Build-it-Yourself Air Cannon Plans

Electronic Pneumatic Air Cannon Trigger System Design

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Electronic Air Cannon Trigger System

How To Build A Pneumatic Air Cannon
Electronic Trigger Firing System

This is a device that can make any ordinary air cannon an electronic firing pneumatic cannon. This system allows you to take all your average air cannons and give them a simple but effective electronic firing mechanism. Or use the non electronic pneumatic sprinkler valve modification system for an even simpler firing mechanism.

This image above refers to a Pneumatic Add-On Design that allows a sprinkler valve powered by 9 volt batteries to become your firing mechanism for an air cannon. This diagram shows the Pneumatic Add-On without the barrel attached.

Electronic Sprinkler Valve Firing System

This should give you the idea of how this device works.

This is a solenoid sprinkler valve, which becomes the heart of the air cannon firing system along a trigger and batteries.

A Solenoid Sprinkler Valve is used in irrigation and lawn systems. You can obtain one from a landscaping Company or maybe your local hardware.

For air cannon firing systems, you are going to need to learn how the Valve system works. Here is a description of how the Solenoid Sprinkler Valve System operates electronically.

It is like a trap door that opens with a charge from a battery. Shown in the schematic drawing below I have posted a diagram to show how it works. You have to hook it up to two 9 Volt batteries and a Momentary Switch that can be found at Radio Shack.

You will need to wire a circuit to make a connection with the valve, battery leads, and a momentary switch.

Make sure you have all those parts ready.

The arrows should be facing your barrel. I apologize for such a poor drawing, but with this drawing you should see exactly how the circuit is put together, and how it will be hooked up on the air cannon.

Connect the Pneumatic Add-On to your air cannon

  • First screw on the Pneumatic Add-On without the air chamber
  • Then screw the air chamber on to the pneumatic add-on.
  • Push your projectile down the air cannon barrel, not too snug!
  • Add your compressed air (see instructions below)
  • Now aim your cannon and hit the trigger for the shot.

Preparing The Air Chamber

For the Pneumatic Add-On the following applies. Once you have built these devices you're going to want to know how to power them up.

Here is a brief description of how to do that.

Install a tire valve stem, they can be found at any local Automotive Store. These tire valves are used on tires to blow them up, so they will withstand the high pressure of an air cannon. You install them by drilling a hole in the cap, use a tap to cut threads, then screw the air valve in snug.

Charging the Air Chamber

For firing you should have some kind of air hose hooked up to a source of air, preferably an air compressor or an air tank. Put a nozzle on the end of the hose to connect to the valve stem. It's just a simple tire nozzle, when the nozzle is on the end of the valve it will start filling up the chamber. You’ll be able to hear it inside the chamber filling up.

Tapping an air gauge into the chamber is a good idea as well since too much air pressure could burst your chamber causing injury. At all costs, use an air gauge of some sort to avoid reaching the maximum pressure rating of your PVC pipe and other fittings.

So now your cannon is filled with air, you can remove the hose that you used to fill the chamber. The air will be held in that chamber until you give the valve a charge to release it.

Warning: For safety purposes and proper care, do NOT add more pressure then the system components are rated for, and try not to leave air pressure in the chamber for a long period of time, or when transporting the cannon. Otherwise you're ready to blast away.

That should be all you need to know about filling the chamber. Once you have studied this system and have a good understanding, you are set to fire this device. Be careful out there!!!