PVC Artillery Reprise

Today I was rooting around in the shed and noticed The Amazing Pneumatic Cannon leaning up against the wall. I’ve not had it out since we moved to San Marcos, and when I determined that [Liam->] had no memory of it whatsoever, decided that the time to exhume it had come.

I was a bit concerned that after years of neglect, the sprinkler valve might have given out altogether. I tried pressurizing it with no ammunition, and was disappointed to find that the air didn’t come out all in a rush, but leaked out slowly like a 3 liter of Sprite that was just barely open. “Sorry, kids. I don’t think it’s going to work.” I tried one more time driving the pressure up a little higher, and was delighted this time to here the distinctive reverberating tone the canon generates as it pushes high pressure air down its length. “WOO! We’re in business!”

We started out at about 50PSI, shooting a Beanie Baby about halfway down the street. We tried several different items, culminating in a potato at 75PSI. (Though the valve is rated for 100PSI, and the pipe for 230PSI, I wasn’t sure I trusted the PVC welds after all of that time in storage.) Remarkably, the potato flew more than a block, ending in a moist splatter on the driveway of a nearby elementary school. The kids were 3/4 of the way down the street to catch it, and watched it sail far over their heads — probably a good thing, given the force with which it evidently landed.

I’d forgotten how much fun that thing is, and was delighted to find it working well after all this time. We’re looking forward to having it out again for some more fun with our homemade artillery.