The Original Batch
These old photos tell a story, about how I got into spudguns. Sorry for the poor quality images.
I think it was Christmas of 2000 or 2001, when I made spudguns as gifts for a "redneck christmas". Everyone in my family really enjoyed these things. It was truly one of the best ever.
The summer before, a buddy of mine (Eugene) built a spudgun, and when he showed it to me I was hooked! So I lurked on the forums a while, and then when christmas rolled around I decided to build one for my brother. Then my dad. Then I built one for each of the guys in my family--for a total of SIX!
Five were wrapped up as gifts, and one was for me. When I wrapped them, I fabricated tall skinny boxes, and I think the guys thought they were getting snow skis! It made for an excellent time when everyone opened their guns!
These were good solid guns that performed well. All had a 1.5:1 ratio, so they had a nice bang. They all used BBQ grill ignitors (the red pushbutton type), and had two spark gaps. As you can see, I mounted the BBQ ignitor in a piece of 3/4Ó diameter PVC, and then used electical conduit straps and small zit screws to attach.
One mistake was that I placed the electrodes through single wall PVC, rather than where the couplings provided double thickness. But I did use washers and nuts to secure the machine bolt electrodes in place. All these years later, and hundreds of spuds later, not a single problem with any of the launchers.
Since two of the launchers had to be shipped in the mail, I kept them to a total length of around 4 feet or so (green/black and brown/silver). Two of the launchers were jumbo sized, at more than six feet total (blue/yellow and red/white/blue). And that leaves two mid sized launchers (red and the black/gold).
The gold launcher had the nicest looking paint job, but it was the biggest pain to get working. The spark would not jump the gap in the chamber, but instead kept running though the metallic gold paint on the outside of the launcher. I had to remove a .25" radius of the paint, and used rubber plumbing washers to cover the removed paint and help prevent sparking on the outside. It was still a bit temperamental, but it worked.
I've got some better photos of the one launcher I kept for myself (the red/white/blue one), on my page for The Patriot.