American Air Cannons FAQ

 

Q: Can I pay with a money order or cashiers check instead of a credit card?

A: Yes, we accept Money orders and cashiers checks.
Please make them payable to:
Pacifica Marketing Group
3639 Midway Dr. B-200
San Diego, CA 92110

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Q: What is the name that appears on my statement for my order?

A: Pacifica Marketing Group is the name that will appear on your Credit Card billing statement

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Q: Is combustion or pneumatic type better for me?

A: Definitely a pneumatic cannon. I prefer the pneumatic type as it is safer, cleaner and more reliable. It is easy to build and operate and costs less in the long run than a combustion cannon.

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Q: Are these things legal?

A: That depends on where you live. The Fed's say they are OK as the letter below outlines.
I have heard of several instances where they were 'not legal' but that has usually been due to the operator using a launcher in an unacceptable manner (shooting a hole in the neighbors house). Many cities and municipalities have local ordnances pertaining to the use of spud guns inside city limits. Ask someone that would know on the local level.

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ATF -- Yes, they are legal.

Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Washington, DC 20226

As defined in section 921(a) (3) of Title 18, United States Code (USC) the term "firearm" means --

(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
(B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;
(C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
(D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

As defined in 26 USC subsection 5845(f) (2) the term destructive device includes any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may readily be converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary or his delegate finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and (3) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device as defined in subparagraphs (1) and (2) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled. The term 'destructive device' shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to the provisions of section 4684(2), 4685, or 4686 of title 10 of the USC; or any other device which the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.

It is unlawful for anyone to make or possess a destructive device which is not registered in accordance with the provisions of the National Firearms Act.

We have previously examined that certain muzzle loading devices known as "potato guns." These potato guns are constructed from PVC plastic tubing. They use hair spray or a similar aerosol substance for a propellant, and have some type of spark igniter. We have determined that these devices, as described, are not firearms provided that they are used solely for launching potatoes for recreational purposes. However, any such devices which are used as weapons or used to launch other forms of projectiles may be firearms and destructive devices as defined.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Firearms Technology Branch, Room 6450
650 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20226

Sincerely yours,

(signature)
Curtis H. A. Bartlett Acting Chief, Firearms Technology Branch

The feds say they are O.K.....But please check with your local authorities.
Some cities say NO to using them in the city limits.
 

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Q: Are they easy to build if I don't know anything about building things?

A: The plans take you step by step through building the cannon. They come complete with pictures, part numbers and a simple step by step tutorial that shows you the length of each piece and where to glue them together. If you can glue two pieces of pipe together, you can build one of these cannons. Click here for a free video sample.

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Q: How much does it cost to build one of these cannons from your plans?

A: Approximately $25 in pipe and fittings, $12 for the valve, $5 for the trigger, $2 for the air fill valve,
$2 Brass nipple, $10 Air pressure gauge, and remember, you will need PVC Cement and a drill.
You're looking at approximately $60 depending on where you get your supplies from. That's why it's better to just purchase a kit and save yourself the time, gas, stress, and headache of trying to locate all the items needed to build a quality cannon that will last for years.

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Q: How many shots do I get from one fill or charge?

A: You get one shot per fill. You can also have it connected to an air compressor, so you can fire as fast as you can load. It's still one shot per fill, but you can fill and load within 7-10 seconds and keep firing at that pace.

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Q: How do I fill the cannon with air?

A: You can use a small air compressor or air tank. Some people use CO2 or a scuba tank. Remember, the air source units are not included with purchase of any of the cannons.

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Q: How far will these cannons shoot?

A: The Potato cannons shoot anywhere from 100 yards to 350 yards depending which model you choose. The Golf ball cannon will shoot upwards of 350 yards depending on which cannon you choose and the T-Shirt cannon will shoot into the bleachers or 60-80 yards depending on how the shirts are wrapped and prepared. Distance also depends on weather and wind conditions.

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Q: What kind of Golf Balls do you recommend?

A: We recommend the Polara "Extra Distance" XD Golf Balls. They fly further and straighter than any other balls we have tested. You can find them here: www.polaragolf.com

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Q: What is the difference between your "kits" and your  "prebuilt" cannons other than price? The description on your site is nearly the same for both cannons.

A: The kits says "It comes unassembled with a pneumatic trigger", whereas the Pre Built cannons say "It comes pre built with a pneumatic trigger". The kits come with everything you need to assemble the cannon yourself, whereas the pre built cannons come pre built for you. All you have to do is connect the valve and it's ready to go.

