Carbide cannons


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Geord
June 21, 2006, 11:48 PM
Anyone have a carbide cannon? I'd like to know where to but one. They would be great safe legal noise makers with July 4th coming up. I had one as a kid but would not know where to get one today. Welding supply houses used to sell the cannons and the calcium carbide. They make a bang like a 10 gauge shotgun. Mine had a small can in which you put some calcium carbide and water. a rubber hose carried the acetylene gas generated to a combustion chamber made of pipe and closed on the rear end. It was ignited by a lighter like flint inside that was connected to a trigger. I'd like to find one again if anyone knows who sells them. they're perfectly safe for kids. When I was about 9 I was a nasty little kid out with my cannon waking up the neighborhood at dawn on the 4th of July.

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sfhogman
June 22, 2006, 12:22 AM
Here ya go....
http://www.bigbangcannons.com/

shooter94
June 22, 2006, 12:24 AM
I remember Winchester had one on their website...

Sheldon J
June 22, 2006, 08:45 PM
I still have the one I bought off of Johonson Smith Co, 30+ years ago, and they still make it!!!:D

444
June 22, 2006, 10:43 PM
How loud are they ?

EddieCoyle
June 22, 2006, 10:43 PM
I bought one for my son when he was 3 (10 years ago) and we still have it. Good clean fun.

Here's funny Bangsite cannon related story:

The powder for the cannon is calcium carbide that fizzes, smokes/steams, and releases acetylene gas when it comes in contact with water. My son once spilled a handful of the powder onto my driveway (it looks like sandy cigarette ashes).

A little while later I was filling a tractor battery (next to where he spilled it) with distilled water from a 1/2 liter beaker. My nosy neighbor walked over and asked, "Are you putting acid into that battery?"
I said, "Yeah, and this stuff's good!" and I took a sip from the beaker.
She said, "That's not acid!"
I said, "Sure it is" and poured it onto the driveway where my boy spilled the powder.

It started fizzing and steaming the way cartoon acid would if you poured it onto a driveway. She pretty much ran away with a horrified look on her face and kept asking me how I was feeling for a few days after that.

EddieCoyle
June 22, 2006, 10:45 PM
How loud are they ?

About as loud as a .410.

444
June 22, 2006, 10:51 PM
Are the all the same as far as their report (all the different models) ?

carpettbaggerr
June 23, 2006, 12:22 AM
Bigger cannon = bigger bang = bigger :D

zeke1312
June 23, 2006, 12:49 AM
OK, do a google search for "mechanix illustrated june 1976 carbide cannon" and you will find plans to build a large cannon out of pvc. I've seen a video of this cannon in action some years ago. Wow! At night the flame and sound is impressive!

America_without_liberals
June 23, 2006, 09:49 AM
I have the 105MM army green cannon. I bought this probably 10 years ago and the hobby shop that I bought from didn't carry the 155MM. I have to compare my cannon to an M80 going off.

Also if you live in a firework friendly state (which I don't so I don't have one of these) there is the kennesaw cannon company. Theirs are made to use black powder or firecrackers. I really want one. All that smoke. Looks like so much fun.

http://www.tapco.com/product_list.asp?dept=33

googol
June 23, 2006, 02:35 PM
You can get the same effect a lot cheaper by using an old one-gallon paint can. Punch a small pinhole in the bottom of the can, right out near the edge.
Wet a few pieces of carbide and toss them in the can, then press the lid on hand-tight.
Set the can down on its side, with the pinhole at the bottom, or 6 o'clock position. (The gas forming inside the can will rise. Keeping the pinhole at the bottom prevents the gas from escaping readily.)
Give the gas time to build up, then put a match to the pinhole. You can get a booming report if you get a big enough buildup of gas. You might want to hold down the can with your foot, to keep the can from flying around. Don't worry about the can blowing up and injuring your foot. The lid will pop off long before the pressure inside can build to dangerous levels.

LoneCoon
June 23, 2006, 03:43 PM
There are plans for this cannon and many other fun projectile weapons in the book "Backyard Ballistics."

I suggest a copy for anyone who loves a good "bang."

Zero_DgZ
June 23, 2006, 04:34 PM
For the 4th I've always found that a cleaned and dried 2 or 3 liter soda bottle with about a tablespoon of FFFg in the bottom of it makes a heck of a racket and presents minimal risk of harm to personage or property.

ABTOMAT
June 23, 2006, 05:12 PM
Never in a million years would I make one of those things out of PVC. It's dangerous enough when used to store compressed air--don't need it handling explosions. PVC=frag grenade.

carterbeauford
June 23, 2006, 05:55 PM
There are two kinds of carbide cannon, the novelty kind and the kind the BATFE probably has laws against. My coworker has the latter.

