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Visitor submited spudgun stories.

I will post stories submited via e-mail by visitors to my site However, there are a few criteria that must be met in order for your story to make it on this page.

  • The story must pertain to some experience you have had with a launching device.
  • I post stories EXACTLY the way they are submited. Really bad spelling or foul language...Sorry.
  • Stories that discuss things that I deem to be unsafe.....See ya...
  • I do appreciate stories that discuss accidents or mishaps. Those will be posted on the safety page of the site so that others may learn what not to do.

Stories of interest from site visitors.

This is a rather harmless story about my first attempt with a combustion powered potato gun (around 1999). I was in a big garage about half a city block long, and the gun had just finished curing. So, I loaded up an apple into the barrel, and pushed it all the way down. I sprayed in some hair spray, and turned the end cap back on. I had spent the extra $2, and used a gas grill ignitor. I aimed it at a layed over trash can, and fired away. Kaboom! Sure enough, it fired. So, I opened up the end cap, and sprayed in some more fuel, smooshed an apple into the barrel, and handed it to a friend. *click* Nothing happened. He steps a bit closer to the trash barrel, and *click* nothing happens. This goes on till the end of the potato gun is almost inside the mouth of the trash can. *click* KABOOM! I look up, and my friend is covered head to foot in bits of apple. He wasn't hurt whatsoever, but he was very messy. We learned about venting the combustion chamber, and other neat tricks to make it a sure-fire gun later on, but that incident is still with us to this day.

There ya have it, hope this provides a bit of humor. I've since destroyed that gun, after talking to some people about the effects of heat and rapid expansion on PVC. I now am in the process of building a new compressed air gun, and I hope to have it built by the end of the winter. If things come along nicely, i'll send you a picture or two of the completed project.

Until then, Zach


I noticed you had some stories from people, so I figure I'll tell you mine. My best friend and I made two guns, mine was the prototype. We both use T sections at the tail end of the combustion chamber, however the significant difference is that my stem igniter was in the vertical section of the T and my friend's was aligned horizontally with the barrel and the igniter was placed in a hole drilled in the end cap. My end cap was solid. One day I made the mistake of putting his end cap on my chamber. I hope you see where this is going. I sprayed in the propellant and took close aim for a tree. I drew the gun up to my neck and looked down the barrel and fired. Needless to say right after firing the gun was on the deck and I was actually laughing in response to my stupidity, but it did hurt. I was luckily able to get ice on the burn ASAP and prevented any permanent scarring. I know you're probably wondering what kind of twisted individual laughs at an extreme amount of pain, I do. I t was really quite comical at the moment. I always make sure I am using only my pieces when making my own variant of mashed potatoes nowadays.

Sincerely, Doug


Oh ya, I have a story to tell you, and maybe you can put this on your site to warn people not to make the same mistake I did. When constructing my first gun, I couldn't get enough spark from the BBQ igniter to light the fuel. I did as recommended, spray for 1-2 seconds. When I opened the back of the chamber to let it air out while I rewired my BBQ igniter. While I was doing this I still had a spud in the barrel, and the butt of the gun was pointing up. About 10 minutes had gone by, I put the BBQ igniter back on the gun. Now I figured that since I left the back of the gun open for about 10 minutes that all the fuel would have been gone. Well I was wrong, cause when I put the BBQ igniter on it, looked down inside it to see if it would spark, and I hit the button.....BOOOM!!!!!!!. I was very very lucky to not have gotten seriously injured. My eyebrows and eyelashes were a total lose and my bangs are extremely short now, and I had some burns on my nose and under my eyes and forehead. The lesson here is to never think that all the fuel is gone from you gun, even if it doesn't fire that doesn't mean it is empty. I could simply mean that there isn't enough oxygen to fuel ratio in the chamber. I guess what happened to me is that since the potato was still in the barrel. And that hairspray is a heavy gas it all settled in the bottom and when I hit the bottom BOOM. So I have now learned a good lesson, never never look down the barrel or the rear opening of the gun. Another good idea would to have had some parental supervision as well. I was by myself and didn't really know what I was doing. So another good idea is always have somebody there with experience in these things.

