How to Make a Powerful PVC Air Cannon with Coaxial Piston Valve
The video featured in this article demonstrates the function and design of a powerful form of air cannon that operates using a purpose made valve that opens very rapidly. This allows for a massive amount of pressurized air to be released at once to throw a projectile many hundreds of yards.
The design of the cannon also allows the barrel and the air chamber to occupy the same space, and so it is very compact and manageable which makes for an enjoyable shooting experience.
To understand how the valve I use in this cannon works, examine the third animation on this post over at SpudFiles. I also go into more detail of how these cannons function in a video I made many years ago, showing how to build a smaller version using these same principles.
It is specifically against manufacturer recommendations to use PVC to contain pressurized air. This video is solely for education and entertainment purposes.
The parts used in this cannon are as follows:
- (1) 3' length of 3" diameter pressure rated PVC pipe
- (1) 3'2" length of 2" diameter pressure rated PVC pipe
- (1) 1/2" PVC ball valve
- (1) 1/2" x 2" long threaded PVC pipe nipple
- (1) 1 1/2" to 1/2" threaded PVC reducer
- (1) 3" to 1 1/2" PVC reducer
- (1) 3" PVC coupling
- (1) 3" female threaded adapter
- (1) 3" male threaded adapter
- (1) 3" to 2" PVC reducer
- (4) 1" long self tapping screws
- (1) brass air compressor tank valve
- (2) 3" galvanized steel gas vent tee caps
- (1) 3" rubber washer or sheet rubber
- (1) 3" tank to bowl rubber gasket
Other supplies and tools needed:
- PVC primer & cement
- TFE pipe thread paste
- Coarse and fine sandpaper
- Bench grinder or metal files
- Drill & bits
- Bicycle pump or air compressor
Thanks for watching!