom line is the gas is ignited by a spark. It takes electricity to make that spark jump. It’s a microsecond," Mr. Barnes said. "When you press the button, the points generate an electric spark, just like spark plugs. Once the spark is gone, it’s not going to reoccur by itself unless the button is pushed."
Both dealers emphasize the importance of parental supervision, and their Web sites stress safety measures.
"You don’t look down the barrel of any gun, any time," Mr. Barnes said. "I sure hope this young man gets better. I said a couple of prayers for him last night."
DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885.
Building spud guns has been a tradition in my wife's family where she has two sisters whose husbands have built PVC spud guns. Her oldest sister's husband had built the first unit which was very simple and efficient and quite entertaining. Her older sister's husband, being a woodworker, included wooden pistol grips for ease of handling. As an electrical engineer (with high voltage experience) I decided to better them both by including electronic ignition by using the obvious gas grill piezo module inserted into the combustion volume. I proceeded to make the gun and mount the piezo module and was pleased to see the little blue spark emitter from my home made spark gap. Feeling very proud of myself I leaned the completed gun (combustion volume down) against the wall to allow the adhesive to cure. (You probably see what is coming...)
After a few hours my wife come home from work and I rushed to meet her with the completed spud gun I told her about the electronic ignition and invited her to see the little blue spark down in the depths of the spud gun. She had very recently taken a gun safety class and was reticent to look down the bore of the spud gun but with a little coaxing I was able to convince her to observe the electronic ignition in action. As she looked down the bore and I pressed the piezo module a violent explosion took place with a bright orange flame emitting from the end of the gun and she hit the ground motionless. I thought I had just killed her! How was I going to explain this to her family and the police?
After a few moments of checking things over we found that she was basically ok. The only injury seemed to be a small red dot on one of her eyes where it appears a small chip of PVC may have impacted her eye. Just to be sure we went to the local urgent care to check her out. When the nurse came to take her back for her exam she asked, "What happened?".
My wife turned and pointed to me saying loudly," He did it! He did it!". Somewhat embarrassing to say the least. After all, the good news was that there was nothing wrong.
There sure could have been. What apparently happened was the PVC adhesive solvent vapors had collected in the bottom of the spud gun and obviously provided the appropriate fuel to air ratio for the explosion to take place. The obvious lesson here is to make sure that the solvent vapors are purged from the gun during and after construction to make sure unintended combustion cannot take place.
Just thought you would like to know. Maybe this could be the basis for additional advice to other spud gun constructors.
BTW - Great site. I may be buying parts in the near future.
WELL, UNFORTUNATELY ONE OF OUR SPUDCHUCKIN' COMRADES HAS BEEN INJURED IN A SENSELESS AND EASILY AVOIDABLE ACCIDENT. BELOW IS A E-MAIL THAT I RECEIVED FROM HIS FATHER. THIS IS PRICELESS INFORMATION FOR NOVICE SPUD FLINGERS AND A GOOD REMINDER TO THE VETERAN POTATO MASHERS.
Joel, I took a look at your spudgun site, well done, Mr. Goldmann may have some of the kudos' coming his way too. I don't write to rain on yours or anyone else's parade, but just to blow a little angst.
My son, Kyle, living in Baltimore with his mother, had a hairspray spudgun (not your design, home-made) blow up in his face, badly burning his left eye and the surrounding facial area. He did not lose the eye, Thank God, but his cornea is exposed, he is in the hospital 3 times a week for the next few weeks for treatment of the eye, then once that is healed, he will at some point go through plastic surgery treatments for his facial restoration. This happened Monday 11/5/01.
I tell you that to ask you to do what you can to promote adult supervision and safety measures at all times. This accident happened because there were no adults present (like that always guarantees safety), and it was a crudely made gun. The igniter didn't work, he looks in where the hairspray is squirted in, he flicks the igniter again, and hey, it works................
You may or may not already do this, I haven't looked your entire site over, but selling and promoting eye/face protection, etc., would be a benefit, and possibly profitable too. Again, not trying to be a bully, just blowing a little steam, maybe someone else's teenage son will be spared the pain and eye damage?