Thank You, Papasmurf

P.S. I have found that your website is the best on the web. It has everything a person needs to build a spud gun of any kind. Keep up the good work. :)


Rob's Story

The first potato gun I ever made, I made the big mistake of putting an ABS reducer on PVC everything else. But I used an "All-Purpose Cement" so I thought "Oh it will work fine. "WRONG.....DEAD WRONG...I was working on my gun, putting in a new igniter. I use a Sunbeam Grill Master Igniter. It takes 9volt batteries. It is good because it has rapid-fire sparking just by holding the button down...Well, Anyway, I finally thought it was done so I went outside for a test run. I had shot the gun before using a standard push button Grill Starter. I also thought of a method of spraying the propellant down the barrel and then ramming the potato down to create pressure in the chamber. So I sprayed the propellant (spray paint) down the barrel, loaded the potato, and thought to myself "This better work". And I pressed the button.....KA-BLOOEY....The barrel shot about 15 feet, while the spud keeps going and shatters a window about 140 yards down the road....I stood there for a few seconds in shock. When I noticed what I had done, I picked up my barrel, grabbed the can of spray paint, and bolted in my house. I was scared shitless/in shock for about 10 minutes....Then after awhile I realized how f***** lucky I was that I didn't kill myself. I also realized how funny the whole ordeal was....I still laugh at that whenever I think of it.

Rob


Oh the stories of cannon funI will share one, probably the scariest of all. I was building my first piston cannon and being the way that I am, I didnt want to start small and get bigger, I wanted to start big and get huge. So my friend and I designed and started constructing a cannon with a 7 foot 3 chamber with a 1.5 barrel. We built the entire thing but couldnt get the piston to seal for the life of us. We tried everything, the piston was made from a 2 coupler with 3/16 neoprene for the seal and automotive grease to make it slide. It seemed like it would work, but it wouldnt. So one Saturday morning I decided that I was sick and tired of trying to get it to work, we had been working for like a month on and off, so I cut the front coupler and all the fittings off and pulled the barrel out. I was know left with a 3 pipe a little shorter than the original 7. I went to Home Depot that morning in hopes of finding a solution to my cannon woes. I found anther 10 section of 3 pipe and 2 3 wyes. I brought all this home and glued it all together into a beast of a cannon. This time I decided to put a coupler on the back side of the barrel (where the piston would seal) and let the glue dry. The next morning I powered it up, still a massive leak. I took out the piston, rebuilt it, lightly pushed an end cap on the barrel just to see if air was leaking when I powered it, got it up to about 20 PSI pulled the trigger, Vavooooooom! Crack! The end cap was shot at my garage wall with incredible force and shattered into about 45 pieces. I was so excited. She has preformed wonderfully ever sense.

Tim B.

