Extreme Science: Extreme Marshmallow Shooter - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Extreme Science

Extreme Science: Extreme Marshmallow Shooter

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What you will need:

  1. 1 ½" PVC pipe (approx.. 3-4 feet in length)
  2. (4) 1 ½" PVC end caps
  3. (3) 1 ½" PVC “T"s
  4. (1) 1 ½" X ¾" PVC reducer
  5. (1) ¾" threaded PVC male coupler
  6. (1) 1 ¼" X ¾" threaded PVC male coupler
  7. 1 ¼" PVC pipe 2-3 feet in length
  8. (1) ¾" automatic sprinkler valve
  9. PVC glue and primer
  10. Sandpaper
  11. Tire valve stem (threaded)
  12. Pump
  13. Large marshmallows
  14. Plumbing thread tape
  15. Adult supervision
Optional

  • Paint
  • (2) 45 degree PVC 1 ½" connectors
  • Approximately 24" additional 1 ½" PVC pipe
  • Small gauge electrical wiring
  • Push button switch
  • 9 volt battery
  • Some type of case to hold battery and switch (I used 1 ½" PVC pipe and a doorbell button that just happened to fit perfectly over the end of the pipe)
Procedure:

1) You can build your base whatever shape is best for you but I built mine with two of the “legs" extended up at a 45 degree angle as shown so that I could also shoot the marshmallows at an angle rather than just straight up.

2) Begin with the center section of the base. You will need the following supplies:

  • Your three PVC “T" Connectors (a),
  • The 1 ½" X ¾" PVC reducer (b) and
  • One of the ¾" threaded PVC male couplers (c).
  • Three sections of 1 ½" PVC pipe (d) cut to 2 ½" in length.
Glue all pieces together as shown below:


3) Now you will mount your threaded tire valve stem into one of the 1 ½" PVC end caps. To do this, take you valve stem and determine what size hole you will need to drill. Once the hole is drilled, insert the valve stem and secure it using the nut supplied. Make sure that the hole you drill is tight as you do not want air to be leaking from this connection. I made mine so tight that I had to thread the valve stem through the hole in order to get it to go through the end cap. The nut should be on the inside of the cap and the valve stem on the outside of the cap as shown:



4) For this part of the build, you will need the following supplies:

  • All four end caps, including the one with the valve stem (a)
  • Two sections of 1 ½" PVC pipe cut to 12" in length (b)
  • Two 1 ½" 45 degree connectors (c)
  • Four sections of 1 ½" PVC pipe cut to 2 ½" in length (d)
  • The center section of the base you just built (e)
Glue all pieces together as shown:



5) For this part of the build, you will need the following supplies:

  • One 1 ¼" X ¾" threaded PVC male connector
  • One 1 ¼" PVC pipe 2-3 feet in length
Glue the ¾" threaded PVC piece to your 1 ¼" PVC pipe as shown to make your launch tube



6) For this part of the build, you will need the following supplies:

  • Completed base assembly
  • Sprinkler valve
  • Launch tube built in previous step
  • Plumbing thread tape
Place thread tape over threaded ends of both male threaded connectors. This tape is a Teflon tape that will stretch over the threads but is not “sticky" like a normal tape. It is meant to be stretched over the threads to fill the gaps and eliminate any possible leaks through the threads. Once threads are sufficiently covered, screw sprinkler valve onto the base making sure that the flow arrow is pointing away from the base and towards your launch tube. Now screw the launch tube in place as shown.



7) To build your push button launcher, you will need the following supplies;

  • 9 volt battery (a)
  • inexpensive push button (I used a small round doorbell) (b)
  • 9 volt battery connector (c)
  • container for battery (I used a 6" piece of 1 ½" PVC pipe) (d)
  • 1 ½" end cap (e)
  • Small gauge wire (approximately 6 feet) (f)
  • soldering iron
  • wire connectors
  • electrical tape
Connect one of the wires from your 9 volt battery connector (c) to one of the push button switch (b) terminals. Using your 6 foot long small gauge wire (f), connect one wire to the open terminal of the push button switch. Connect the two remaining wires together (one from the battery connector and the other from your 6 foot wire). You will want to either use a wire nut or solder this connection and cover it with electrical tape. Connect the battery (a) to the battery connector (c)



8) Drill a hole in the end cap large enough to fit your wires through. Before slipping the wires through this hole, you will want to figure out approximately how much wire you will need inside this battery holder and tie a knot in your wire so that the knot will end up just inside the end cap to prevent it from being pulled out or causing stress on any of your internal connections. Feed your wire down through your 1 ½" pipe inserting your battery and all connections. Continue feeding this in until the push button sits flat on the top of your pipe. I used electrical tape to hold the push button on so that if I ever need to remove it for repairs, it could easily be removed. Pull the tape tight when taping this on and you will find that the electrical tape will actually stretch nicely over the lip of the push button as you place the tape around the pipe. Feed the wire through the hole in your end cap and firmly place the end cap on the bottom of your pipe. You can glue this in place or just leave it pressed on so that you have access to your battery, etc from either end.



9) Connect your push button launch controller to the wires on your sprinkler valve. You can use wire nuts, electrical tape or male/female electrical connectors. It is up to you. Since I need to be able to take mine apart and transport it easily, I chose to use the male/female wire connectors so that I can quickly unplug this to disconnect it. You are now ready to load a large marshmallow into the launch tube, connect an air pump and launch some marshmallows!



CAUTION:

1) You MUST allow the glue sufficient time to dry prior to pressurizing your launcher. See manufactures recommendations for safe drying time.

2) The diaphragm in your sprinkler valve is designed to withstand about 100 pounds of air pressure per square inch (100 PSI).

3) NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER aim this launcher at anyone or pressurize it when any item could be launched towards a person or and animal.

4) This is designed and intended to launch marshmallows only!

5) Typing these cautions reminds me of the one rule that we always had at youth group which pretty much covers everything: DON'T BE AN IDIOT! That may seem harsh to some but basically, think about what you are doing and be safe.

Launch instructions:

1) Place large marshmallow inside launch tube. Marshmallow should easily slide down tube on its own. Never look into launch tube!

2) Connect tire pump. Pump until you reach about 75 pounds of pressure.

3) Stand back and, after making sure that everyone is clear, press your launch controller button. This will instantly open up the diaphragm releasing all of the air at once forcing the marshmallow high into the air.

What is going on?

Air molecules take up space. The air around us is at about 14.7 pounds per square inch (PSI). By attaching the pump to the tire valve, you are now being able to place more air into the base of your marshmallow launcher. There is a diaphragm inside of the sprinkler valve that will not allow the air inside to escape. This will cause the air pressure to increase as you pump more air into your launcher. Sprinkler valves operate on a small voltage which is why we can open the diaphragm using only a 9 volt battery. When you press the button on your launch controller, you are completing the electrical circuit causing the diaphragm to open and release all of the compressed air that is trapped in the base of your marshmallow launcher. As soon as the diaphragm is opened, the air molecules want to escape and equalize the pressure. Since the only escape route is your launch tube where you have cleverly placed a marshmallow, all of this air will immediately rush out through this tube forcing the marshmallow high into the air.

Try this:

Try placing a handful of mini marshmallows into your launch tube instead of one large marshmallow.

Have fun and BE SAFE!

Radical Rick
Extreme Science
www.ExtremeScienceFun.com

509-892-7621

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