I SPOKE PERSONALLY WITH THIS GENTLEMAN AND I WAS VERY HAPPY TO HEAR THAT HIS SON HAS REGAINED NEARLY ALL OF HIS SIGHT IN THE INJURED EYE. HOWEVER HE WILL STILL NEED A FAIR AMOUNT OF PLASTIC SURGERY TO REPAIR THE DAMAGED TISSUES AROUND THE EYE. IN SPEAKING WITH HIS FATHER I FOUND OUT THAT HIS SON GOT THE PLANS TO MAKE HIS SPUDGUN FROM A WEBSITE. (URL is unknown at this time) THE PLANS INSTRUCTED TO DRILL A HOLE IN THE SIDE OF THE CHAMBER AS THE MEANS OF FUELING THE CHAMBER. THERE WAS NO MENTION OF ANY WAY TO CLOSE THE HOLE AFTER THE FUEL WAS SPRAYED IN SO A PIECE OF DUCT TAPE WAS USED. WHEN THE SPUDGUN REFUSED TO FIRE, HE REMOVED THE TAPE AND LOOKED IN THE HOLE TO SEE IF THERE WAS A SPARK. WELL, NEEDLESS TO SAY THE FUN HE WAS HAVING WITH HIS SPUDGUN ENDED RIGHT THERE. I'M NOT GOING TO RAMBLE ON AND ON ABOUT THIS BECAUSE I THINK THAT I HAVE GOTTEN MY POINT ACROSS. NEVER, FOR ANY REASON, LOOK INTO THE BARREL OR CHAMBER OF A SPUDGUN THAT HAS FUEL IN IT. THAT IS ONE REASON FOR HAVING A CHAMBER DESIGN FEATURING A REMOVABLE END CAP. IF SOMETHING DOESN'T WORK, THE END CAN BE TAKEN OFF AND THE FUEL VAPORS ALLOWED TO EXIT THE CHAMBER BEFORE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE SPUDGUN. USING SAFETY GLASSES IS ALSO A MUST. THEY WOULDN'T HAVE PREVENTED THIS ACCIDENT BUT THE INJURIES WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH LESS SEVERE. LETS USE OUR BRAINS AND KEEP IT SAFE.
Hey, if you need a testimonial on the need for pop-off valves, I've got one for ya. I had a regulator failure on an experimental CO2-powered spudgun that ruptured the SCH40 ABS reservoir. I'm not sure what pressure it got to considering the chilling effect of any liquid CO2 that might have made it through, but it was enough to blast shrapnel some distance in every direction. One shard went through a window and sent glass bits a good thirty feet down a hallway. For what it's worth, the ABS components seemed to fragment much less than the PVC. Amazingly no one was hurt, but it was pretty much just dumb luck. I've got some digital pictures if you want 'em. I'll probably be ordering some safety valves from you whenever I feel up to messing with the beast again. In fact I think I might add two... along with an anti-siphon valve, metal expansion chamber, redundant pressure guage, temperature probe, and maybe a steel reservoir. Anyway, thanks for putting together a cool site...
Ok, I was just finished with my spudcannon(yes, cannon) and was walking outside very confidently cannon in hand when suddenly I thought that I better go get a drink because as I have learned from previous experiences that I can sit outside for hours on end with my cannons blowing small trees apart(nature preservationists hate me, so what?). So having remembered that right after spraying and loading the cannon I run back in to fetch myself a drink, while unbeknownst to me my 10 year old son was out seeing what buttons did what(I put multiple chambers on so I could just hit the next trigger and blow another spud at somthing). So I'm in the kitchen grabbing a drink when all of a sudden I hear a BOOM, out the window I saw a very starteld 10 year old boy and a hole through our neighbors fence. The moral of this sadly true story is if you want to avoid a lawsuit never NEVER let 10 year olds touch extremely powerful spud launching devices.
Here’s my story,
Hey all ya'll potato gun fanatics, I made a combustion type potato gun, barrel=1 1/2in. PVC piping; chamber=3in. PVC piping; igniter=flint striker you spin the end that sticks out of your chamber or in my case threaded end cap. That makes a kinda big spark in the chamber. At the end of my barrel I sharpened like most people, but I sharpened it inside some also. I thought that it would make the seal on the potato better...but I was wrong, dead wrong (well not really dead) anyways the seal was to tight. I crammed the potato in there anyway (again bad idea). Then I put some hair spray in the chamber and put on the end cap. I toke aim and spun the flint...after at least two seconds…POW!!! I hit the target. Chunks of potato went everwhere. Then I realized what happened. Since the potato was in there to tight like half the presser went out the back (where my flint was). When it came out it was like a blowtorch. I looked at my hand and noted that part of my ring finger was a different color (yeah that’s where the flame went). It didn't hurt at first but I said to my friend to drive, because I knew that in a minuet it would burn like crap. Then by the time I got back home (like ten-fifteen minuets later) it was hurting like crap! It was late so I decided to just sleep on it. It doesn't hurt any more, there’s a huge blister there I don’t know if I’ll have a "battle scar" there or no. Well that’s the price you pay for this kinda stuff. So I’m not gonna stop potato gunnin! Have fun, be careful, carry burn ointment, blow the crap out of an old tree, and never stop gunnin
hi, I emailed you with some questions before but after reading you stories section I have one for you: Don't ever let this happen to you.
