A potato gun is a pneumatic launcher with a fairly wide barrel that uses potatoes or other materials for projectiles. A bicycle pump is used to build up pressure in an air chamber, and quickly releasing the air through a valve forces the potato out of the barrel. This gun can be extremely dangerous because of the build-up of pressure inside. If the materials or workmanship is substandard, the gun can explode and cause serious injuries. Build a potato gun at your own risk.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 2 lengths of PVC pipe, 2 inches in diameter and 2 feet in length, not threaded
- Valve stem cut from a bicycle inner tube
- Drill and bit approximately the same diameter as the inner tube valve stem
- Female PVC end cap, 2 inches in diameter
- Female PVC valve, 2 inches in diameter
- PVC primer and cement
Sand the ends of the PVC pipes, the PVC valve and the end cap inside and out. Remove all the dust and particles from the sanding.
Drill a hole about four inches from the end of one of the PVC pipes. Sand and remove the particles.
Apply the PVC primer and cement around the hole inside and out. Stick the bicycle valve through the hole from the inside of the pipe and hold firmly in place for at least a minute. This gives the cement time to set.
Prime and cement the end cap onto the same end of the pipe that has the bicycle valve. Apply primer and cement to the outside of the end of the pipe and the inside of the end cap. Firmly seat the end cap onto the pipe, then place the end cap on the ground and press down as hard as you can on the other end so that the end cap is pushed as far as it can go. Hold this in place for at least a minute.
Prime and cement one side of the PVC valve to the other end of the same pipe. Again, push down on it as hard as you can for at least a minute to seat the valve and give the cement time to set. The part of the gun you have just finished is the air chamber.
Prime and cement the other PVC pipe to the other side of the PVC valve. This PVC pipe will be the barrel of the potato gun. Remember to push down on it firmly as you did in Steps 4 and 5.
Tips and warnings
- You can decorate your potato gun with model paints found at craft stores.
- Use a foam ball or something lighter as ammunition to minimise damage and injury.
- These instructions are for informational purposes only. The gun can be very dangerous and destructive.
- Use extreme care when assembling the gun to make sure it is as safe as possible. If the gun is not sealed and glued properly, it can explode in your hands when in use, causing severe injury or even death.
- A build-up of high pressure inside the potato gun launches the potato from the barrel. Never build up more than 45.4 Kilogram per square (psi) inch of air pressure to use this gun. A good place to start is about 35 psi.
- Never point the gun at anyone and remember that dense ammunition such as potatoes can and will break glass and damage walls, not to mention injure people and animals.
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