How I built a potato cannon

Hello readers!!

Today I will be explaining how I actually built a potato cannon using cheap and easy to find materials. This is a relatively simple and straightforward build and took me approximately 2 hours to complete. I also encourage you to visit my other blog after reading this to truly understand the actual workings of a potato cannon, the link to which can be found at the end of this blog.

Materials I used-

  • 4” PVC pipe – 1.5 feet
  • 2” PVC pipe – 4 feet
  • 4” PVC threaded coupler
  • 4” PVC threaded coupler end-cap /clean-out cap
  • 4” to 2” PVC adapter
  • PVC primer (Optional)
  • PVC cement
  • Lighter Or Igniter
  • Hairspray
  • Potatoes
*image numbers are respective to the numbers on the list

How I actually made it-

Building up the potato cannon was fairly simple. Firstly, I made sure the 4” and 2” pipe fit snugly into the 4” to 2” adapter and I marked both the pipes till where the adapter fit. Then, I carefully applied a thin layer of PVC cement to the length of the mark and inserted the pipes into the adapter. I left finished pipe for 5 minutes to allow the PVC cement to dry. In this step, you may use a PVC primer before applying the PVC cement but it is completely optional, it wont have big effect on the final result in this particular instance.

Then again I tested to see if the 4” PVC threaded coupler fit tightly with the pipe and used the PVC cement to secure it. Then I screwed on the end cap onto the coupler to complete the main build.

I then proceeded to to make a hole in the middle of the 4” pipe to make space for where the ignitor would sit. I recommend using a drill but I personally didn’t have one at the time so I instead made one using a knife. Make sure to cut away from the body to avoid any kind of injury and take precaution and use the knife carefully. Then I installed the lighter into the PVC pipe in such a way that the flame would light at the centre of the 4” pipe. I then used tape to securely fasten the lighter onto the body of the cannon.

Additional notes:

The materials required for the build can be found at any local hardware store. Try avoiding major corporations and instead visit local hardware shops. Little efforts like this can help them survive and not run out of business.

While using your potato cannon, try to use a high propane hairspray as it is highly flammable and increases its volume by a large amount quickly when ignited. A spray into the 4” chamber of the structure though the end cap is sufficient.


If you’re interested in learning the workings behind the potato cannon, my other blog dwell deeper into the workings and the science behind a potato cannon. Click the link below to explore further.