My first spud gun was, quite by accident, an amazing piece of equipment. about 5' long, striped from muzzle to cap in red cloth tape with an old bike handle bar pad as a hand grip proclaiming quite accurately "menace", it's only short fall was it's igniter. In the absence of a barbeque sparker and with fair knowledge of physics I had inserted one of those, old fashioned, long, gas stove/grill sparkers tightly into a hole in the chamber. With no means of attaching it I prayed the pressure on it's small surface area would not drive it through my hand on lighting. It actually worked perfectly! Liquefying tens of kilos of potatoes was proving an excellent hobby until a friend used far too much propellant in the hope it would fire further. Of course it wouldn't fire so I removed the screwcap and sparker to air out the chamber and check for proper operation. After five minutes I recapped my "Menace" with the muzzle resting on my foot. My friend proceeded to force the sparker back in, pushing it by the FIRING BUTTON. The now perfect air/fuel mix shot a cut spud into my toes at near warp speed. Imagine having a brick thrown at your foot from an office block roof. When I could stand, about fifteen minutes later, and after expending my vocabulary of obscenities tenfold on my friend, I removed my shoe and sock to observe the damage. A lesser shoe than the boot I was wearing may have cost me a toe but I remained intact and without broken or bleeding parts. The next day I was out with a new can of hair spray, a bag of spuds and a limp and WITHOUT my friend who is never again to accompany a spud gun while im around. The experience did not put me off spud guns and makes a good story at parties. Spudtech.com is probably the best place to help make sure I don't repeat it. With the "Menace2" on the drawing board, this site is on the top ofmy favourites list.
-Dom, Sydney Australia
I hope my story makes 'the cut' I love spudtech.com and would like to share my story with other crazy people. thanks again
I have a story that might prevent someone from doing something stupid like me.
I was lunching my potatoes nicely out into the park behind my house when suddenly I realized that I was out of potatoes. So I looked for other random junk to put into it (sound familiar?) So anyways I was launching other stuff like socks and other random fruit. I decided to see how well dirt would fly so I took my launcher and shoved the end of the barrel into my grass and pulled out a big chunk of the grass. I filled up my combustion chamber with hairspray and screwed on the end cap. I use a barbecue igniter that was cemented right into the back of the end cap. I must not have been thinking but for some reason I wanted to push the dirt clog further down the barrel when it was loaded (I wasn't thinking). So I flipped the gun over and set it on the ground right on top of the red igniter button and started ramming the dirt down the tube. Until the igniter sparked. The ram rod flew right out of my hands and the dirt into my face. I don't know if you have ever been punched in the face but this is what it felt like. The dirt wasn't wet and there were tiny rocks in the dirt. My mouth was full of dirt my nose was full of dirt and my eyes were caked full of dirt. I couldn't blink or see there was so much dirt in them I had thought that I had just went blind. I was screaming and swearing all over the place. But well within a couple of weeks I was fine and back to shooting potatoes again. The only thing is, is that I will never look down a loaded potatoes launcher again.
Submitted by Billy Studley 6-29-02
Be sure to put this one on the site so no one else does the same thing...
I was making my first potato launcher. It was an over-under pneumatic, and I wanted it to look really nice. So, the idiot that I am, I decided to paint the parts before I glue them.....BIG mistake. It also didn't help that I was fairly new to gluing PVC.
I loaded it up and pressurized it. It worked fine a few times, but it leaked around the edges on the ends of the air chamber. I didn't think anything of it. Well, one time when my dad and I were loading the potato with the gun pointed up, there was a loud boom. All 100 lbs of the air hit me in the eyes and the end cap hit my dad's hand.
There was a loud ringing in my ears. At first, I thought I was blind. But finally I could open my eyes, and I looked around. My dad was holding his hand, hoping everything was still there. Luckily, he was fine. Nothing was broken.
Well, we went out and got a new end cap and put that on. As for the other side that leaked, we threw some epoxy around the edges. We new that side was going to blow. One day, we were at my grandparents' house, shooting over a river. We put the end of the gun into a little hole. We shot once; everything worked. But when we started to pressurize the tank, the other end blew off. The air chamber and barrel went over the cliff, but we got them back.
