Air-powered "squib"

Hey guys!

Here's a short test video from my homemade squib/mortar/dirt explosion setup.

Materials used: PVC (sch. 40 pipe, reducers, elbows, etc.), sprinkler valve, wire, 9V battery.

All of the parts for this can be purchased from Lowe's or most any building supply store.

The whole setup is actually pretty simple, with the sprinkler valve at the heart of it.

I took some behind-the-scenes video today and will plan to upload that here soon.
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The compression part is a section of large PVC pipe with an end cap and a valve stem sticking out. I compress it with air using a bicycle pump.

I'll see if I can find a picture to upload.
Here's an action shot. As you can gather, the pipe had to be buried/covered to hide it from the camera.


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wheat: They held long enough for me to charge three of them. That's also taking into account that I'm using one pump, and had to detach and reattach each time.

I tried to get tight seals on everything to prevent as much leaking as possible, but I imagine they'll lose a bit of pressure over time.
"When you use it in films... or weddin's" Freaking Hilarious :)

With a series of these, you could connect them to a nail board so you could time them out for a longer scene... battery on a board with nails in it... the negative lead from the battery contacts all the nails, then each nail is connected to the ground wire of your electronic valve.

Positive lead of the battery goes to a wire which is touched to the nail that corresponds to the launcher you want to fire. It's a cheap control board that lets you play the whole thing like a piano... or a harpsichord (which would probably be a more fitting analogy as there's no dynamic variation).
"Pressure ah chamber holder pipe" How about PACHP

For weddins, fill it with glitter! lol

that makes a fantastic sound! I want to make a musical instrument from different length pipes!
Ha ha! Thanks, guys!

knightly: What we wound up doing is connecting the negatives to one wire - taped to the battery - then bundling the three positives together (but not touching), and they were touched to the positive end of the battery in sequence.

Very crude, for sure... but when we actually use this in a film, I'm going to use something very similar to what you describe. Thank you!

wheat: I hadn't even thought of it for musical instruments. :)

I did learn that light "taps" or very quick connections result in release of partial pressure release, meaning you can get successive "blasts". SO... I'm pretty sure you could, say, rig up a timer circuit (do people still use 555 timers these days? Heh.) so that it releases a small, pre-set amount each time.

And I suppose there's also the option of CO2 cartridges (?) or, at minimum, a larger pressure chamber to hold more music. ;)