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Q: I have been looking at your kits and doing research online, what type of PVC are you using? 

A: We use schedule 40 PVC rated at 300 PSI.

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Q: I've seen lots of other Golf Ball cannons that are lined with a thinner walled PVC that pretty much fits a golf ball perfectly.  Are you doing that with your kits?

A: YES... We sleeve the Golf Ball Cannons with an inner liner that fits the ball better.

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Q: Do you offer any discounts for multiple orders?

A: YES... Buy two or more cannons and receive a 10% discount. Order three or more and save 15%. You can mix and match cannons. All cannons are shipped separately unless you are purchasing kits.

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Q: I was able to get the sprinkler valve and trigger at Home Depot and Lowes, but can't find some of the pipe and fittings. Where is the best place to find these parts once I have purchased your plans?

A: We get the 3/4" valves and triggers at Home Depot. But we get our pipe and fittings from Hydroscape (www.HydroScape.com). The pressure gauge and air fill valve we get from Grainger (www.Grainger.com). All part numbers are listed in the plans.

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Q: I am having a problem with a valve. I watched the video and put the sealer  in, let it dry. Put the valve back together and when I had the cannon all together, tested the air chamber it will not hold pressure. The air seems like it is bypassing through the valve somehow. I made sure that my valve was in the correct direction with the arrows pointing away from pressure    cylinder toward barrel. What am I doing wrong?

 

A: You simply have the trigger screwed in too far. Back out the trigger one full turn, then as you pressurize the valve, squeeze the trigger back and forth until it starts to hold air.

    You should only have to do this once to seat the diaphragm.

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Q: What glue do you recommend?

A: I use P-68 Primer and "Christys Red Hot" glue from Home Depot or Lowes. I always primer the parts I am gluing together first and then use the Christy's Red Hot glue on both joints before connecting. Be sure to use an ample amount and twist the parts together to make sure they are air tight.

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Q: Can you hook these cannons up to a continuous air source, like a paint ball system?

A: Yes, Lowes carries a small portable CO2 unit that hooks directly to these cannons. See this page for more info.

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Q: How many t-shirts (on average) can I shoot with the CO2 kit with a 20oz CO2 bottle?
The application is a small town football game.

A: You will have to experiment and the shots will vary depending on how much CO2 you use

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Q: The pipe I bought has SCH 40 printed on it... But it also says DWV.... Is it ok to use?

A: When selecting pipe for use in building a spud gun or other type of novelty launching device, make sure the pipe has a pressure rating printed on the pipe. The typical printing on a length of pressure rated pipe will look something like this: (2" PVC pipe)

"MANUFACTURES NAME" PVC 1120 SCH 40 ASTM D-1785 NSF-PW 280 PSI @ 73F

The thing you want to look for is the NSF-PW 280 PSI (or whatever the psi rating is on that size of pipe) It doesn't matter if it is SCH 40, 80, or 120....Look for the pressure rating.

If the pipe has a pressure rating on it, it is ok to use. The reason that it also says DWV is because all ratings for the pipe must be labeled. If a piece of pipe is rated for 280 psi... It is obviously approved for use as drain pipe. There are all kinds of labels you might find. One is "cellular core". If it has a cellular core label..... dont even think about using that for a spud gun. It will eventually fail on you.

To make a long story short..... I don't care if the pipe is labeled "Blessed by Mother Theresa".... If it has a PSI rating printed on the pipe, go ahead and use it. If not, find some that is!!!!!

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Q: I built a spud gun with dual ignition but I can only get one spark... What am i doing wrong?

A: Buy one of our Pneumatic launchers. It works every time and you won't burn yourself, make a mess and save money on flammable liquids, as our spud guns use free air.

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Q: How do I build a potato launcher?

A: Check out the "Plans" page of this site.

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Q: My Tennis Balls won't fit down the barrel, what type of Balls do you recommend?

A: Some Tennis Balls are larger than others. We recommend PENN Balls. Poke a hole in one side which will help the ball deflate enough to shove down the barrel with a broom handle.

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Q: I can't get my sprinkler valve to work..... How do I work this damn thing?!

A: Buy a set of plans from this site. It outlines in detail how to build a terrific Spud Cannon for less than $80.

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Q: What size barrel should I choose?

A: Any size you want. Typically people use 1.5" or 2" pipe for the barrel, this being that regular potatoes are of this size. It is important that the spud seal all around the barrel surface. Make sure it is not too small however, especially if your chamber is large, or the air may not be able to get out fast enough.