When we look back at the situation now, we laugh. But we always think. What if, when we were carrying around that pressurized gun, the end cap blew off and hit something or someone?
Needless to say, I built a new gun. It uses a diaphragm and is much more well built. We are much more cautious when shooting it after experiencing what we did.
Just remember: when you are building your gun, put a good layer of primer on and a LOT of glue. Also, GLUE BEFORE YOU PAINT. It makes a huge difference. When loading and shooting your gun, make sure no one is in front of, or behind it. Load the potato before you pressurize the tank, and ALWAYS shoot in a safe direction.
One day after I had just finished making a combustion spuddy I rammed a tennis ball down the barrel (very nice fit) I was really stupid and ignited the damn thing with a candle (yes a CANDLE) It worked and I didn't manage to burn myself.As the tennis ball was a reasonably loose fit it was not loud at all I didn't even think it had fired. But The Tennis ball was gone. So we loaded it up with a potato and took it out bush. I sprayed in the hairspray, which was very potent, lit the candle and rammed it in the hole. The gun belched like a tank and hot wax and flame engulfed my hand. Being out bush there was no water or ice to put on my hand. FAAAAAARK MEEEE. well I changed the design to use a firelighter so my hand was well away. Took about two weeks to heal. I stick to pneumatic now. They're good for antiquing. My brother also loaded it up with water to shoot my sister but the recoil pushed the ball valve into his hip, and knocked him to the ground. Dumbass. Left a bruise.
Hey I thought this story might suit your site.
It was about a year ago when I first started to make my first orange gun. I had previous experience with explosives and what not. So we decided to build an orange gun. It all started on a boring Sunday afternoon, when my friend and I thought “let’s make an orange gun”, so we did. We went and paid our plumber friend a visit and got the basics – a 150mm with a 100mm offset at 45° section of PVC then reducers to 60mm barrel. The design and construction took less then a week. After strenuous propellant testing (and getting hurt in the process ( I looked in the end cap to see weather the igniter was still functioning which it was unfortunately, and lost some hair as a result)) we tested it with live ammo – an orange. First shot into a wall about 20m away, resulted in orange juice, didn’t even see the orange come out of the gun. After going through about $200 worth of oranges, tennis ball, giant super balls, lemons, potato’s, apples, onions, and bread rolls we got a little bored of the same old things. One afternoon we thought……. Let’s put fertilizer in the barrel! So we chocked the barrel with a bread roll and filled half way with granulized fertilizer click – BOOM!! We fertilized half of the neighborhoods lawn. “lets see that again” back to the fertilizer but filled it to the brim……..
The orange gun exploded into about 1000000000000000000001 pieces and also went all over the neighborhood. It looked like something you would see in the matrix. My friend sustained considerable injuries and lots of blood was expelled from his body. Our friend herd it from his house.
After that we are now in the design stage of a new steel golf ball gun.
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS ONE
A few years ago a friend of a friend decided to make a spudgun after seeing mine. He thought it was pretty cool how a little squirt of Lp gas could send a spud half into orbit, but he was bent on finding a more powerful propellant. Apparently, his dad had a really nice oxyacetylene rig in his basement. Now this stuff burns a LOT hotter than Lp, so he figured it would make a nice spud launching fuel. His gun was pretty simple...4inch chamber, 2inch barrel...He decided he'd try to dry fire it in the basement. Long story short, he blew the windows out of his house and ended up in the emergency room with one inch long splinters of sch40 in his face and stomach. He recovered from his injuries and never built another spud gun. I hope this serves as a warning to all who read it ACETYLENE CAN BE DEADLY IF YOU USE IT IN A SPUD GUN! It expands much much faster than Lp and will (not "might","WILL") vaporize PVC pipe.
This is my safety story. I made my first combustion spud gun and it was not the best I made the chamber to long so finely I decided to cut it down and use a coupler to connect the ends together. I just glued it up my dad said to weight an hour so I did. It was siting on my kitchen table and I wanted to click the igniter (not know that the vapors would ignite and a crab apple was in the barrel) BOOM! All I heard was ringing in my ears the crab apple hit the wooden part of the window. I was lucky because if it was few inches up or down the window would have broke. So never ever click your igniter in the house or keep a spud/projectile in your gun.
I was working as a Autobody Repairman at a large (unnamed) shop pulling 12 hour shifts Thursday-Sunday. Weekends nobody was around so I had an entire 20 car shop all to myself, with all the materials handy for a fine Spudgun mishap.
