Saturday, May 23, 2015

Potato Cannons and Lawn Mowers

Our mentor, Tom Pappagallo, invited to his house for a day of fun. It was awesome! Keith Grant was also there.

First, Tom helped us build a potato cannon out of PVC pipe. We decided how long each piece needed to be and then cut the PVC. We made an firing mechanism using a starter from a gas grill. We inserted screws in the pipe at an angle. Then we attached the wires from the firing mechanism to the screw. When the firing mechanism was pushed, an arc was created between the screw tips inside the pipe...success! We then taped the firing mechanism to the pipe.

Next we assembled the pvc pieces to create the cannon. We cleaned the pipe where it would be joined and used PVC glue to connect the pieces. Then we left it to dry.

After a great pizza lunch with Tom’s wife and little daughter, we moved on to the next thing.

Tom had gotten three used lawn mower motors so we each had one to take apart. Piece by piece, Tom had us disassemble the motor as he explained how it all worked. We learned a ton. It was very fun!

Last, but not least, we moved back to the potato cannon. We had to try it out! We cut the potato and put it in the barrel. Then we put the butane into the combustion chamber. Quintin did the honors and fired. It worked!!!

But the success was short lived. We couldn’t get it to fire again. We think it had to do with the fuel we used. But it was time to leave so we were unable to finish troubleshooting it. Jackson took the cannon home, and we’ll work on it at a later date.

It was a great day!