Plymouth MN


Hi, I was looking around your very impressive site, and thought you might be interested to hear about my old cannon. I say old, because I had to leave it with a friend in Ontario when I finished university (I don't think Air Canada would have appreciated it as much as you or I). I built it in '97 when classes got boring (about week 3 of second year). The barrel was 1.5" X 4' and the chamber was about 2.5" X 1.5'. When my roomate and I first assembled it, we weren't sure what to use for fuel....so we tried gasoline. It was similar to the story on your site: , nothin, nothing..."what the hell?"...5 min passes (potatoe followed by a 10 foot jet of flame). We didn't realize that the gasoline needed time to vaporize in the chamber. You could wait another 5 min, and with nothing in the barrel, get a second 10' jet of flame, just from the residuel gasoline. Needless to say, this was a short lived practice. I appreciate the tip on Right Guard! We had been using AquaNet with good results, so I can't wait to build another and try RG. With AquaNet, we found letting it sit for 2min after loading and charging the chamber allowed the adhesives to settle, leading to more combustion. Although the odour wasn't great, onions made excellent projectiles because their layers peeled off to form a perfect fit, and the juice made a natural lube. One more short story only you would enjoy: I lent it to a friend who lived in a frat house (you can already see where this is going). It kicked around for a week or so until someone though it would be funny to fire it into the living room fireplace...without waring the room's other occupants. No one was hurt (that wouldn't be funny) but everyone's ears were ringing for days (very funny)....I could feel the bang in the basement. I haven't read your site thouroughly enough to know if you've tried this, but my favorite ignitor consists of a threaded plug with 1/2" hole drilled in the center. A barbeque lighter is then epoxied in, and the plug screws into the rear of the chamber. Worked 100% of the time for me! I know having your hand on something like that sounds sketchy (read:stupid), but in 3 years, we never had a problem! Glad to know there's someone else out there!

Jono


First off I'd like to say nice site. I wish I would have seen this site back before I started making my spudguns, but then again me having no instruction forced me to use my own ingenuity to come up with some good ideas. The design I've been using has evolved quickly over the last dozen or so guns. Most recently of wich was the big boy I helped my buddy make on his birthday. When i say big i mean BIG, with a 2.5'+ by 3" combustion chamber with a 2" barel that had to be at least 8'. I found an excelent ignightor on a BBQ grill, but it isnt the standard click type. The ignightor contains a AAA battery and has to electrical contacts in wich it sends out an electrical arc when the momentary botton is pushed. The only problem I have with it is they cost about $20-$30 instead of the $10 a regular one costs. Anyway the ignighter is the cause of my story. We were showing the gun off to a friend, when for some reason it wouldnt fire. I even tried opening the chamber and airing it out and spraying fresh fuel in, but to no success. So there i was holding the gun beside me with the butt end on the ground and the ram rod (wich was a wieght bar with the weights removed) sticking out the end of the barrel, with the potato still in there. I was explaining to my buddie how the gun worked since he didnt get to see it fire, and when i pressed the button...BOOOOOOM. I looked up and all i saw was a 20 pound steal bar flying through the air about 30 feet above my head. After getting over the shock of what had just happened and checking to make sure nobody got hit by anything i took a minute to try to figure out where my ram rod had gone. and then i saw it. there it was, sticking out of the ground on the other side of the yard, with about a foot of it burried in the ground. The moral of the story? Don't ever asume the gun isn't going to work, and watch for falling objects.

Anthony

Phoenix, Arizona


I have never constructed a spudgun, but my cousin and I had some fun with one several years back. I've seen how much fun they can be, as well as how dangerous they can be. I just wanted to thank you for promoting safety on your website. As a 21 year old college student, safety seems to take a back burner for many of my friends. This cannot be, and I think sites like yours will help make safety more important.

Many Thanks,

Jared Schindler


About 6 months ago I was bored so I went on the internet. I rememberd those little hand held spud guns i used to love so i looked up "spud guns" but i was surpise when i clicked on your websight and found these big monsters used to propell whole(or bits) of potatos hundreds of yards away. eventually i finished my pneumatic spudgun and a mistevease grin spread across my face, i picked up my gun went outside and pumped it up(with a stupid bike pump)untill it was about to explode and aimed it at my neighbours car. i though it would smash all over his window so he would have to clean it off so i opened the valve and phhhhhut-SMASH i almost pissed myself because i smashed both his side windows(it was so powerfull it went through two!) :O luckely he didnt call the cops and hes never seen my gun. now i only fire it at a target i made. just though you might like to here my story to warn other people not to make the same mistake i did.

!!!cĮ@g!!!


My interest in all things that shoot led me to spud guns. I had seen one of those toy spud guns that shot potato bits and looked them up on the internet. That's when I found out about these crazy PVC contraptions that launch whole potatoes. Needless to say, I was already addicted. Together with my father, we made a pneumatic gun.

