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Vortex Cannon

The Vortex Cannon is a simple devise that delivers a truly unique (invisible) punch. It creates a toroidal vortex that propagates faster than it dissipates....said another way, it shoots wicked cool balls of air that can be felt 20 feet away. Add a smoke machine and you can actually see smoke rings flying through the air. This is a simple build that can be completed in less than an hour:



- 1 large plastic trash can

- 6mil plastic sheeting (found at the hardware store in the paint or landscaping section)

-  5 feet of bungie cord (should be very tight around the trash can)

- Duct tape (just what every DIY project needs)


STEP 1: Get a trash can

STEP 2: Cut a hole in the bottom of the trash can.

STEP 3: Cover the top of the trash can with plastic.

We use a piece of bungee to hold it tight. (I would strongly recommend a partner for this step.)

Step 4: Once the bungee is in place, pull the plastic tight, cut off the excess, and tape in place.

You should be using a lot of duct tape, don't be shy. We usually start with pieces placed vertically, pulling the plastic tight then securing with tape. Once you have 12-15 pieces in place, then wrap continuously around the entire can. Taping over the bungee makes for a pretty solid hold.    

Step 5: Add smoke (optional) If you have access to a smoke machine, simply point it into the trashcan and fill it with smoke. Each fill should be good for 15-25 shots.


 AWESOME! I got a Vortex what? Since these balls of air are invisible, its almost impossible to get visible feedback where your shots are going. So its always helpful to set up some large feed back areas if at all possible (this is assuming you are not using smoke). The easiest way to do this is to hang crate paper, toilet paper or some other light weight material on a wall. These long strips of material should be hung about 6 inches apart. Here are some fun things you can do with your "V-Can" (see what I did there?).

- Shoot paper cups off of peoples heads

- Set up an obstacle course with multiple targets, time how quickly people can complete it

- Blow out candles at long distance (longest distance wins)

- Angry Birds (knock paper cut-outs off of boxes)

- Try to keep a balloon in the air as long as possible

- Wind Chime music

- Sail boat races

- Stink's gross but fascinating