Monday, April 21, 2008

Potato Cannon Spug Gun Project (not music related)

A few weeks ago after watching some videos on YouTube, I decided to jump in and make my own potato cannon (often called a spud gun). Basically, these things are low-tech muzzle-loading guns made from PVC or ABS plastic pipe. My first one had a 1-1/2" bore, 4 ft. barrel, and a 3" chamber that was 18" long. I've learned that the "ideal" ratio of chamber to barrel volume is 1.5:1 to maximize muzzle velocity for the projectile (potato). I've also learned that one of the more common fuels, hair spray, is far from ideal. For one thing, it takes more of it to get the appropriate "bang". Also, it smells awful after burning and leaves a sticky residue that can gunk up your gun over time.

A aerosol product that I remembered as being very flammable proved to be much superior to hair spray: Static Guard. The smell after ignition is not great, but it beats hair spray. Others have reported that Axe deodorant also works well. I'm interested to try white gas (pure gasoline used for camping stoves) sprayed from a mister. One common mistake I see a lot on forums, YouTube and elsewhere is the use of too much fuel. It really takes very little, and you need a lot of air for the fuel to properly burn. I spray Static Guard for about a half second - that's all it takes even for a large gun like my second one.

So here's a video of some construction details and also the results...


I've just learned that the ATF considers suppressors, even on spud guns, ILLEGAL. So I'll be dismantling mine...


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