Inspired by my longtime desire to make a potato gun ,and my reminder of this longtime desire due to a GQ thread, I set off to search the internet for the longest run on sentence, I mean, spud gun plans. I found many such pages easily, some proving better then most.
I had heard tails of potatos being hurled distances greater then a football field is long using the explosive power of hairspray from my youth. I always knew that men who could do such things were obviously the greatest of men. I quickly found out that building one of these spudzookas was easier then I anticipated, thus proving my great masculinity. I built my starch accelorator mostly following the plans but changing some of the materials to fit my specialized needs, i.e. I couldn’t find everything on my list.
I whipped it all together in an evening noting the particularly weak area that wouldn’t have been there had I followed the plans. I debated rebuilding the gun for a week. Then I decided to just wrap the thing in duct tape and slip it in a cut off jean pants leg and duct tape it some more. Thereby containing the explosion should one occur. Yes I convinced myself of this. It wasn’t hard! The only other option was a little more work and thats just silly.
I took my spud cannon, a sack of taters and a can of unscented aquanet into the desert. I made sure my cell phone was with me and that I could work it quickly with only one hand as I was sure one would be missing soon. I had promised my roommate who is an emergency room nurse that if I blew off my hand I would either not go to her emergency room or she could pretend not to know me.
The first few times I tried it I hammered in the sacraficial potato, made sure I had a spark in the combustion chamber from the modified gas grill ignitor and filled the chamber with hairspray fumes and “click” nothing would happen. I messed around with it for a bit when suddenly… “FOOOOM!!!” I was looking at the button and my finger and only caught a brief glimps of tater leaving the cannon. I looked up, I looked down, I looked everywhere but I never saw it again. I’m pretty sure it crossed the Canadian border. Then I realized I was still alive and that the gun was still in one piece. The duct tape worked! The second time I wanted to see how far it would go and actually SEE what happened! I held it up a little higher then 45 degrees and “FOOOOOM!!” the great phallic power belched an ejaculate of fire and spud into space. OK well not quite space but it went up and it went out and it went up and it went out and it kept going. I stood there with my eyes squinted trying to follow it as it got smaller and smaller. It started to lose trajectory when it happened. It blinked out of sight and I lost it.
I launched a potato farther then I could see.
OK so I probaby COULD have seen it the whole way had it not fallen in front of a mountain and blended in slightly. I have no idea how far it went but it was amazing.
Many potatos later I decided to check the hang time. I aimed about 10 degrees off of vertical (so as to avoid getting knocked off my feet by a falling chunk of potato). I checked my watch and “FOOM” somewhere around 10 - 11 seconds later it hit the ground. I kid you not.
The weak part of my spudgun did not fail and I came back with my vision and appendages so I’m happy.
Its no wonder they warn you about smoking while using hairspray.