Once I was finished and the glue dried, the first projectile I used was a barrel full of water. I pumped the gun up and filled the ENTIRE barrel full of water. I then proceeded to shoulder the gun and fire. THUNK! I thought a 12 gauge shotgun was heavy recoil! It doesn't even compare to a spudgun full of water! The recoil was so hard, it knocked me back about 7 steps and I was just shy of falling on my butt. \

I reported this to my dad, who did not witness the extreme power and recoil of our creation. My dad, however, thought it was just because I was just a little kid (I only weighed 95 pounds at the time) and didn't think it was as bad as I had told him.

I was quite eager to prove him wrong, so I pumped it up and filled it full of water and handed it to him. He took a relaxed position and fired. The recoil flung the gun straight out his hands and the hose clamp we used to attach the trigger mechanism gave him a nasty cut. Not only that, we also had to buy a new solenoid valve because our original unit broke when it hit the ground, and we both ended up laughing.

After this incident we do watch the amount of water we put in our spudgun. So remember, spudguns can shoot two ways: forwards and backwards.

Mike W.


Last winter I was exploring the internet in my computer class when I came across your site amoung others. Some of the sites had a bunch of cannons with singel solenoid valves that shot 500+ feet so I built one with 4 solenoids. since I live in a suburban area I had never has a chance to power it up over 50 psi because of the noise it makes. After about a month of messing around I finally got my chance to really use it. My cousins live out in the middle of nowhere so I figured that no one would have a problem with it. After the first few shots, my little cousin said we should shoot it at his friends private paintball coarse. I thought it would be cool to try to knock over one of the boards on the course. so we were about 400 yards from the coarse and his friends grandmothers house was about another 400 yards further and about 200 yard to the right. I decided to bust out one of my PVC flares. The problem with this one was that the tail was a little disformed, and it was heavely weighted with a few skateboarding ball bearings at the nose. We charged it to 120 Psi(30 psi over what we usually used) with a 12V pump and were set. My cousin did the final aiming, pointing it at about 50 degrees, and we were set, we ran back about 15 feet for saftey and i turned off the saftey swich and launched that sucker. BOOOM!!! Right form the start I could see something was going wrong. The flare had started to veer right and had gone way farther than we had expected. We started to sprit towards his grandmothers house and in about 10 seconds we heard a loud thump and then some screaming. When we got to the house, there was a 4 inch hole in the roof. we went inside and his friend and his entire family were staring at a PVC pipe with a blunt nose stuck half way through the ceiling. Everything was fine except for $500 dollars in damages and a family of pissed of rednecks. The moral of the story... Know how powerful your cannon is and use ammo that shoots strait.


Ok, I hope this is funny to you as it was to me. I built a 7 foot combustion gun. My friend wanted to fire it. I told him he could, but watch out for the kick of the gun. He's not a small boy. When he fired it I looked back at him and he was lying down on his back with the gun in his hands. IT HAD KNOCKED HIM OVER!! Next time he was ready for the kick of the gun.

Ryno


A few winters ago we built a potato gun on our own with just our own ideas and had fun shooting potatoes, but soon wanted to launch new projectiles. Being that we live in Ohio, we had an endless supply of snow. Snowballs work great!!! Pack em real hard and shove em in and your gun will shoot louder and farther. Another thing we did was to take caulk tubes that were half full or less and shoot those. A little bit of masking tape wraped around the top and bottom of the tube to make it the right diameter for a good seal turns it into a 200yd rocket!

