Bill Tennant took a good idea and made it better. Who wants to shoot potatoes on Halloween when there’s candy to be had? Interview by Arwen O’Reilly, Staff Editor.Arwen: How did you come up with the idea for a candy cannon?
Bill: In my workplace if you can believe it, my co-workers had a spud gun. I decided bigger was better, but as detailed in my instuctable, large projectiles bring other problems. The only new idea I introduced is fitting a plastic container to match the barrel diameter. The candy part came along because I have young kids.
Arwen: What interesting projects are you working on now?
Bill: I just finished putting a garage door on two perpendicular barn rails. An architect I know used it to hang a bookcase, so it would either be a room divider, or an opening to a bedroom. It hides the mess behind my open carport, and looks like a solid wall.
I’m also building an 11 gallon tank, 1-inch ball valve pneumatic potato gun. Inspired by the recent pneumatic spud gun on Instuctables. Mine is more like a small-scale air cannon that the special effects guys use in film. The barrel will be more like a funnel.
Arwen: What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
Bill: Digital storage (no tapes!) for hi-def video cameras (check out the Panasonic HVX-200).
Arwen: What are you favorite tools/books/websites?
Bill: I like ‘stumble-upon’.com
Arwen: What’s one tip you’d give to other makers or users of Instructables?
Bill: Put up or shut up. If you have a comment, it’s time to put your own idea up for scrutiny. And don’t be afraid of what people say. Your idea isn’t going to be new. It’s probably been done. The point is to share it. Don’t be afraid that it’s not a new idea to some people. For god’s sake, I just met a 38-year old man who didn’t know how to use a ratchet-strap. We all come from different cultures, and backgrounds, and can’t possibly have the same knowledge.
Arwen: How do you feel about Halloween?
Bill: It can be a great holiday for young children, and I like the fact it is one of the few times during the year where you can meet all your neighbors. I wish I could do more macabre stuff, but my audience is pretty young and innocent for the fake blood and severed limbs.