I had just finished untaping a car from the paint booth and had a big ball of used tape plus the empty core from a roll of newsprint we used to cover windshields, ect. These rolls are not what you find at the center of wrapping paper, being 6 feet long and 3/8 of an inch in thickness. I noticed that the lid from the quart can of pigment I had been using would just fit the end of this tube so I jammed it in there and duct-taped it in place. I then wrapped the ball of tape in a shop rag (as wadding) and jammed it down the other end leaving about 4 inches of combustion space. A small hole drilled in the top of the tube provided the loading/ignition access.
Not having hairspray available, I decided to go with the next best thing - Acetylene. I grabbed the torch and without igniting it gave a healthy snort into the combustion chamber. Then another. And another. Then I became concerned about the fuel mix and threw a couple of pumps of Oxygen in there as well. I had the tube aimed at the open door of the shop balanced across the I-beams of our frame-calibrating machine. Not wanting to get too close to the cannon I lit a book of matches and tossed them at the open hole that now had Acetylene/Oxygen fumes leaking from it.
Ever hear a noise so loud it just registers as a loud squeal in your ears? I was thrown 10 feet back, the lid from the can of pigment flew back with enough force to leave a football-sized dent in my toolbox, and my glasses wound up on the roof of the paint-booth. The ball of tape was nowhere to be found, and dust continued to fall from the rafters for 5 minutes.
The moral here? Start small and work your way up. I am just glad I had not decided to try that thing as a shoulder-launched device!
i have been wanting to build a spud gun for about a year and recently i finally did. when i got it abs put together i put the bbq igniter in the front of the chamber. i had no luck with it here so i later moved it to the end cap with screws. i now have 2holes in the front of my chamber and everything is already glued together./so i being the lazy fool that i am i got some big bolts and some silicone glue and fixed it. i had no problem at all but 3 days later i was firing it when i felt a hittle burst of air hit my face and imediatly within less than a second reation i turned my head and i felt a large bolt smash into my chest and it ricoched of and hit just above my eye. i was incredibly lucky to walk away with two bruses. lesson learned dont put holes in the chamber and then try to clog them up just cut the piece off or get a new one.
OK so i read most of those stroies on your page and thought I should tell my story.
One day I decided to go out and shoot my combustion potato launcher ( 3 1/2 chamber with 36'' barrel), so I went in my front yard and loaded it...next I decided to shoot it at my wooden fence, and when I pushed the igniter...Kabooom! it took off and went over my fence and THROUGH MY NEIGHBORS SIDE DOOR (which was made of wood). After it went through the door it passed right in front of my neighbor's grandmother who was sweeping the floor, and made a hole in their wall on the opposite side of the room. Shortly afterwards..my neighbor who knew I owned a potato launcher came to my house...Anyways, I ended up apologizing to his grandmother and fixing the holes in the door and wall.
(UPDATE:Right Guard no longer uses flamable propellent)
I read the stories on you site so I figured I send mine in too. The first spud gun I build had a 3" x 20" chamber with a 1.5" x 4' barrel and, a BBQ igniter wires through the cap and siliconed them in place about 1/4 inch apart. It was great, 110 yard shots no problem. Well, one time me and my cousin tried to fire it and nothing happened we couldn't figure it out we took the cap off and tested it away from the chamber it did not work. The wires broke from taking the cap on and off. So my cousin sprays right guard in the chamber and says just put the wires in there and click. Well, I did just that. He was standing only a few feet behind me when a huge 3 foot flame shot out of the chamber with the strangest sound we ever heard. We though it was hilarious. My other cousin thought we got hurt and came running out on the deck to see what happened. We were laughing to hard to answer her. Neither of us got hurt and we now use two bolts screwed into the chamber to ignite it. That helped learn what not to do.
I have built two spudguns (one with interchangable
barrels) so I should know what I am doing. One of my
spudguns that I don't like very much I gave to my
cousin. He's not really into launching stuff out of
sewage pipes so he never used it. When I went out to
visit him it had been probably a year since the gun
was used. Just to waste time I decided to shoot it.
BIG mistake. It had been kept outside for the entire
year so the seal of hot glue around the igniter was
broken. When I hit the button the potato came
straight out. The only problem was that not all of
the fire went out of the barrel. Some of it came out
around the igniter where my hand was. The burning
hair spray burnt (no duh) my hand but it also like
someone had poured melted plastic on my hand. That
stuff did not look or feel like skin. It was like
that for several weeks. The moral of the story is
that you should always check the seal on the igniter
before launching your spud.
document created 7/7/2002 12:09:41 AM;
last modified 9/12/2009 6:20:01 AM