Al


Well, after building a WAY over powered gun, for the use of launching T-Shirts at the radio station I work at part time..... Its was time for some trial shots! How far could it go, what kinda force did it have, etc.... Well, a lesson I earned early, DO NOT FIRE STRAIGHT UP!!!! even on the calmest day, straight up IS NOT STRAIGHT DOWN!!!! So back to my story...... I fired a 20 ounce plastic water bottle straight up into the air, 30 seconds later I was waiting to hear it come down, About 30 seconds after that... Myself, and and my Friends heard a loud crash... we went to investigate. I was at My place of business, I own a towing company, and we have an acre lot out back for cars involved in accidents or Impounded by the local police departments. Well, anyway, we found that that Plastic Bottle had Taken out the back window of a brand new Chrysler seabring.... BAD, VERY BAD, DO NOT AIM STRAIGHT UP, EVER!!! the good news is that the car was totaled out by the insurance company, and the scrap yard was scheduled to pick it up in the next few days..... Yes, I was VERY LUCK.

So, after that mishap, we aimed at the inside wall of out shop. A 12 ounce aluminum soda can. it stuck to the wall. enough said, the gun was powerful enough.

Kids, Play it safe, Don't aim up, or into unknown territory.

Robert Graham


Hey Joel, just thought that since lots of people have submitted their spudgun stories, I might as well send in mine:

I was just pulling in to the driveway, I was at my friend's house. I hadn't seen him in a very long time, so I didn't know what to expect. I got out of the car and saw him standing there with a few wires (which turned out to be the BBQ ignition) and an eight-foot hollow PVC pipe about 4 inches wide. I didn't know what it was at the time, but he just told me that it "launches stuff."

So we went into his backyard to lock and load this thing. He stuck an old t-shirt down the barrel as a stopper with a broomstick, then dropped a Coca-Cola can half-filled with pebbles down into it. Then, he turned it to the other end, unscrews the cap from the 6-inch barrel, and sprayed the inside with about five seconds worth of hair spray.

He said we'd have to tilt it at a pretty steep angle so that it wouldn't go too far. It was about 70 degrees. He bent down and rested the chamber about two feet above the ground while I had the barrel on my shoulder like a bazooka. At the time, I didn't know how bazooka-like this thing really was.

He counted down from five, and hit the the BBQ ignition. BLOOIE! "Blooie" turned out to be the by-product of a Coke can that was about 400 feet away very quickly.

I was so thrilled by this that we spend the whole afternoon sending stuff to the ionosphere. Tennis balls, Pop cans, etc. Once, we loaded the barrel with a baseball, the plan being that he would shoot straight up and I would try to catch it.

Remember Robert Graham's story also on this page about "Straight up is not straight down"? Well, whoops. Not only did the ball land about 40 feet out of reach, it went so high I lost it. It took about 20 seconds for it to come down. Where the ball actually landed was well out of everything's way and no people/houses/etc. were within a hundred feet of being hit.

That day gave me the idea of building/buying my own spudgun, which led me to your site.

--Mike E. from Cincinnati, Ohio.


We made a killer cannon. We were gluing it together just had put the igniter in the first chamber. We set it on it's end were we had the screw on cap. My friend wanted to make sure the igniter worked so he looked down the third chamber as I sparked it. All the glue and cleaner went up in this huge flame and burnt all the hair off of his face and head. Then our dumbass friend broke it off of his second story balcony. I wish I had a picture of the one we made. It was hand held and over 8 feet long. Never made another one. But after viewing your website. I am going to start one. Not sure if you know it or not. 96Rock gave you guys a huge plug today. They are out of Atlanta. The Regular Guys show. Check out their web site at www.96rock.com great morning show.


Several years ago, a few friends and I went to a pumpkin chucking competition. Yes, those idiots (Geniuses?) that throw around pumpkins every year about this time via various artillery pieces. We were inspired, and formed the only known all-teenager pumpkin launcher manufacturing/transport/firing team. Between us, we initially pooled our cash and purchased a used school bus off the county. Shelled the bus down to the chassis, enclosed the cab and a small firing control station, and proceeded to build a launcher onto the very long chassis. The launcher itself is basically a drastically scaled up combustion 'tater gun, and instead of using propane or hair spray, we use liquid gasoline. All told, the barrell is 25 feet long, and through the use of a backplate (Which is actually propelledforward, pushing the projectile), our 2.5 foot diameter launcher can send anything from micro machines to big league jack-o-lanterns into near orbit. We set a competition record of nearly 2 miles on a 10 pound pumpkin last year, in our first year of competition. This was without everything running up to spec. Now, this year, we've added a computer aided targetting system (via hydraulics and some ghetto computer drivers to operate the control switches) and have tested up to 100% filling of the chamber with pure gasoline.

