I've made a tinsel cannon. This is a very handy tool if you have only 3 seconds to trim a Christmas tree. Of course it couldn't matter if the tree was only seen from one side AND there was no one nearby that could get an eye injury. If you have all of those things, you should build a tinsel cannon too.
Here is my buddy Matt firing the tinsel cannon. Note the garland leaving the muzzle.
Here I am shooting the tinsel cannon. Note that I have flung garland across the garage and onto the ceremonial skull that sits above the door. Note also the sparkles from the tinsel in the air.
Here is how to make your own Tinsel Cannon:
Supplies (all are available at Home Depot, cost: about $80 plus the compressor)
- A small air compressor (with a pressure regulator) to power it.
- 24 feet of 2 inch PVC pipe (it must say it has a working pressure over 220 psi)
- A 2 inch ball valve (non-threaded connections at the inlet and outlet)
- A 4-Way "T" connector in 2" PVC
- 2 "Street Elbows" in 2" PVC
- 2 PVC End Caps in 2" PVC
- PVC Adaptors to get from 2" PVC to a 1/4" NPT air fitting
- I went from 2" PVC to 1 1/2" PVC
- Then I went from 1 1/2" PVC to 1/2 pipe using a PVC fitting
- Then I installed a brass bushing that went from 1/2" pipe to 1/4" pipe
- A 1/4" NPT quick disconnect
- A saw that can cut PVC pipe. I use my Ryobi cordless circular saw. It works great.
- PVC Primer & Cement
- 2 Adjustable wrenches
- Teflon tape or some other pipe sealer.
How to make it:
Cut all of the PVC pieces and dry-fit them together to start. This should be fairly easy. Honestly, I didn't measure any of it. I just sort of eyeballed the whole thing. Use the above pictures of Matt and I as your guide.
Once you have everything dry-fit together, read the directions on your PVC Primer and Cement cans and follow them. Soon, you'll have this whole thing assembled. It took me about 90 minutes and I was inventing it the entire time. A plumber would probably put it together in about 30.
Let the PVC cement dry overnight. Here is where I give you the safety warning.
Compressed air is dangerous shit. No joke. All of the effort that your air compressor puts into cramming that air together will unleash its fury upon you if you screw this up. Unlike compressed fluid (like brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, even water under pressure), compressed air is not to be messed around with. You see, once you spring a leak in a pressurized fluid system, all of the pressure disappears. There is a spurt and then nothing much happens.
If a compressed air system has some failure, it stays pressurized and that continued pressure is what will rip your hand all the way off, so let the glue dry, and don't be holding the cannon the first time you pressurize it. Try not to even be near it.
That said, when my cannon was done, I only needed 30 psi to launch garland across the room. To use it:
- Close the valve.
- Stuff some tinsel, garland, confetti, other stuff into the barrel. Push it down to the bottom somehow. I use a broom handle.
- Pressurize the cannon using your air compressor. I suggest 30 psi.
- Aim the cannon where you want to shoot.
- Quickly open up the ball valve.
Your target should now be decorated. Congratulations.
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