Weekend Project: Stun Gun Potato Cannon

Launch potato projectiles 200+ yards with this stun-gun triggered, high-powered potato cannon
with see-thru action.
Thanks go to William Gurstelle for the original article in MAKE, Volume 03.
To download The “Nightlighter” Stun Gun Potato Cannon video click here or subscribe in iTunes.

Check out the complete “Nightlighter” Stun Gun Potato Cannon article in MAKE, Volume 03 “Nightlighter”
and you can see that in our Digital Edition.

12 thoughts on “Weekend Project: Stun Gun Potato Cannon

  1. Godiard says:

    In U.S. probably is not dirty play with food, but with too many hungry people, should be taken into account. You can not do with a rag ball or something?

    Please, think about this in the next projects.

    1. Big Dave says:

      We’ve used lots of different ammo for “spud guns”, but potatoes are by far the cheapest and most readily available ammo.

      Some fun ideas:

      We used to skin a type4 golf ball to reveal a very hard sphere with a smooth surface. wrap it in a bit of wet sock for wadding, and watch that sucker fly.

      C-Cell and D-cell batteries! Hope you aren’t down range of that.

      I’ve even made a couple different barrels for our guns.

      I take one to concerts and festivals and working with the organizers I help them distribute give away t-shirts. I love standing on a stage and shooting T-shirts into the crowd! They love the shotgun blast, and an opportunity to win free stuff.

      I even made one for a volleyball team that ran on compressed air. We used bean filled teddy bears,mini-volleyballs, t-shirts, and coozies. We’d stuff the ammo in the barrel, pump up the pressure, and then load confetti into the barrel. Gives a mice blast of confetti into the air, while delivering fun prizes!

  2. Andy says:

    Would it be possible to use a piezoelectric igniter (like used for the film can cannon) instead of a stun gun (they’re are quite a bit cheaper)?

    1. j.woof says:

      should have used a used disposable camera flash, they pack one hell of a spark, hurt like hell if your on the wrong end of one, I know i’ve done it

  3. Groxx says:

    Aside from the stun gun, this looks extremely similar to one I made a few years ago.

    1) use a push-button barbeque igniter instead. Significantly cheaper ($6 for mine) and safer, and the arc is almost the same length. Plus, no batteries!
    2) put your arc at about the center of your chamber, instead of closer to one side. This burns the fuel more quickly, launching your tater further. You get a “whump” sound if it’s burning slow, and often flame shooting out the end of the barrel (fun at night), and a “bang” when it’s faster. Just changing the location on mine changed a couple hundred feet to around a thousand (very rough estimate).
    3) experiment with hairsprays, usually cheaper is better (2-for-$1 Aqua Net is some of the best). I don’t understand why people put something this flammable on their head…
    4) a $1 bastard file works as well or better than a dremel for sharpening the end.

    All told, my launcher turned straight up can send a full-size Idaho out of sight, and round-trip has taken 55 seconds, with ~45 being the average launch. I’m unsure about actual distance (and before attempting to calculate, remember to take air friction into account, as it’ll make the fall much slower than the rise).

  4. PatrickIV says:

    I was really hoping to see some footage of the cannon at night. That’s kinda the point of the clear tubing, right?

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