But, that's not enough for us. We decided to build a potato gatling gun. After a few months of work in the shop, and some advising by local workers, we produced a truck mounted gatling gun, powered by gasoline as well. It's capable of tossing 100 'taters per minute from it's six barrels, however, we only operate it with ammo belts of 50 spuds (As any larger, the belts get very difficult to transport)

Our first operational test went off with a bang, when the barrells overheated and set off a fire, which spread to the truck (and the gun's) 40 gallon fuel tank, and literally blew up a $1000 used GMC truck.

Everyone was uninjured, as we have always taken the care to fire our untested weapons remotely, from a 10-foot deep trench a rather large distance a way.

The gun, despite the catastrophic damage to the truck, was largely undamaged. It's been converted to propane now, which we consider to be much less volatile, and we use very small canisters and short firing bursts.This year, we plan to take it to the competition, along with the charred pieces of truck to show just how important it is to make sure your artillery piece is properly cooled.

-Tony Artillery Transport and Firing Chief, "Redneck Militia" Pumpkin'-Chunkin' Group


I was chatting with a fellow employee where I work, and he told me of his spudgunning adventures in the military. This was during the Vietnam era. He told me that in the barracks he and his fellow soldiers made the crude tennis ball cannons with duct tape and empty cans like are so often described. They used lighter fluid as the propellant.

It seemed that in lack of anything better to do at nights(a.k.a. boredom) they would set just inside the doorway and wait for their victims to pass in the barracks. The victims were usually going to use the restroom or shower room. The silent spudgunners would sneak out of their doorway and THWWWWACKKK! to the back of their comrade's head. He said that many of the men had these tennis ball launchers and used them quite regularly, sort of an on going game of tag.

Now with these cannons being so crudely constructed and with lighter fluid for fuel, the shots were not very consistent. He said you would sometimes her a small boom, then next time a KERPLOWW! He said the poor guys who got the later would often roll in the hallway with the force of the impact.

As all good things must come to an end, so did their tennis ball cannon exploits. Someone accidentally let a KERPLOWW! go and ended up hitting someone of higher rank (I forget which rank - darn bad memory) DIRECTLY in the family jewels!!!!!! He was bedridden for 3 days and could barely hobble down the hall for some days after that. All I can say is what a poor unfortunate man!


