Leaf blowers have a special place in hell as far as I am concerned, but I do like some of the creative ways that people re-purpose them. Designer, maker, and YouTuber Mark Rober was tired of his nephews getting the best of him during family snowball fights, so he applied his engineering skills in creating a blower-based shooter that accepts magazines of snowballs for some serious, rapid-fire bombardment of the nephew’s snow fort.
Making a snowball machine gun is fairly straight-forward. Start with a landscaping leaf blower, like the one pictured here. It will come with a majority of the parts you are looking for. The more horsepower the better. Plug in leaf blowers don’t really work as there’s not enough power. You can use either 2” or 3” ABS for the entire set up; we will be using 2”.
The design for Rober’s snow-hurler couldn’t be simpler. It’s basically a 2″ PVC barrel added to the business end of the snow blower with a hole in it to accept snowballs. To make it rapid-fire, he added a Y-adapter and another length of PVC with a trough cut in it to accept multiple rounds of ammo. To outfit a feed mechanism for his magazine, he simply added a piece of wood dowel and a bolt as the handle. To load the snowballs into the barrel, he slides the dowel forward, feeding the balls into the barrel. By adjusting the amount of air he’s feeding the blower and the rate at which he introduces the balls, he can control the rate of fire, from single shot, to “semi-automatic,” to full-on rapid fire mode.
Besides the video, which shows you pretty much everything you need to know, Mark has also prepared a PDF with more details about the build. You can access that here.
[Via Laughing Squid]