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My man Marc just posted this awesome build of the Compressed Air Rocket kit, which looks like a perfect summer project with the kids. When he got to the part about wrapping the PVC in duct tape for safety I had flashbacks of the Burrito Blaster build we did on Make: television; we debated back and forth whether or not to wrap it in duct tape.

This being the internet, there are lots of people with strong opinions about the matter. Some say that the duct tape is necessary to contain the shrapnel, in case the PVC should burst. Others say the duct tape will be of no use whatsoever. Still others point out that protecting the PVC from UV light will prolong its life. I personally was satisfied with getting Bill Gurstelle‘s word that in his years of backyard ballistics, he’s never seen a single accident where a properly used air cannon’s PVC chamber exploded.

So this is my question: based on experience, rather than theory, can anyone definitively say if duct tape wrapped around a PVC air chamber improves the safety of these devices? Please let us know in the comments. And if you shoot some video of your experiment, we all want to see it!

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios and writes for Make, Boing Boing, and other places online and in print. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.


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