Making a potato gun is one of the quintessential science experiments. With some basic PVC piping and a few aerosol spray cans, you can create a spud launcher that is sure to annoy the entire neighborhood. But wouldn’t it be cooler if you could actually see the reaction happening inside the PVC gun? Destin from Smarter Every Day has constructed a transparent potato gun, allowing viewers to experience the internal combustion at 20,00 frames per second. The result is breathtaking.
William Gurstelle from Make offers his own set of step-by-step instructions on how to construct a see-through potato gun. According to Gurstelle: "The potato cannon, a.k.a. the spud gun, is a popular and very entertaining amateur science project. It’s simple to make, and few devices offer such bang for the buck. You can use the Night Lighter both day and night, but when it’s dark, the clear PVC provides an excellent view of the interior ballistics. Also, the stun gun gives better performance than weaker sparks from piezoelectric or flint/steel igniters. It’s fun both to fire and simply to watch in action.
A basic spud gun can be built with plain, white PVC for less than $25. The Night Lighter costs more, but I scrounged leftovers from plastics suppliers and built mine for less than $50. After mastering basic gun construction, the intrepid potato cannoneer may want to design and assemble more complex and artistic devices."