Why build a propane fireball cannon? Why not!
I became very curious about making a propane tube gun after watching a video on YouTube by NightHawk In Light. I was inspired to make one myself and experiment with different tubes, lengths of tube and size of cannon. Ultimately, I came up with a massive Propane Fireball Cannon with spiraling tubes of blue fireballs!
While I call this a Propane Fireball Cannon I chose to use MAP gas instead of propane as my fuel. The original MAPP gas, which stands for methylacetylene-propadiene propane, was used as a substitute for acetylene in industrial applications. The version we are using, in the yellow canisters, is a mostly mixture of propane and propylene. This gas burns much hotter and more easily than propane so it travels further down the tube. Also, it gives off a range of colors as it burns - from blue to purple to green and yellow, it makes a beautiful flame.
Propane Combustion Reaction
Propane + Oxygen -> Carbon Dioxide + Water
C3H8 + 5O2 -> 3CO2 + 4H2O
(links directly to product at Amazon.com)
Vinyl tubing: 5/8 in. inside diameter (ID) 7/8 in. outside diameter (OD)
Recommended: MAP Gas Cylinder (this burns longer and hotter)
3/4" PVC Conduit (for structural support)
Cut the tubing to the desired length (I found that 10 feet was the maximum length of this gas). Insert the tubing into the nozzle of the torch and hold the trigger half way down. This will fill the tube with some gas and oxygen. Then click the torch to get a spark and watch as the blue fireball travels down the tube.
Cut a hole in the bottom of a plastic soda bottle (so that it has the opening where you would drink from and a comparable hole in the bottom. I like to heat up a nail with the torch and use the nail to melt/cut through the plastic. Place the plastic soda bottle at the end of the the tubing by inserting the tube into the mouth of the bottle.
Pull the trigger half way to fill the tube and bottle with gas then click and watch as the excess gas combusts in the bottle making a loud boom!
For more information and other key tips, watch the video above.
~ Keep on Learning! Craig
Caution: Propane is highly flammable and should only be used under supervision and never indoors or without ventilation.
Special thanks to Houston Harmon for taking the photo! See his amazing work on Instagram: Houston Harmon Photography