Joel - I'm a firearms instructor at a medium-size law enforcement agency and in a military organization, and a competitive shooter under both hats. I'm around a lot of different guns and at one time was a gunner on a 106mm recoilless rifle. I had heard of spudguns but never gave them much thought; after all if I wanted to shoot there were plenty of guns and ammo. Then a friend brought a 2" combustion gun (he called it a lime gun) to an outing and when he put a lime over a radio tower (!) I had to build one. I eventually want to build a pneumatic gun, but decided to start with combustion for simplicity and portability. I visited lots of sites for ideas. For nostalgic reasons, I decided to mimic a shoulder-fired RR. I used a 2" barrel because I liked the idea of chunking limes, and a 3" chamber and 1.5:1 ratio because the proportions gave the look I was after and were in the power range I wanted. I used a couple of 3/4" elbows, a tee and some 3/4" pipe to make a pistol grip with the BBQ igniter housed longitudinally like a real trigger, and installed a BBQ spark plug instead of angled screws. There are no exposed wires. If I can get hold of a digicam I'll send a few photos. I use a short piece of 2" in the produce department to select limes of the proper OD. I have also shot a few rubber balls, orange juice bottles, and discovered that a couple layers of sweatshirt material make a great patch/sabot for golf balls. Ah, yes, at last we get to the "don't do this" part. We were trying to determine whether a lime would penetrate a rusty old trash-burning barrel (it will) when one of the guys demanded proof of my assertion that the "Veginator" would put a patched golfball out of sight vertically (it will). So I loaded one up and, placing the backplate on the groundand leaning the piece downrange a bit, let fly. About the time the ball disappeared from sight, I noticed that the wind had changed from blowing downrange to uprange. The guys did snap pretty quickly once I lit out toward the flimsy metal overhead back at the firing line, and followed in good order. The ball did get blown back beyond the firing line and landed in the parking area, so we didn't get to find out if it would penetrate the overhead just falling by gravity, and we don't know the time of loft/fall because the guy doing the timing abandoned his effort when everyone ren under the cover, but it did bounce pretty high off the dirt surface. Thankfully, it didn't hit anything of value on any of its bounces. Murphy #47: If there's enough wind, "downrange" can become a fluid term. PS, one of those really small lightsticks stuck in the back end of a lime makes a great tracer at night. Also, we use the euphemism, "produce accelerator" around people who lack the "need to know". <


Not yet confirmed by darwin.......

A couple of years ago, when I was 17, my brother and I decided to make a
potato cannon (yes cannon, and in Michigan people don't say spud. We
also say pop (soda is carbonated water) and grill (barbecue is a sauce),
much to the suprise of people from other states.). We used a 4 in by 3
ft combustion chamber and a 3 in by 8 ft barrel that was interchangeable
with other smaller barrels but they're less fun. For ignition we used a
flint igniter for Coleman lanterns because they only $3 compared to $15
for a piezoelectric grill igniter. Unfortunately, we could not find any
potatos that were large enough to launch so we bought a few rutebegas
instead. They weighed in at 3 lbs a piece. On our first launch ever, we
filled the chamber with 8 seconds of Aussie hairspray (believe it or
not, that's actually the optimum amount. we figured that out through
later experimentation), hit the igniter and sent the rutebega so far
over the lake that we were at that we couldn't see where it landed. An
hour later, one of my cousins got back on his jet ski and said that he
just helped a dude out of a sinking row boat. The rower said that a
flying vegatable (he didn't know that it was a rutebega) had blown a
whole in the bottom of his boat. Now that was close.

There more to this story however. Later that day we figured out how to
launch pop cans using newspaper as a plug to seal the barrel. We
decided, using our knowledge of physics, to calculate the muzzle
velocity by timing the amount of time the can was in the air. After
filling the pop can with water we launched it straight up. A little over
8 seconds later, it landed on decorative stone about a foot away from
me, shattering the stone. We later calculated the velocity to be about
33 meters per second (75 mph). That was one sweet cannon.


The spelling sucks......but it is a good read.....

First of all, love ya site, and i envy u sooo much. i'd do anything to be able to build spud launchers for a living.

