When I was a kid we made something that flew similar to this. You start with a 12 oz soda can (empty) and cut the aluminum out of the inside of the top. This left the rolled edge in place but the can was open. Then use a knife to cut across the middle of the can about 2.5-3” below the top. Now you should have a cylinder with the rolled edge and one or more ridges at one end and a thin trailing edge.
After cleaning the blood off your hands and putting on some band aids, go back outside. I think you basically threw it like a football so it spun. It travels a surprising distance for a simple design that only requires a few build attempts and some blood letting.
@TheCO2@tweezak Back in my day, we didn’t have none of them fancy-pants push tab cans to drink the beer we took from our dads, we had the straght-walled pull tab cans.
You cut the top an bottom off the cans (except the bottom one) and you taped the cans together with duck tape into a long “cannon barrel”. A church key to make an opening in the bottom can, a tennis ball, and a lot of lighter fluid.
It worked best if the ball was saturated with the naptha 1st, then drop it into the barrel.
Fill the church key opening with lighter fluid, and a “fuse trail”. One brave soul dropped a lit match down the muzzle, another lit the trail.
BOOM! Hot potato game was ON!
Winner was whomever avoided 2nd degree burns. Honorable mention to the person with burn marks on their clothes from putting their handfires out.
@G1@TheCO2@tweezak We hand-held launched those things, being too stupid (or brave enough) to do otherwise. We left the top on the bottom can as well when we constructed those so that the bottom can was sort of an aeriation chamber for the lighter fluid. We put several church-key openings into that bottom can’s top to go along with the opening from the pull-tab (those were the days). The cans fit a tennis ball perfectly if the fuzz was scorched off (no problem there!), and it was like a bazooka. I would love to have one of those again, but they changed the cans so that they did not fit a tennis ball anymore. Maybe they learned (?) from us.
@G1@Jonas4321@TheCO2 Back in my misspent youth, someone made a rubber band shooter for me. It was just a roughly pistol-shaped frame cut from a board, about 14 inches long, with a spring-type clothes pin attached horizontally at the top rear. You stretched a big rubber band from the muzzle to the clothes pin. Then you held it handgun-style and pushed the clothes pin down with your thumb to fire.
Well, after losing or breaking my supply of rubber bands, I had a bright idea. The frame was cut from a piece of tongue-and-groove board, with the groove along the top of the “barrel”. So I attached a piece of surgical tubing to the sides of the muzzle end. The clothes pin was just strong enough to hold the stretched tubing, and the fin of a metal dart fit nicely in the groove.
My new dart launcher would sink the tip of a dart into the sheetrock wall that surrounded the dart board. Much fun ensued. (Surprisingly, no eyes were put out.)
@G1@Jonas4321@TheCO2@tweezak I grew up after the times of pull tab cans, but one day in high school some friends and I were fucking around in Lowe’s enough that a manager sent an employee over to tell us to leave. That employee had his own plan.
He came up to us and said hey, my manager says you have to stop doing this. Y’all must be bored. You wanna do something fun, come with me.
He took us to the PVC pipe and gets out a notepad and draws us a sketch. You need one of these 3" pipes, one of these 2" pipes, this reducer, this cap, and this glue. Go get a BBQ igniter from the grill aisle. Put it together like this. Now you have a potato cannon.
We bought that stuff and went home and it worked beyond our wildest dreams. Nothing within 150 yards was safe that summer. I burned my eyebrows off at least once and learned about air-fuel ratios through hands on experience. Great fun. And I’m sure that employee got to brag that not only did he shut down the ruckus, he turned us into paying customers.
Sadly (or maybe thankfully ), the ingenuity and creativity that went into making stuff like this seems lost on today’s kids, who are hardly ever bored, and don’t spend much time outside. Sure…they can code and write an app, but this level of engineering and invention seems like it requires friends (specifically…one ‘bad’ one who isn’t afraid to kill themselves…or others), some available ‘supplies’ and a goal. I love it!
As a former teacher, I love STEM projects for kids…but NONE of them seem as fun as the above with the appropriate life lessons as a bonus.
Just this once, let’s go the safer, more adult method.
Build your barrel, which means deciding how long and champhering the end to “skin” your taters.
Now pvc your way around underneath the barrel so you can add a Large air chamber. Schroeder valve at one end (like a car tire), correct sized electric sprinkler system valve at the other end (your breech end).
Add 9V battery and a momentary switch (normally open, of course).
Load tater, push with broom stick, wooden dowel, whatever. Fill with air. Many psi. Make sure you buy pvc rated for schedule “potato”.
Press button. Valve will open very quickly.
You can add a TEE reducer and a short hand grip, capped off, but you will really need to hold it against something solid-ish, like your thigh, cuz it will kick!
Consistent enough to repeatedly hit the ass end of a whitetail deer at 100 yds., so I am told.
Seriously, there was a small herd where they really didn’t belong - not enough space, superhighways running right by, industrial park, etc. I even got hit by a buck in stopped traffic.
The guy that made the device used to spend time in a “shack” close to an open space. Had a compressor out there.
He certainly hit different deer, and for SOME STRANGE reason, they didn’t show up in the open anymore until well after dark. He only hit a couple. My point is that given all the variables (air pressure, potato, valve speed, shooting from the hip,etc.), it was pretty accurate and repeatable. I think he did a little bit of rifling in the barrel as well.
Note: the deer would MAYBE get a bruise. None of them were spotted limping, or obviously injured. Potatoes slow down quickly.