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Q: What should I use for fuel?

A: Use air. It's free. non toxic and the potato cannon will launch every time.

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Q: Do you have any plans that I can buy from you?

A: Yes. I have several designs in the "Plans" section.

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Q: Is PVC or ABS better?

A: They are both fine materials for building a launcher. Keep in mind that ABS is not pressure rated. Your chances of it failing are MUCH higher. More often than not I have heard of availability being an issue, but you should always be able to get PVC at a large hardware store.

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Q: How long should I wait for the glue to cure?

A: AT LEAST 24 Hours!! Proper solvent welding is a must, and the joints should be allowed to fully cure before loaded with the stresses of igniting something quickly.

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Q: How long does it take to get my cannon?

A: Each cannon is built by hand and tested on the per order basis.
The usual turnaround time including shipping is approx 7-10 days.

 
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Q: How long does it take to get my parts?

A: Each parts kit is built by hand and tested on the per order basis.
The usual turnaround time including shipping is approx 7-10 days.

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Q: How do I pressurize my cannon?

A: I suggest two different portable air compressors on our air compressor page, the first starting at only $19.95 at Home Depot. These can be used anywhere by simply plugging it into your cars cigarette lighter or cell phone accessory charger.

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Q: How much pressure to do I use in my cannon?

We suggest a PSI of no more than 80-100 PSI.
There is no difference in speed or distance with a higher PSI.
Higher PSI also voids warranty and could result in damage to the unit.

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Q: I purchased the plans to your tennis ball cannon. I ordered some schedule 40 2.5 inch pvc for the barrel, as directed. A tennis ball does not fit into that barrel. Any suggestions??

A: Almost ALL tennis balls will fit. They fit very tight. so they need to be manually shoved down the barrel. This is what forms the pressure behind the balls in order for them to launch correctly.
They need to be shoved down the barrel with a broom handle or other form of stick.

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Q: I purchased the T-Shirt Cannon, followed your instructions for folding the shirts and pressurized the cannon to about 80 PSI. The cannon is holding air perfectly, but the shirts only shoot about 30-40 yards. What are we doing wrong?

A: All shirts are different weights and blends. You will have to experiment with each shirt style to maximize your launch distance. Make sure the shirts are rolled tight and fit snuggly into the barrel. The tighter the fit in the barrel, the further they will travel when shot. Keep in mind wind and air moisture will also play a factor. If you still cannot get the shirts to shoot a satisfactory distance, try using some sort of wadding in the barrel first, then stuff the shirts down after the wadding. This will help trap the air behind the shirts and give you more distance.

A good piece of wadding would be a plastic cover from a Pretzel Can, Potato Chip Cannister, or other resealable food can cover.

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Q: I purchased a set of plans and would like to seel my own version of your air cannons. Is this okay, or do I need to have permission to do so?

A. All AAC Digital Downloaded Plans are copyrighted and sole property of American Air Cannons. Any redistribution, copying, selling and dispersement of said plans is in direct violation of these terms and subject to penalties and damages. © 1998 Mick Moore / American Air Cannons | Pacifica Marketing Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.

Further more, you are not authorized to build a cannon from these plans and resell it online as your own or as a reseller of ours without special permission from American Air Cannons/Pacifica Marketing Group, Inc. Failure to comply with the formentioned terms and conditions will hold you liable for damages and fines.

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Cancelation Policy:

We will gladly cancel any order as long as it is done so within the first 24 hours of purchase.
Any orders canceled after shipping or the initial 24 hour time period will be subject to a 20%
restocking fee.

Return Policy:

To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it.
It must also be in the original packaging.

Please be aware that the refund is granted only for the purchased item.
The shipping and handling cost is non refundable.

Digital Downloaded Plans Are Non Refundable!

We will gladly replace any damaged or missing components.
We will only replace merchandise if the product has a defect.

A 20% restocking fee will apply to any and all returns.
Shipping and Handling fees are non refundable.

You must obtain a return authorization number within 10 days of receipt of the order.
You Must Return Merchandise At Your Own Expense.

An unauthorized return is subject to a non refund or refusal to restock.

All Cannon kits are non-refundable since we cannot quality control your assembly process.
If you have a kit that is not operating correctly, please contact
 Support@AmericanAirCannons.com 
for assistance.

All Parts kits are non-refundable since we cannot quality control your assembly process.
If you have a part that is not operating correctly, please contact
Support@AmericanAirCannons.com 
for assistance.

Please email us to request a return Authorization number for all returns.
Support@AmericanAirCannons.com