A story of two friends, with the need for something bigger

my story starts when my dads friend built a lemon launcher. it was years ago, when i was bout 8 or something (i am now 16)have absolutley no memory of it, but the idea stuck in my head ever since. me and my friend have been playing with the idea of launching anything out of pipe since we were bout 10 years old. we started off in his backyard, with a small piece of tennis ball width pipe, a box of matches and a can of deoderant. this design was terrible. we had a whole in the side of the pipe, so to ignite it, u had to stick a match thorugh the whole. it burnt ya hand every time!! we were over the moon if we could get it to shoot the length of his backyard (about 15 metres). we also thought the more fuel, the better it shot. we had no idea of ratios. but these days were important, they made a solid foundation for us to build on, and since then, many launchers have come and gone. our first big breakthorugh was a small golf ball launcher, about 2 1/2 feet long. it was combustioin, and used a peezo sparker (barbecure sparker). this shot pretty well...but we wanted more! a trip to uncle's house (who is a plumber, which is EXTREMELY convenient) left us with some 3" PVC and some Golf ball size PVC. we brought the bits home, built her up, and test fired her. she was about a metre and a half long, with a peezo sparker for ignition. our first test fire was just firing blanks (i.e. no projectile), and firing it out my workshop window. well that didn't go too well, it was way louder than we expected (enough to rattle the windows), and dad was NOT happy.
another journey to my rellies in ballarat found us launching golf balls at my other uncle's house. well, i can tell you, it was a shock. this thing shot a good 300-350 metres, a HUGE upgrade from our smaller cannon. we were using engine starter as a fuel...a must for any enthusiest. a few months later, and that launcher was dead. my sister's friend took it away with and it ended up getting thrown out, oh the cruelty! i was pissed off, really, really pissed off. but another trip to my uncles house got us another boot load of spare PVC piping, enough to make another luancher. same as the other one, 3" pipe, but the barrel is slightly smaller than golf ball. i think 1 1/2". i made the chamber a bit bigger, and built it. it uses an external sparker ignition system. i havn't fired a proper projectile, since i live in a quiet suburban court, the location isn't exaclty perfect for launching potatoes a few hundred metres! but nevertheless, plenty of blank fires have told me this launcher is gonna be good, really good.

so we've come along way from a little, match lit tennis ball thing, to a 2 metre spud launcher. it's been a fun journey, designing, creating and imporving on every launcher we make. all i can say is, if u wanna get into spud launchers, then start small, and built up. nothings more satisfying than knowing u have built something that can launch a solid projectile so far!! also, i cannot express how much safety measures need to be taken when playing around. me and my friend have been through many sets of eyebrows.


Safety people....safety......

Dunno if this will make it up on the stories page or not, but I was checking
out some of your launchers and, basically I just wanted to share my
innovation, I reckon. A couple summers ago a good buddy of mine and my
brothers and I started a summer-vacation-long obsession with "tater haters,"
starting with a 3" barrel, 6" chamber version, and culminating a year later in
my own 1.5" barrel, 4" chamber golf ball gun (it's been called the "Anti-
Aircraft Iron" from time to time) equipped with a ball valve in the back for
spraying the propellant in. That way we don't have to unscrew anything-just
twist it, spray inside, and close it up and shoot. With a couple extra
modifications that are tough to explain without actually seeing the gun, it
shoots 99% of the time and can send a golf ball at least 250 yards (that's
where the driving range signs stopped). Crabapples are nice too. In earlier
experiments, before tinkering some more, I hit the button and got no shot, so
I looked into the chamber to see if there was a spark, and sure enough, the
flame shot out and singed my left eyebrow and gave me a receding hairline.
When the same problem happened again, I once more looked into it, but stayed
several feet back and had my brother push the button. Thought I was safe at
that distance, but I got another faceful of flames. Fun times... The good
part is that there are still apple stains on the bridge pylon we were shooting
at, two years later. Anyway, ball valves are great for the rear end, if you
don't have a compressor and have to use
propellant.


Also see the Do's & Don'ts section of the safety page.........

ok,this happened not that long ago. Me and my buddy(andeh on the forum) were out at my parents bowling alley and were ready for a good night of spudding after we got back from getting 15 lbs of spuds. we had about an hour of launches when we found out some old ladies called the security patrol(rent a cop) about some kids firing off fireworks. Now ho MANY PEOPLE SHOOT FIREWORKS WITH SPUDS, AN AIR COMPRESSOR, AND PVC??!!! so we just went to the other side of the bowling alley( where the owner,my mom,told us to go) and started blasting holes in 3/8 in plywood. great day, just some dumb old ladies. my advice, never shoot around where old ladies will be!!
ryno








document created 7/6/2002 11:17:36 PM; last modified 7/16/2003 11:15:18 PM

 

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