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Discussion Starter #1
Video of my Air Cannon. Pretty easy to make and a great startle scare! Thanks to Youtubers, terroronshadowway and Woodland Haunters for their helpful videos!


 

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Stupid question; do I need the air tank? Can I just hook up my compressor (which has a similarly sized air tank built in) and the 50' hose directly to the metal tubing?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmm. That's a good question. I don't see why not, but I can't say for sure that it would work or that it would be safe.

Maybe some of the more knowledgable builders out there could chime in on this question.
 

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Hello Ice. You will not get the effect you are after. The solenoid used is a 'dump' valve. It allows a large volume of air to be moved through the valve quickly. To get the desired effect you will need a stored amount of air close to the valve. To add a tank and the couple of fittings to attach it should run about $30 - $35 and it is worth it. I hope this helps. Best of luck this season and have fun!!
 

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Thanks Horrorman.

Second stupid question; if I make one of these, can I just leave the tank hooked up to my compressor for it to run occasionally and fill the tank? Or do I have to only connect the tank to the compressor when it is low?

Third stupid question; What else can this basic setup do besides blow a blast of air quickly? Can I get it to perform any other tricks by adding more parts?
 

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You're welcome Ice. Yes. You will want to leave it connected to the compressor. This prop is an 'air hog'. Just place the air cannon where you want it and place the compressor somewhere to keep the noise in your haunt to a minimum when it is running.
Word of caution....please aim the cannon below the knees and never at anyone's face.
As for other tricks, you can configure it to shoot water or confetti (or something similar) into the air.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for clearing that up, horrorman. I knew there were wise people hanging around here!

I have a question for you. How do you go about configuring it to shoot water? I've seen the configuration for sale, but don't want to spend the money for it if I can build it myself!
 

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i would drill a small hole to accept some refrigerator water line about 2 inches after the solenoid and just add a hose from a bucket---it should create a vacuum effect and draw the water out. leave the line about 4 inches from the end of the cannon--but u'd have to play with it
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So drill a hole in the metal pipe and run the water line in to it until it's about 4 inches or so from the end?
 

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yes--maybe a check valve in the water line to keep water in it--but you'd have to play with were the water is in the cannon for best effect. This is how i think they are made---at least this should work for a splattering of water
 

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Hello Daddy-O. Not exactly what I was thinking but you could do it. I think it is a little high priced for a 'water spitter' that could be made for a lot less money. Is this the type of application you are trying to create???
 

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Discussion Starter #14
horrorman,

I'm not really trying to build one this year. I was just curious since you mentioned that this could be configured to shoot water. I've since checked out a few videos on youtube and found a pretty easy way to make one. Maybe next year!

Thanks for replying.
 

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Could this be made with PVC instead of metal tubing? I would only put about 100psi through it, and using PVC would make it much cheaper. Plus it would simple and cheap to extend the tube so that the air could come out further away from the tank so I don't have to figure out how to disguise a huge yellow tank.
 

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Also I found some cheap solenoids on Amazon, but they aren't exactly what you used. Can you comment on these?

http://smile.amazon.com/Electric-Solenoid-Replacement-Pipelines-Applications/dp/B00827FP26
This one is 1/4", normally closed. The pressure would be the same but would use much less volume of air per shot. I'm worried if it would be enough air to scare, but I could also keep the valve open longer without substantially draining the tank.

http://smile.amazon.com/Electric-Solenoid-Valve-Water-Air/dp/B00BVESSJY

This one already has the "T" built in, but I have no idea which side of the solenoid it is for. In other words I don't know if it's an extra input or an extra output, or if it's reversible and could do either. Also this unit is only rated for 0.5MPa which equates to 72 psi. It should still be a decent blast but was wondering if anyone had a more informed opinion.
 

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Could this be made with PVC instead of metal tubing? I would only put about 100psi through it, and using PVC would make it much cheaper. Plus it would simple and cheap to extend the tube so that the air could come out further away from the tank so I don't have to figure out how to disguise a huge yellow tank.
If you use PVC @ 100 psi your asking for nothing but trouble. When it explodes it sends shrapnel all over the place. The pipes that are used are not that expensive and can usually be purchased locally,plumbing supply, if you're really good and have the tools you can order the pipe in 20' lengths -cut to the size you want and thread the ends yourself and save a bunch of money. For safetys sake don't use PVC, use the right parts for the job.

The 1st solenoid I would use although it's kind of small for the application, The second one I would not use because it's not rated for air service. Check the more information link in the description of it, it states it is for heating and sprinkler systems, and it appears to have all plastic internals which can deteriorate due to oils found in compressed air.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ice45678, I totally agree with bfjou812. Notice he said "when" it explodes, not "if"! You should never run any amount of air through PVC. You can buy longer nipples. I used this length because it was all I needed, plus you can paint the tank so the yellow doesn't stand out.

I don't see why that 1/4" solenoid wouldn't work. For me it's about the sound, not necessarily the blast of air. I used 1/2" because that's what the tutorial i watched said he used. I don't know about that solenoid with the T. I've never seen one like that.
 

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Hell Ice. I also echo the sentiments of the others. PVC is not a good alternative and also dangerous (even though people have and do use it). My feeling on the 1/4" valve is that it will not deliver a large amount of air quickly enough to get the sound you want. I would compare it to tapping your hand on the end of a drinking straw as opposed to tapping on the end of a paper towel tube. I would recommend an air pressure of 50-60 psi for the effect. This delivers a loud sound and moves the air well. I think 100 psi would be more than you would need but you can experiment with what works best for you. Anytime you are using pneumatics, I think it is always best to use the least amount of air possible to still get the desired result. Best of luck this season and have fun.
 
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