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December 2015

Giant Vortex Air Cannon



I built this giant vortex air cannon to “bring the boom” to Maker Faire Atlanta 2015.

I first built an air cannon out of a 32 gallon round plastic trash can. I followed one of the many tutorials on YouTube to figure out how to do this. It worked great but it just wasn’t big enough (the “boom” was lacking) so I went back to YouTube looking for giant vortex air cannons and I found the “Candle Cannon” ( The Candle Cannon is amazing but it’s expensive to build and requires a trailer to transport and a team to assemble. I wanted a giant vortex air cannon that was easy to transport (fit inside my car), easy to setup and breakdown, and inexpensive to build.

Fabric walls would be critical to the success of my design however I searched high and low and couldn’t find documented examples of vortex air cannons (small or large) with fabric walls. Did the community of vortex air cannon makers know something I didn’t? Knowing my finished product might not work, I moved forward with the build. In the end, I was rewarded with success: my air cannon shoots beautiful giant smoke rings long distances and I can easily store and transport the device. Boom!

MAKE Magazine

MAKE Magazine asked me to write an article describing exactly how to make this air cannon. Find the article HERE.




My air cannon breaks down so I can easily transport it inside my car.



Giant Robot Costume

I built a giant robot costume for Maker Faire Atlanta 2015. In the video below I'm using the costume on Vermont Ave in Asheville, NC during Halloween. My wife Anne is walking beside me and she's playing the part of the wacky inventor. Anne's holding a shoe box prop made to look like it's a robot controller (she fooled a lot of people with that!). 




 The robot is built upon a two wheeled human powered vehicle that I remember from my childhood which was called a "Krazy Kar". The original Krazy Kar was built out of plastic similar to the "Big Wheel" toy. My vehicle was built out of 2x4 boards and wheels from my garden cart. 



Here are a few more photos of my robot in action during halloween.