It is made out of 10" steel pipe, I do not know what it fires, maybe a honeydew, I have never seen it fired.

JesseJames
June 23, 2006, 05:59 PM
How about a potato gun?

Geord
June 26, 2006, 12:03 PM
I think I'll buy a "Big Bang" cannon and have some fun with my grand kids. I've seen some used ones on ebay.
A search turned up a site http://privateer.omena.org/cannon1.htm with a discussion of these cannons, the chemistry of the reaction of calcium carbide and water, pressures involved, and detailed plans for constructing one. There is even a CD and scale drawings available for about $6.00 for those who like to make things.
Fireworks and the firing of guns are illegal here, but New Years sounds like a full scale battle at midnight. I'll legally add my 2 cents with my "Big Bang".

Zero_DgZ
June 26, 2006, 12:31 PM
There are two kinds of carbide cannon, the novelty kind and the kind the BATFE probably has laws against.

A number of years ago us like minded spudgunners (I was not personally involved in this, but I would have been if I knew about it then) posed the question of the legality of potato cannons, both compressed air and combustion, to the ATF.

Their reponse is here (http://members.aol.com/sph911/spud/faq.html#legal), among other places.

Short answer: Not firearms essentially for the same reasons as muzzleloaders aren't firearms. Specifically, the lack of fixed ammunition, no primer, and in the case of compressed air guns no fire for your "fire"arm at all. So if you have a hairspray/starting fluid/carbide cannon it's a big muzzleloader. If you have a compressed air cannon it's a big air rifle. Take your pick.

RecoilRob
June 26, 2006, 06:52 PM
Along the same lines is the 2L soda bottle with cannon fuse epoxied through the cap. Fill with oxygen (from welding kit) and then add just a sprit of acetylene....just a little, tiny bit. About a second's worth out of a #2 tip.

Big bang. Shockwave and everything. Don't be near it when it goes off.

Geord
July 5, 2006, 03:47 PM
Here it is. Take this to the range. They had to shove a orange plastic plug in the barrel to make it a legal toy.

Geord
July 5, 2006, 03:49 PM
6-P CARBIDE CANNON BIG BANG 1920 NEAR PERF ORIGINAL
THE CONESTOGA CO aka BIG BANG CANNON WORKS BETH. PA
ebay Item number: 280003337223

Zero_DgZ
July 5, 2006, 03:52 PM
Along the same lines is the 2L soda bottle with cannon fuse epoxied through the cap. Fill with oxygen (from welding kit) and then add just a sprit of acetylene....just a little, tiny bit. About a second's worth out of a #2 tip.

Big bang. Shockwave and everything. Don't be near it when it goes off.

A tablespoon of triple F has a similar effect and is less temprimental. Also, it's less likely to go off because it fancied to as acytleye and oxygen mixtures tend to. (See also: The long list of poor fools that thought filling a trash bag with the stuff would be a good idea, then learned about static electricty the hard way.)

Otherguy Overby
July 5, 2006, 04:58 PM
Some friends of mine tried something when I wasn't around to witness it... :cuss:

Anyway, they filled some balloons with helium and tied them together. They used the balloons to lift a trash bag filled with acetylene and oxygen with a fuse attached.

Everyone there says it was about the loudest explosion they can recall...

Damn, I wasn't there. :(

Plain Old Bill
July 5, 2006, 05:41 PM
I live in Allentown, where they make Big Bang cannons....I think every kid in the village had one. Good, safe fun. Couldn't recommend them more.

Haymaker
July 5, 2006, 05:54 PM
Got a brass 20mm one:D
Carbide used to be easy to acquire, but has to be shipped as Hazmat these days and most rertail outlets won't stock it because of their insurers whining.:banghead: :mad:

Geord
July 6, 2006, 12:51 AM
Plain Old Bill,
You may have seen one of these. It's an antique Big Bang carbide pistol made in the 20s. Must be very rare. For sale on ebay.
ebay Item number: 280003337223

I finally bought a 15FC Big Bang Field Cannon, but too late for the 4th. I'll blast in the New Year with it.

America_without_liberals
July 6, 2006, 08:02 AM
Why would you not recommend big bang cannons anymore? :confused:

JMusic
July 6, 2006, 09:02 AM
There are carbide cannons used by farmers to scare away birds. I can remember them going off all the time when I was a kid, AI believe these loaded automatically somehow and fired about once every 1/2 hour.
Jim

warwagon
July 6, 2006, 09:37 PM
googol,

I too have made those, even made a mount for it one year out of 2by 4s that held it at about a 30 degree angle. Always put the hole in the center though, when you see the smoke(gas) comming out, you're ready to go!

JMusic,

The repeaters they use at airports now are propane fired, just for info.

Regards,
Blair

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