View Full Version : air cannons

07-06-2008, 07:02 PM
so ive been doing some research and construction and built a basic air cannon for like 40 bucks. pretty much the concussion cannon from deathlord.net

at 80 psi it scares me when i know its comming!
the air comes out so fast it almost hurts your legs at like 3 feet away.
its unbelievable
now let me ask you why would i spend 300 to 400 bucks on one?
what is different about the expensive ones, and is it worth it.

400 bucks for a normal air cannon! is it worth it ?

Phil Miller
07-06-2008, 07:29 PM
Did you use a solenoid valve($40) and a 3/4" Quick exhaust valve($25)? you need both plus a tank and trigger. it cost about $120 for new parts plus time and labor which brings it to $300- $400 total

Gore Galore
07-06-2008, 07:36 PM
Because the air cannon you just built could be a law suit waiting to happen.

If you are building these for your own personal use, that is fine, but you are putting yourself, your customers (TOTs), and your Haunted House in peril.
You are talking about using valves meant to be used for water not air.
The pressure is not measured the same.
deathlord also shows you how to build air cylinders out of door closer cylinders. Again, very dangerous. They can explode and send schrapnal all over the place.
Now these are fine for personal use (NOT REALLY), but if you ever see a company selling products using washing machine solenoids, door closer cynlinders, Lawn valves, etc... don't give them your money. They don't deserve your business.
The products will cost less, but you get what you pay for. They say they can handle the same pressure as pneumatic valves but they really can't. And the plastic gets brittle over time.

That is why you pay $400 for an air cannon. It is build with industrial quality components meant to last for tens of thousands of activations.

Build all the air cannons you want, but don't sell them and when you use them place them far away from public. It will help to put a barrier between the cannon and those you are scaring. Shoot it through a hole. that way if something goes wrong they will be protected.

07-06-2008, 07:36 PM
what i did
was use some large galvanized pipe for a tank like 25 bucks , and a sprinkler quick release valve 12 bucks , and some fittings another 5 bucks and hooked stright up to the compressor and used my compressor"s regulator to control air flow to it

works amazing
took 20 minutes max to put togethor !
if i used a tank insted of pipe i would have been at like or 70 bucks total. but dosent work as well

07-06-2008, 07:42 PM
i agree with you about the saftey factor,
the sprinkler valve cost 12 bucks and i can order an actual pneumatic quick exhaust bucks, i would be willing to do this definetly for saftey.
but also give me some advice on how to make this safer, more stable, louder, ect.
any advice at all

07-06-2008, 07:55 PM
Same thing with the air rams Kevin mentioned. By the time you buy all the parts to make a screen door opener work you could buy a brand new ram designed for the purpose on ebay.

I think some of those Halloween sites either make things sound too easy or make them overly complex. "Why buy something new for $20 when we can show you how to build a crappy one for just $12 worth of parts and 11 hours of your time?"

07-06-2008, 08:13 PM
i agree with you about the saftey factor,
the sprinkler valve cost 12 bucks and i can order an actual pneumatic quick exhaust bucks, i would be willing to do this definetly for saftey.
but also give me some advice on how to make this safer, more stable, louder, ect.
any advice at all

As kevin said above, 12 dollar sprinkler valves are not designed to be used with compressed air, and should not be, especially over 40 psi. Companies like mine charge $270 or more for air cannons because we are using industrial quality parts, rated for compressed air use at 150 psi or more.

07-07-2008, 07:12 AM
yeah i understand
i just couldnt justify spending 10 times as much at first but i guess its industrial quality parts and labor that gets it up there.

allright so i need to make this safer and better,
where can i get parts to do this. also i dont want to use a tank cause because my compressor is small and cant fill it up.

07-07-2008, 08:55 AM
Check out my friends at Grainger>>>>

Gore Galore
07-07-2008, 10:50 AM

I am not suggesting you shouldn't do it that way. Just be smart about how you expose yourself and other people to them.
Mount them in enclosures that will prevent something bad from happening.

But now you do know why they are not cheap to buy.
I sincerely hope I did not offend anyone with my post.
I am very concerned about safety.
It is the stupid mistakes that always get media attention and make our entire industry look like a bunch of morons.

07-07-2008, 10:58 AM
yeah i get you
i saw on the website that i got the instructions for it that the valve was rated for 125 psi and i guarentee you thats a lie, also i tested it today and i dont really trust it over like 40.
im going to need several more for my haunt so im probably going to continue to use the galvanized pipe, but i found some industrial gualityquick releases for like 30 bucks online, i feel its worth it. and then just put a regulator on the intake so we can manually fill them.
plus air cannons have to be timed perfectly with whem guests are walking by so i think an actor can do a better job of choosing the best time to blow it off then just a motion sensor

07-07-2008, 11:00 AM
also dose anyone know the secret to webminions air cannons,
a 125 db blast at only 30 psi thats crazy

07-07-2008, 11:21 AM
But I'm not going to tell you how he does it. It was his reinvention, so I'll leave it at that.

07-07-2008, 11:35 AM
ugg lol
allright thats cool
i guess he had a how to on his website but he took it off.

07-07-2008, 02:28 PM
A shotgun with blanks! YEEHAWWW

07-07-2008, 05:18 PM
I donít mean to dwell on this but I put a few facts together for the HHVA a few months ago to keep vendors from using water valves and hope home haunters will understand and not use them also.

One problem with a pro or home haunt will shed a ton of bad press on haunters and we donít need bad press let alone the fact of someone getting hurt.

You will not find any plastic water valve or plastic pipe manufactures backing the use of their products with compressed gases.

The laws of physics are different between compressed gases and water under pressure. You can not compress a solid (water) but you can compress a gas which will store energy. If a plastic part fails, it will send shrapnel like an explosion where water under pressure will usually not.

Most plastics degrade over time by UV light and from oils that may be in a compressed air system. Many times a valve/prop is left outside all year long in the sun light and the UV breaks down the plastic.

Compressed air systems will have water in the system from condensation pulled in from the air. In many parts of the country they will have freezing temperatures well before the end of Oct. When water gets into a plastic valve it freezes and can crack the valve.

07-07-2008, 05:28 PM
When I lived out in the country we had our own water system for the home, with a pump and lots of PVC piping. Water at 50 PSI snapping a brittle piece of plastic may not be as explosive as air, but it will get your attention and send you running for cover.