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Potato Gun

Materials List (1 each item):

Location Size Description
Misc - Teflon tape, electrical tape, hot melt glue, PVC glue, piece of solid wire

Safety First! For real, this will fire the projectile at a high velocity! Do not point at people, animals, or breakables! Treat it with the same respect you would a conventional gun - it could easily cause injury or worse!

I am not an engineer. Although I personally believe this design is safer than PVC designs; I make no claims that that belief is accurate. Safety glasses are always a good idea. Test completed unit with adequate shielding and personal protection.

Build and use only based on your judgement and at your own risk!

Assemble according to the following diagram:

Assembly diagram

Assembly notes:

  1. Use teflon tape on all threaded fittings; especially the metal components. With an air tank this small, any leaks will be problematic. (Do not use tape on slip-fit PVC connections - yes I've seen people do that!)
  2. Hollow out the fishing line spool to accomodate the 3/4 PVC coupling A Rotory cutting bit in a dremel works well for this; it need not be cut out perfectly. Hot melt glue the coupling into the center of the spool.

    When done, the coupling will fit on the barrel pipe nicely. I did not glue this joint; thus I can change the spool with little fuss. There will be no pressure at this point, so it should fit tight enough without glue.

    Sometimes spools of line will have a notch cut to hold the line; you'll want to make sure any such notch is on the side facing the valve or it will snag the line.
  3. Use a small piece of electrical tape to hold the line from unwinding. Placed with only a small amount stuck to the outer rim this tape will hold the line from tangling, but release easily enough when fired.
  4. Drill a small hole thru the plastic pipe where the yellow dot is in the diagram. Place a short piece of scrap solid wire thru this hole and bend the ends over to hold it in place. This will keep your projectile from falling into the valve. You'll want this kept small so that it doesn't loose or obstruct much air.


Cut about 6" of the wood dowel.

In one end, drill a 1/8" hole crosswise thru it about 1/4" from the end.

Round & shape the opposite end to somewhat reduce air resistance, but for safety keep it very dull. The drag of the line will stabilize it in flight; so this does not need to be an arrow! A bit of rubber on the tip might add to the safety margin.

Tie the fishing line thru the hole; keeping your knot at the end of the dowel.

Make a couple of spares, just in case one get caught in a tree.

Put it to use

  1. Pressurize the galvanized chamber via the tire valve.
  2. Slide the dowel rod projectile into the barrel end; line end towards the valve.
  3. Aim it over the tree/obstacle where you want the line.
  4. Operate the manual turn-on valve to fire.
  5. Use the fishing line to pull some small rope over the obstacle.
  6. Use the rope to pull your antenna into place.
  7. Wind line back on to spool when done.

Possible Improvements: