If you are looking to make an explosive entrance to a party, or just want to let loose and celebrate, a confetti cannon might do the trick. Confetti cannons are pneumatically powered devices that will blast confetti into the air, the result being a gentle shower of colourful paper bits. A version of the confetti cannon can be created at home, and these instructions will show you how. How you clean up the mess of confetti afterwards, however, is up to you.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Refillable water-based fire extinguisher
- 2 feet of 1 1/2-inch ABS pipe
- 1/5-inch ABS end cap
- 3/8-inch ID barb to MIP brass fittings
- Air compressor
- Adjustable wrenches
- Thread tape
- Pipe cement or duct tape
Prepare your refillable fire extinguisher for use with your confetti cannon. The refillable extinguisher should have a valve stem for refilling with an air compressor and a bicycle pump attachment. Empty the fire extinguisher of its contents, and unscrew the hose. Use a large wrench to unscrew the top of the extinguisher. Remove the any leftover hose from inside then take and empty out any other contents. Reassemble the fire extinguisher by replacing its top and hose.
Attach the end cap to the pipe using pipe cement, glue or duct tape. This assembly does not have to be completely airtight, but make sure the seal is secure. The better the seal, the more powerful the confetti blast. This portion will be the cannon assembly. The confetti will be loaded directly into the pipe.
Drill a hole into the centre of the end cap of your cannon assembly. The whole should be about 3/4 inch in diameter.
Screw the MIP side of your brass fitting into the hole in the end cap. You will attach the hose from your fire extinguisher to the barb at the end of the fitting.
Assemble your confetti cannon by attaching the fire extinguisher tube to the cannon assembly. Make sure the connection is secure and tight.
Pressurise your fire extinguisher with an air compressor via the extinguisher's bicycle valve. Ideally the pressure should be around 100 psi, but you can adjust the power of your cannon to taste.
Set your cannon in an open area and point it away from any people or pets. Fill the cannon assembly with shredded paper and confetti. Remove the safety pin on the fire extinguisher, squeeze the handle, and blast your confetti into the air.
Tips and warnings
- You can create an electronic firing mechanism by attaching a solenoid valve between your cannon and extinguisher. See the resources of this article for further instructions.
- Using a small fire extinguisher, this cannon is easily portable and operated with two hands.
- Be careful when pressurising your fire extinguisher. Too much pressure may cause the container to explode and seriously injure anyone near it.
- Never fire your confetti cannon at a person or animal. The confetti is released at a high velocity and could cause injury.
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