Admit it: One of the things as an adult that you miss most about childhood is the lack of fanfare when you do something worth celebrating. You just sat down and paid all of your bills on time or you got to work early every day for a solid week or your latest visit to the dentist found you cavity-free. While a 21-gun salute might be overdoing it on the celebration spectrum, you can mark the occasion by firing off a few rounds from your very own 3D printed, desktop cannon.
Australian artist, designer, and game programmer Chris Czech found a way to put those noisy, confetti- or streamer-emitting party poppers to good use. If you’ve never heard of party poppers, they are those plastic, bottle-shaped objects that pop and send out a spray of fireproof confetti when you pull the string on the narrow end of the bottle. The explosion is created by a small amount (less than 0.25 grains) of explosive charge called “Armstrong’s Mixture,” which is made up of red phosphorus and a strong oxidizer like potassium chlorate or potassium perchlorate. It’s used in party poppers and cap guns–you may recall that familiar smell from childhood. The “pop!” is created by means of a small, friction-actuated explosive charge when you pull the string.
Czech’s cannon is 3D printed and the .stl files are available for downloading for $4.99 on Sellfy, the online digital marketplace where you can buy a variety of digital products, from videos to bespoke fonts, music, podcasts, ebooks, software, and a lot more.
Czech’s ingenious little desktop cannon uses the party popper minus the confetti and the bottom cover to create the explosion that sends plastic BBs as far as 15 meters (just under 50 feet).
First, you need to remove the bottom of the popper and pull out the contents, leaving the explosive material and the string. Czech’s video shows you how to load the remainder of the bottle into the cannon. Next comes the BB, which is fed into the barrel of the cannon. Once loaded, you hold the popper in place, pull the string, and off goes your tiny cannonball. There’s a bonus step, too: After firing your ammo, you pull again on the string and your desktop cannon blows a couple of tiny smoke rings.
You needn’t despair if you don’t have your own 3D printer as you can download the .stl files and then use an online 3D printing service like Shapeways or i.materialise to print your desktop cannon. Assembly seems pretty straightforward.
Czech shared a demo video of the cannon (check it out below!) in which he fires at and knocks down an unsuspecting Lego guy, but you can choose the target that gives you the most satisfaction–say, a picture of your boss or your latest utility bill.
Will you make your own little cannon? Let us know how it goes in the 3D Printed Party Popper Cannon forum thread over at 3DPB.com.