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How to Build a Spud Gun or Potato Cannon

Updated on July 5, 2017

What is a Spud Gun?

A spud gun is usually a home brew device (very popular on farms and other rural settings) that will shoot a potato as a projectile and, depending on the type of gun, can shoot the potato up to several hundred yards. As you can imagine, these are serious devices, and should be handled with care, as they can give an impressive display of firepower. We take a look at some plans and videos on building a spud gun, along with a little on the legality of spud guns.

Planning on Building a Spud Gun? - Check Out One Of These Books

The Backyard Ballistics book gets high marks in the reviews. It presents several types of different pyrotechnic projects for the adventurous builder that can be done in your backyard. There is an emphasis on safety, but the projects still pack a wallop.

Types of Spud Guns and Potato Cannons

There are 3 basic types of spud guns:

  1. Combustion Cannons - These are the simplest of designs, using a simple mixture of fuel and air in a combustion chamber, which is ignited with some type of spark typically, including Taser guns. Common fuels for these guns include hair sprays and other aerosols, and sometimes propane fuel.
  2. Compressed Air (Pneumatic Cannons) - These are a little more complicated because the guns propel the potato with compressed air in the gun, which is filled with a pump or from a compressed air tank. This means the gun has to have an airtight holding container, so building it is a little more complicated than the combustion types.
  3. Hybrid Cannons - These are the most complicated to build, but are usually the most powerful as well. They use a fuel - air mixture that is held under pressure, and fired with some spark again. It is this type of design that can often launch a potato several hundred yards.

Warning: Spud Guns Are Not Legal Everywhere

Please check with the local authorities before purchasing or building a spud gun!

Toy Spud Guns For the Little Ones

There are toy spud guns on the market that shoot small pieces of potatoes and are pretty safe. Most are powered by compressing air when squeezing the trigger mechanism, so some of them are safe for use for youngsters as young as five years old. A grand old-fashioned shooter!

Have You? Would You? Are You Interested?

Have You Ever Heard of a Spud Gun or Potato Cannon?

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Building a Spud Gun on YouTube videos

Some of these are a little crazy, and some show people doing some pretty stupid stuff, so be careful before you try any of this at home.

Voice Your Opinion on the Spud Gun Videos

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    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 3 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @Lynn Klobuchar: I can visualize the happiness! Thanks for your support.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      My nephew made one of these. The cousins were beside themselves with joy. :-)

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 3 years ago from State of Confussion

      These are fun. Sometimes when our church has their summer picnic they have activities for the kids. One of them is the potato cannon. The last time my elder son was the one that got the longest distance. And no comments on the videos as its more fun in person.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Looks like lots of fun. Although, government wants to declare everything unsafe except for the government.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      :Probably too dangerous but looks like it a great project to do with an older son or daughter.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 4 years ago from Minnesota

      i couldn't watch the video due to internet... but, I have seen spud guns in action.. off, pvc pipe, igniter off old grill.. yeah!!!

    • MarcStorm LM profile image

      MarcStorm LM 5 years ago

      I'm familiar with these. Back when i was in school some kids would talk about these. I've never seen one in action, live in person but I've seen them in video form. Nice!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Oh, goodness, does this look like a fun project. lol

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Interesting. These seem super sonic versions. Wow!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Could always be very dangerous in the wrong hands. I don't like the destructive portions of the videos for sure.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      nicelens 5